Urban You Edu: Sunscreen

What does ‘SPF’ mean? What are UVA/UVB rays? We’re here to clear up your sunscreen related questions.

Urban You Edu is our newest blog segment that is meant to educate our customers. There is so much information out there in regards to beauty and skin care, it can be overwhelming if you’re just dipping your toes into researching. You can treat these informative blogs as your one-stop-shop for beauty information.

The topic of this blog is Sunscreen. There is a TON of information to consume on the topic of SPF and Sunscreens. We’re here to break it down so it’s easy for you to digest.

What does SPF stand for?

Sun Protection Factor.

What does sunscreen do?

Sunscreen prevents damage from UV (Ultra Violet) rays.

woman in the summer protecting her skin from the sun with sunscreen

If I choose a sunscreen with the highest SPF will I be more protected from UV rays?

Yes, but consider this: SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UBV rays.

From there the increase is even more gradual with SPF 100 blocking 99% of UVB rays.

What are UV rays and why are they dangerous?

UV rays are the damaging rays from the sun. There are two types of UV rays that are damaging in different ways.

UVA (long wavelengths) penetrate the skin dermis. UVA rays cause wrinkling and sagging. These rays are the more dangerous of the two.

UVB (short wavelengths) are the culprit of sunburns.

A cool/nerdy way of remembering the difference between the two is that UVA causes early AGING while UVB causes BURNING.

Does sunscreen protect against both UVA and UVB rays?

Unfortunately, no. Most sunscreens only protect against UVB. This is why it’s important to find an SPF that is broad spectrum.  Broad spectrum SPF’s protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Which ingredients should I be looking for when I’m buying a broad spectrum SPF?

If you’re not looking at your ingredient list (IL) already, now is a time to start. The following ingredients are UVA blocking: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone.

What does the number mean that’s associated with SPF?

The number is the amount of time you can be in the sun before you will start to burn. A good rule of thumb is the reapply after 2 hours.

I want to get tan in the summer, can I still do that if I wear sunscreen?

Yes! Sunscreen doesn’t protect against 100% of rays, so even if you are wearing SPF you will likely get color if you’re in the sun for longer without reapplying. Urban You also offers spray tans  if you want to be tan and without going in the sun.

  • Something to consider: When you skin gets tan it’s because the sun’s rays are literally changing your skin DNA. Therefore, tan skin represents damage to your DNA.

Do I need to wear sunscreen in the Summer only?

Sunscreen gets a lot of face time in the Summer, but it should be worn every day. Why? Let me explain: you know those days when you’re at the beach on a cloudy day but you somehow still get burnt? It’s the same thing with UVA & UVB rays. Even when there are clouds in the sky in the Winter, UVA and UVB rays still penetrate the clouds and damage our skin.

Which step in my AM skincare routine do I apply SPF?

A general rule of thumb is to apply your lightest products first and heavier ones last. Generally, SPF’s are a little heavier and will be the last product you apply. If you have a spray on SPF we recommend still applying that as your last step before makeup.

What is the difference between chemical and physical SPFs?

Chemical SPFs absorb into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts those rays into heat then releases them from the body.

Physical SPFs stay on top your skin and reflect the sun’s UV rays. The minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the main active ingredients in physical SPFs.

Does Urban You carry broad spectrum SPF’s?

We do! The brand we use is SkinMedica and the following are all broad spectrum SPF’s.

Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50+   This goes beyond blocking UV rays and defends against infrared rays.

Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50+

This goes beyond blocking UV rays and defends against infrared rays.

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