How SPF Protection Can Prevent Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a major concern especially during the hot summer months, and using skin care products that provide SPF protection offers a key way to prevent skin cancer.

What is SPF Protection?

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is the amount of Ultra Violet (UV) rays needed to cause sunburn. It is a scale, ranging from 2 to 100, with 100 providing the highest amount of protection. There are countless products that provide SPF protection, most commonly in the form of sunscreen (or sunblock), but there are also moisturizers and daily creams that provide adequate protection from the harmful rays of the sun.

Sun Protection Variables 

It is not enough to just buy SPF 100 sunscreen and think that you can lie on a beach for the entire day. You must consider how much you apply to your skin and how quickly your skin absorbs the cream, as well as your skin type and your choice of activities. You must also always reapply sunscreen in order to ensure that your skin is protected throughout the day.

Preventing Skin Cancer

The basic principle behind SPF protection is the absorption or blocking of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Since UV rays have been proven to cause skin cancer, or melanoma, it is imperative that you do your best to limit the amount of these rays reaching your skin.

Use of Effective Ingredients

Most of the SPF products on the market contain certain substances such as avobenzone, mexoryl and oxobenzone. These substances are known to block the highly cancer causing UVA rays and its counterpart UVB rays. For best results with products offering SPF protection they should be used whenever you are in the sun and reapplied when exposure is extended. This is because the substances making up these products tend to not be effective for more than six hours.  

Getting the Best Protection

Apply the sunscreen approximately a half hour prior to going out into the sun. The face, including the ears, and your hands, should be your number one priority since this area is prone to sunburns, and therefore skin cancer.

If you are swimming, make sure to reapply the sunscreen immediately afterwards. There are plenty of waterproof sunscreens out there, but keep in mind that they are only effective for up to 80 minutes of swimming. If you are not a swimmer, you should still reapply the sunscreen frequently, every two hours.

If you are active, you should consider reapplying the sunscreen more frequently than if you were just sunbathing. Consider using a cream with a SPF protection of 35 or more when you are active. Remember, sweat will wear off the cream leaving you exposed to the harmful rays of the sun.

There are plenty of products on the market and making your way through the good and the bad can be a daunting task. When you visit your nearest pharmacy, ask for assistance in choosing the right cream for you. Pharmacists are professionals, and they should be able to help you sift through the many products on their shelves.


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