Q: When should
sunscreen be used?
Sunscreens should be used every day if you plan
on being outside. Even sitting by a window at
home or in a car exposes your skin to the sun’s
UVA rays, which penetrate glass. On a cloudy day,
up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays
will pass through clouds.
How often should sunscreen be applied?
Sunscreens should be applied to your skin 15 or
more minutes before going outdoors. When applying
sunscreen, pay particular attention to the face,
ears, hands and arms which typically get the most
sun exposure. Also apply a lip balm that contains
sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. All sunscreens
should be applied at least every 2 hours if swimming
or perspiring heavily. Even sunscreens that claim
to be water resistant lose their effectiveness
with time and water exposure - you must re-apply
to protect your skin.
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVB rays are the cause of sunburn on the surface
of the skin. SPF only measures protection against
UVA rays cause DNA
damage to the cells deeper within the skin. It
is this layer of cells that regenerates our skin
and it is feared that damage to the DNA of these
cells may increase a person's risk of developing
dangerous types of skin cancer. UVA rays cause
a substantial amount of skin damage (80-90% of
premature aging of the skin is due to UVA rays).
What does SPF mean?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Sunscreens
SPF ratings refer to the product's ability to
prevent sunburn caused by UVB rays. SPF does not
indicate how well the product protects against
the sun's harmful UVA rays.
Does SPF 30 have twice as much sun protection
as SPF 15?
Not even close. SPF protection does not increase
proportionately with a designated SPF number.
For instance, in a product with an SPF of 30,
97% of UVB rays are deflected, while in an SPF
15 product deflects 93%. Frequent application
and use of a sunscreen that provides good UVA
and UVB protection is far more effective than
paying more money for a product with an SPF factor
What type of sunscreen should I use, and what
ingredients should I look for?
There are many types of sunscreen, so selecting
the right one can be difficult. Ideally you should
choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher
as far as protecting against UVB rays are concerned.
Obtaining a broad spectrum of sun protection against
both UVA and UVB rays is also extremely important.
Currently, the broadest spectrum of coverage may
be obtained with sunscreens that contain zinc
oxide. This active ingredient provides the best
protection. There are certainly cheaper formulas,
but usually you get what you pay for.
Q: Is there a safe
way to tan?
Simply put, no. A suntan is the result of the
skin's response to an injury. Tanning occurs when
the sun's rays penetrate the skin and cause the
skin to produce pigment to protect it. Exposure
to the sun accelerates the aging process and increases
the risk for all types of skin cancer. If you
want to look pretty, smile a lot. Everyone will
love you for it, and there is no apparent downside.
Q: Why Zinc Oxide?
Zinc oxide is best known as the
sunblock of choice for lifeguards who spend all
day in the most intense sunlight. Indeed, a recent
study by the EPA ("The Burning Facts")
concluded that zinc oxide is the only active ingredient
to provide "extensive protection" from
cancer causing UVA rays in addition to UVB rays,
which is what SPF measures.
The first question most people ask
about zinc oxide is "will I look pasty white
like a life guard?" In the case of Z Blok™
(the Z stands for zinc oxide) the answer is no.
The zinc oxide in Z Blok, called Clear Zinc™,
is finely ground so that it will rub in clear.
It is slightly harder to rub in than more watery
sunscreens, but totally worth the effort.