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All sun protection is not created equally

Updated: Jun 14, 2018

With Summer comes more outside activities and... less clothing. Southern California enjoys sunny weather most of the year but the need for sun protection increases with the hotter temperatures.

So just in case you were wondering, sunblock vs sunscreen, maybe this will help.

We see the letters "SPF" on the labels of our skincare, makeup and dedicated sun protection products but how do you know what SPF is sufficient? And why don’t we see the word “sunblock” anymore?

Well, in 2011, the FDA stopped allowing the term “sunblock”in an effort to keep the sun-loving public from having a false sense of security about sun protection from those products labeled “sunblock". Seems people were under-applying them and then burning after hours out in full sun or after swimming and water sports because they believed they were protected. Here are a few facts to help you decide what is best for you to use. 1.SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is used to estimate the amount of UV radiation it normally takes to sunburn one’s skin with protective sunscreen. The “A” in UVA stands for ‘Aging’. The “B” in UVB stands for ‘Burning’. Within the UV spectrum, there are two types of rays that can damage the DNA in your skin cells and lead to skin cancer. It’s important to protect your skin from both types: UVB rays cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer. A sunscreen’s SPF number refers mainly to the amount of UVB protection it provides. UVA rays cause skin damage that leads to tanning as well as skin aging and wrinkles. The shortest wavelengths of UVA rays also contribute to sunburn. It’s important to look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label, which means the product has ingredients that can protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays. How long does it take for your skin to burn? 10 minutes? 20? Use this formula to figure out the appropriate SPF for you: “SPF Number x Minutes to Burn without Protection = Miutes to Burn with Protection”. For example: SPF 15 x your 10 minute burn time = 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of protection. 

So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. BTW, 50 or 100 SPF is NOT 20-80 times more protection!

After 30, the increases in SPF number only raises one’s protection minimally and they are always chemical in nature! How to tell if your sun protection product is "natural" & safe? The best way to tell is to check the "Active Ingredients" on the label. If it says anything other than zinc and/or titanium dioxide it includes a chemical UV filter. At Carabella Cosmetics & Skin Care, we sell sun protection with only zinc or a zinc & titanium blend. You have your choice of Daily Hydrating, Matte Moisturizing & Tinted Matte. Most clients wear it as their complete daily AM moisturizer/sun protection but you can wear it over a serum or moisturizer if you are very dry. It’s safe enough for babies and small children too!

Related posts 1."SUNSCREEN VS. SUNBLOCK - THERE’S A DIFFERENCE" By Kelly for Block Island / April, 20 2016 2. "Sunscreen vs. Sunblock, What’s the Difference?" 03 AUGUST 2012, BY ONCOSEC 3.

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