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How the Sun Damages Skin & Why Use SPF

Skincare is one of the most important parts of beauty. Your skin is the biggest organ you have, and it is important to take care of it. It’s a lot easier to be preventative when it comes to maintaining healthy skin than to repair your skin from damage.

The number one cause of skin damage is the sun, in fact, studies have shown that the sun plays a huge part in aging our skin. Leathery, wrinkled skin, sun spots and even skin cancer are caused by exposure to harmful UV rays.

What Are UV Rays?

UV stands for Ultra Violet. These rays from the sun that carry life giving energy can also be very damaging to your health if you don’t take the proper precautions.

UVB rays affect the outermost layer of skin. These are the rays that cause sunburn, whereas UVA rays are more penetrative, and can cause skin aging, sunspots, cancer etc.

It is important to take the necessary precautions to safeguard your skin from these harmful rays. Once the damage is done, there isn’t much, if anything that can be done to reverse it.

What is SPF?

The best way to prevent sun damage is to use sunscreen and cosmetics that contain SPF.

SPF stands for Sun Protective Factor. What this means essentially, is how long you can stay in the sun before you start to burn. For example, if you use an SPF 30, this means that you can stay in the direct sunlight for about 30 times longer than you would with no SPF before you need to reapply or find some shade. For instance, if you burn in about 5 minutes of direct sunlight, using an SPF 30, you could safely stay in the sun for 150 minutes!

There is a catch though. You should typically re-apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours or so to make sure you are properly protecting yourself from UV rays. It is recommended to use about a shot glass full of sun block for overly exposed areas, but most people tend not to apply enough.

The safest practice is to reapply sunscreen every hour to maximize your skin protection.

And since the sun can cause macular degeneration in the eyes, it is important to make sure your sunglasses have UV protection as well.

Choosing an SPF

Most brands of sunscreen only protect your skin from the UVB rays that burn skin, but they don’t do much to protect us from the deeper penetrating UVA rays that are notorious for causing skin aging and cancer.

To take the proper precautions, you should look for a sunblock that offers “broad spectrum protection”. This kind of product will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

What’s in SPF?

When it comes to SPF protection, there are 2 routes you can take. Some sunblock products are made with chemicals, while others are made with naturally occurring minerals. Modern science and research has actually found that as with many chemicals, some of the compounds found in some SPF chemicals have been linked to cancer, hormonal problems and a whole variety of other ill effects that we are trying to avoid.

Mineral based products usually contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are far safer in that they do not affect hormones or contain carcinogenic compounds that are known to cause cancer. However, there is some debate that if the particles of these metals are too finite, they may absorb into the skin and cause other health issues so the the jury is still out. Personally, we prefer to use mineral products rather than chemicals.

SPF makeup

Since skin care is such an important part of beauty as a first line of defense, we like to use mineral makeups that offer SPF protection.

This Urban Decay self adjusting complexion primer has an SPF 30. Apply this over top of a moisturizer to provide a sun protectant base. Makeup looks better when you use a primer, so this product is pulling double duty, and we highly recommend it.

This CARA tinted moisturizer has an SPF 20 and a nice tint that creates an even natural base tone.

We simply love this Jane Iredale dry sunscreen with it’s 30 SPF. It’s perfect for days at the beach or in the hot sun. What makes it great is that on the hottest sweatiest days, nobody wants to wear a full face of makeup, you’ll just sweat it off. But with this dry powdered sunscreen, you can re-apply effortlessly while still at the beach, as often as needed to keep those harmful UV rays at bay. So easy!

Final Thought
It’s so easy to take preventative measures to keep your skin looking younger, longer. Try different products and find the ones that work best for you. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN! It’s so important.

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