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SPF and Sun Exposure

Summer is here and we are in the midst of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games where the majority of the sports are held outside.  Even some of those that are inside sports have training options that are outside.  The increase in skin cancer of the past 30+ years has been attributed to many things.

The first questions to ask are What is SPF? and how do I use SPF  to my advantage?

WHAT IS SPF? SPF means sun protection factor. If you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, you have 15 times the protection from the sun than you’d have if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all.   In other words,if you would burn after 10 minutes in the sun with no protection, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun for two and a half hours (10 minutes times SPF 15 = 150 minutes or two and a half hours) before burning.

Keep in mind that you would still receive a burn! Sunscreens don’t give you license to stay forever in the sun. Also remember that sunscreens aren’t cumulative: if you combine a moisturizer with SPF 15 with a sunscreen product with SPF 15, your sun protection factor is still 15, not 30. Virtually all sunscreens protect against UVB radiation — in addition, some products screen out a small part of the UVA spectrum.

Apply UVA/UVB protection every day, indoors and out. Statistics prove that most UV exposure occurs when we’re not even thinking about it. Be sure to cover ALL areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun: remember the top of ears and forehead, bald spot, tops of feet when wearing sandals, and the back of neck and hands. The recommended daily precaution is SPF 15; use a higher SPF if you’ll be outdoors for two hours or longer.

How do I Minimize UV Exposure Risks?

1.  Avoid exposure between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. when the sun is most intense.

2.  Count time spent in the water or out on hazy days as time in the sun. Water lets nearly all UV rays through, and even on cloudy days nearly 80% of the sun’s rays can reach you.

3.  Don’t depend on clothing or shade for protection. Wet and light-colored clothing offer little or no UV protection. Also remember that light reflects: sitting under a beach umbrella can create the same UV exposure as direct sun.

What can I do daily to help my skin?

Apply UVA/UVB protection every day, indoors and out. Statistics prove that most UV exposure occurs when we’re not even thinking about it. Be sure to cover ALL areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun: remember the top of ears and forehead, bald spot, tops of feet when wearing sandals, and the back of neck and hands. The recommended daily precaution is SPF 15; use a higher SPF if you’ll be outdoors for two hours or longer.

Boost your skin’s natural defenses against environmental pollutants. Researchers agree that the same nutrients which protect your health also play a vital role in the vitality and appearance of your skin. Look for products that provide nutrients for the skin to help reverse the effects of sun damage.

So enjoy the sun and be aware of the ways to stay safe while having fun in the sun!

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