Sunlight, Sunshine, &

The sun brings light to our days, can make us feel happy, may improve our sleep, and provides needed nutrients to our bodies, like vitamin D. All positive and wonderful things! Yet, the sun also has some negative effects that are important to know.

We usually tend to only be concerned about protecting our skin from the sun and wearing sunscreen during the summer months but ideally sunscreen should always be worn any time you will be outside, even when it is cloudy. This is because the energy from the sun that reaches the Earth is solar radiation, which is part of a larger electromagnetic radiation spectrum. Solar radiation is comprised of many different forms of visible light, radio waves, infrared, and specifically, ultraviolet light rays.

Technically, there are three types of ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun, UVA, UVB, and UVC. We rarely hear about UVC rays because the wavelengths of UVC rays are not long enough to reach the Earth and do not present an inherent risk to our skin. So, let’s learn more about UVA and UVB rays.

Make sure to use sunscreen by the Pool.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

UVA rays penetrate skin more deeply which may contribute to skin wrinkling and accelerating the aging of skin cells. Also, UVA rays penetrate glass where UVB rays do not. That is why it is important to be mindful when driving in a car or sitting next to a window to still protect your skin from sun damage.

UVB rays come in contact with the outer layers of the skin and are responsible for skin damage like sunburns. The concentration of UVB rays fluctuates by location, time of day, and by season. Additionally, exposure to UVB rays may damage the skin’s DNA and increase the risk of skin cancer and early onset aging.

It is important to protect your skin if you are going to be out in the sun for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Using an umbrella or wearing a hat and sunglasses with UVA/UVB protective film are all fantastic ways to protect yourself from unwanted effects of sun exposure. However, using these items at a water park or water skiing are not very realistic. So, what can you do? WEAR SUNSCREEN!

Sunscreen protects the skin from UVB rays.

How do I know which type of sunscreen to use?

Sunscreens that can be applied to your body can come in a lotion, spray, or gel and should contain a Skin Protection Factor, also referred to as SPF. As the SPF number increases, the level of protection of the sunscreen increases. It is important to choose the level of SPF sunscreen that provides the best coverage for the time of sun exposure and type of outdoor activity.

There are different types of sunscreens that are known as chemical and physical sunscreens. Both types can be applied directly to the skin to provide a layer of protection from ultraviolet rays. Let’s explore the differences closer to ensure the proper coverage, application, and use.

Chemical sunscreens work by penetrating the skin, so if you use a chemical sunscreen, the sunscreen needs to be applied before you apply your moisturizer. Chemical sunscreens tend to be better at providing protection from ultraviolet rays and are more sweat and water resistant than physical sunscreens. Be sure to allow for 15 to 20 minutes prior to sun exposure after applying a chemical sunscreen.

Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, work differently than chemical sunscreens and sit on top of the skin to provide a barrier of protection. Physical sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays by deflecting the rays away from skin and work as soon as the sunscreen is applied. Physical sunscreens tend to be less likely to irritate your skin and need to be applied after you apply your moisturizer.

Use Crystal Skin broad spectrum sunscreen to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays.

Which sunscreen do I choose? Pros and cons

There are pros and cons to both types of sunscreens. If your skin tolerates it, you may be able to use a chemical and a physical sunscreen simultaneously. More importantly though, it is important to find the best balance of sunscreen type that works best for you in order to maintain the natural health and beauty of your skin.

When in doubt – NEVER GO WITHOUT!

Enjoy your time in the sun and take advantage of all of the positive benefits that the sun has to offer. Just always be sure to use some type of skin protection when outdoors to reduce sun damage and prevent unnecessary aging. You can complement sunscreen use by using protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses whenever possible and always being mindful of excessive exposure to the sun.

Also, when in doubt protect your pout! Don’t forget to protect your lips by wearing an SPF lip balm.

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