Go to any local convenience store and you will find that all sunscreens, foundations and creams have SPF indicators on them. Each product’s SPF varies from the other; SPF 5, SPF 10, SPF 15 and SPF 30 onwards. What do those letters and numbers really mean and how are they relevant to our skin?
As an introduction, SPF is an acronym for sun protection factor. It is a vital feature in skin products as deemed by scientists. Only in the past century have we discovered the dangers of direct sunlight, with its ultraviolet (UV) radiation causing a concerning increase skin-related illnesses and complications worldwide.
- Skin cancer
- Severe sunburn
- Skin ageing
- Immune suppression
- Heat stroke
Other disorders caused by excessive exposure to UV rays include:
- Macular degeneration
We must not underestimate UV rays and should take safety precautions to protect ourselves against them.
As we go along, the numbers indicated beside SPF (e.g. SPF 15) should be paid attention to when buying skin-related products. The number is the estimated time taken for the UV rays to penetrate and redden your skin. This estimation is calculated against the time it would take your skin to redden without any protection. In simple terms, UV rays could affect your skin in a single moment without any protection. With a sunscreen SPF 15, UV rays would take 15 times longer to fully affect your skin. The higher the number is, the smaller amount of UV rays it allows to penetrate through.
With this, we resonate that applying sunscreen is vital before leaving the house, especially in the summer. Manufacturers understand that importance thus include SPF in various products. In this age, we have DD creams, foundations and lotions with SPF. The said products are a cross between sunscreens and cosmetics, ensuring that make-up users keep a healthy and protected skin while looking flawless.
Despite innovative efforts for sun protection, minimizing exposure plays a huge role as well. Clothes are undeniably thicker than liquids and do not melt away under the sun. When under the sun, avoid exposing your chest area, forearms and vulnerable areas to direct sunlight. This makes clothes a feasible weapon against UV ray penetration. On top of that, try to stay in the shade during hours when the excessive UV rays are very destructive; 10AM to 4PM.
Not only depending on external measures, the food we eat can also help strengthen the skin to combat absorption of UV rays. Foods that provide natural sources of SPF include:
- Flax seeds
- Coconut oil