Believe it or not, at some point we are going to be able to leave the house again, we will be able to see our loved ones, go to parks and have barbecues. Once the social distancing order is lifted we will all be sprinting outside for fresh air and sunlight, so we want to have you prepped and ready to go for when that time comes with everything you need to know about SPF.
SPF stands for sun protection factor, which is the measurement of how much of the sun's ultraviolet radiation gets through the screen. The higher the SPF the fewer UV rays penetrate the skin. For example, SPF 30 prevents 97% of UV rays from penetrating the skin and SPF 50 prevents 98% of UV rays from penetrating the skin. In short, the difference in protection between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is only one percent.
If you’re spending a day at the beach, working in your garden or just going on a long walk, it is recommended that SPF be reapplied every 2 hours no matter what number you’re using.
Even though we are all currently inside social distancing, that doesn’t mean you should take a break from SPF. UV rays can sneak their way into your home from your windows causing damage to your skin. Also, the electronics that we have all been glued to over quarantine are a culprit of damaging the skin. The blue light that your electronic screens give off has the same effect on your skin as UV rays, meaning we need protection even when indoors.
Blue light comes not only from our electronics though, but our main consumption of it is actually the sun… when we go outdoors. Blue light is one of the colors of visible light with high-energy and short wave-lengths. It isn’t all harmful though, we need a certain amount to promote good health and regulation of our sleep and wake cycle, but because most of us right now are working from home on electronics all day, we are probably getting too much.
Ways to lessen your absorption of blue light
- Turn down or turn off the blue light on your electronic devices
- Wear SPF, even when indoors
- Opt for blue light protection lenses in your glasses
*Pretty Pro Tip: There are specific blue light protection products, but research has shown that the active ingredients in physical sunscreens, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, also protect against blue light, so there is no need to go out and buy a blue light protection product.
For protection from the UV rays of the sun, you have two different options, chemical sunscreens, and physical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and to convert UV rays into heat that will be released from the body, while physical sunscreen doesn't absorb into the skin, but rather sits on top of the skin and reflects the UV rays away.
As mentioned above, the main active ingredients in physical sunscreens are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. For chemical sunscreens although, the main active ingredients are oxybenzone and avobenzone.
*Pretty Pro Tip: Physical sunscreens tend to be heavier and thicker than chemical sunscreens when compared at the same SPF, so if you have acne-prone or oily skin you might want to steer clear from physical sunscreens.
Why Protecting Your Skin Is Important
UV rays and blue light both can cause damage to your skin, some more worrisome than others. For years now studies have shown that UV rays can cause wrikles, leather-textured skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, sun spots, and even cancer. As more information about blue light’s effect on skin has become available we now know it can cause stress to the skin resulting in photo-aging, skin color changes, inflammation, and a weakened surface of the skin.
Luckily for you protecting your skin is one of the biggest trends today, so lather on that SPF, everyone is doing it!