1.) SPF doesn't always block UVA Rays
“The SPF shown on the bottle refers only to a sunscreen's ability to block the sunburn-inducing UVB rays, not to be confused with UVA rays, the ones that cause wrinkles and skin cancer (though excessive exposure to both rays can lead to skin cancer).”
Look for sunscreen labeled Broad-Spectrum which protects against both UVA and UVB radiation and contains ingredients such as, avobenzone, mexoryl, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide for UVA protection.
2.) When in doubt, shade it out
Sunscreen is not 100% effective. In fact, 4 out of 5 name-brand sunscreens offer inadequate protection. If you want to stay cancer and wrinkle free, it is best to avoid direct sunlight.
3.) Watch your sun exposure from 10 am - 4pm
These are the hours that you are most at risk for sunburn and UVA damage. Stay out of direct sunlight during these hours and wear Broad-Spectrum sunscreen and/or protective clothing.
4.) SPF levels are sneaky
Did you know that SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV rays, while SPF 100 blocks 99% of UV rays? Not much of a difference, huh? High SPF sunscreen can be extremely expensive so don't be afraid to get something a little less intense. Hey, even SPF 30 blocks 96.7% of the sun's harmful rays!
5.) Don’t rely on makeup or daily moisturizers
While most face lotions and foundations have built-in SPF, chances are they are not protecting you from UVA rays. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen underneath or over your make-up to prevent your skin from damage. My favorite sunscreen to wear with makeup is Coola.
6.) Up to 80% of your total lifetime sun exposure is likely to take place before you reach the age of 18
Parents and future parents, watch your children and make sure they are taught this invaluable information early on, before it's too late! Sun exposure accounts for 90% of wrinkles and typically takes about 20-30 years before the damage is even revealed.
7.) "Waterproof" and "water-resistant" mean two different things
The FDA considers a product "water-resistant" if it maintains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure. A product is considered "waterproof" if it maintains its SPF level following 80 minutes of exposure to water.
8.) Just because it isn't sunny out doesn't mean it's safe
80% of the suns ultraviolet rays can pass through clouds. UV rays can be reflected off, sand, water and snow, so you can even sunburn in the shade. In fact, sand reflects 25% of the sun’s rays and snow reflects 80%.
9.) UV rays can penetrate through car windows
Ever see an image of sun damage on a truck drivers face? If not, click here, it's pretty shocking. The truth is, UV rays can penetrate through car windows and cause major damage. If you spend more than an hour a day in the car, you should keep a bottle of sunscreen in the glove compartment to ensure that you are protected at all times.
10.) Protect your noggin!
Many people neglect to protect their heads against sun damage. The dangerous thing about the head is that our hair covers it, so the odds of finding cancer or worrisome moles are not as likely. Be smart and cover your head with a hat!
In the end, getting a tan may make you look and feel great, but at what cost? As a 20-something I have begun to take responsibility for myself and my body. The damage you do now, are the wrinkles you wear later.