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Skin Protection 101: Understanding Sunscreen

  • Category: Blog, Wellness
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  • Written By: St. John's Health
Skin Protection 101: Understanding Sunscreen

Everything you Need to Know About Sunblock

While most of us know that you should wear sunblock when we head outdoors, you may still find yourself wondering how it actually works. The health experts at St. John’s are here to break down the ways that sunblock helps to protect your skin from the sun’s rays and how to properly apply it.

How Sunscreen Protects Your Skin

As the name suggests, when you apply sunscreen, it helps to prevent the sun’s harmful UV rays from reaching your skin through a combination of physical and chemical particles. Chemical particles react with the sun’s radiation, absorbing the rays. Physical particles on the other hand work by reflecting the UV radiation away from the skin.

What Type of Sunscreen Should You Use?

When you head to the drug store to pick up your sunscreen, it can be overwhelming to have so many to choose from. According to the American Cancer Society, your sunscreen should be labeled as “broad spectrum.” This means that that particular sunscreen helps to protect you against both UVA and UVB rays.

Your sunscreen should also have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. This is because SPF 30 helps filter out about 97% of UVB rays — which are the rays responsible for causing sunburn and skin cancer.

How to Properly Apply Sunscreen

It is recommended that applying sunscreen becomes a part of your everyday skincare routine, even when it’s cloudy or cold outside. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it’s best to apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before heading outside because this allows the sunblock to bind to your skin. It is also recommended that reapply every two hours while outside.

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