Truth and myths about sun and sunblocks

Sun is a wonderful thing. There is nothing wrong with being exposed to sun. Everyone understands the essential mood-boosting benefits of the sun and the need to be outside. We just need to take the proper precautions and be smart about it.

Sunlight comes in various wavelengths, and only some of them are dangerous to our skin. Ultraviolet A (“A” of UVA stands for aging) is the most damaging and penetrating type of UV that has an ability of penetrating through glass (not mentioning our skin). The intensity of UVA is same all year round and they are not filtered out by ozone layer. The most dangerous things about UVA are it mixes up the matrix of collagen and elastin, giving us wrinkles, but more seriously it changes the behavior of our skin’s cells by altering the functioning of our genes and damaging the DNA, which in turn, causes mutation in cells and leads to the most dangerous types of skin cancer, like melanoma.

UVA has lots more energy than UVB, at least 30 times much more energy. It is important to understand that there is no sunscreen technology existing now that completely protects against UVA.

UVB (“B” stands for burning) on the other hand, doesn’t go into the skin any deeper than 1/10-th of a mm and it is completely absorbed in the outer layer of the skin. UVB rays are present mostly in the summer and are the culprit behind sunburns.

Now lets talk about SPF, sunblocks and other stuff that is supposed to protect us from dangerous UV. The best protection from damaging sun is clothing, and there is no substitute for it. For some reason blue color of clothing works the best.

Do you know the fact, that 80% of any sunblock gets depleted in 1 hour, that FDA measured SPF number with an application of 2 mg per square cm, which is approximately 4 times more than what we normally apply to our skin. FDA did all the testing and set up standards for sunscreens years ago, but nobody would apply that amount on the skin, and I would not recommend for people to do that.

The SPF number on the sunscreen only refers to the length of time that you can stay in the sun without getting burned.  For example, if you go out in the sun for 10 minutes and get sunburn, it means that if you have an SPF 15 sunscreen, you can stay in the sun for 150 minutes (10 minutes multiplied by 15) without sunburn. But it does not give you any idea of how many UVA, the most damaging ultraviolet rays, that you’re going to be exposed to.

Major sunblock ingredients that will protect you from UVA and UVB that you need to look for are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, octinoxate and avobenzone. I would also highly recommend to use L-Ascorbic Acid serum on daily basis, because once it has been absorbed by your skin, it can’t be rubbed off or washed off in a case of sunblock, it stays within your skin, acting as an inner shield for sun damage protection.

Be very careful about makeup or skin care products that have SPF protection. Normally they contain just UVB protection ingredients, allowing you to stay in the sun longer without getting burned, but the same time doing more damage to your skin from not protecting it against UVA. The only kind of makeup that I know of that have sunblock properties is mineral makeup, made of crushed zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Don’t underestimate the role of sun in our health. Wear good sunblock on daily basis and have a happy life!


Do you have a question about the health of your skin?  Would you like your personal skin care needs addressed?

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Click here to hear Nataliya on the Wake Up to the Real You Radio Show, hosted by Karey Williams, Stephanie Birrer, and Johnna Tuttle.  Nataliya discusses the secrets to beautiful skin during the program "The Skin You are In," recorded on July 10, 2007.

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