Suntan Factors


suntans2Overexposure to the sun, or say the dangerous Ultraviolet (UV) rays, can harm the skin, even when you have a security feeling that sunscreen lotion can protect you from any bad effect. However, it can really be confusing for many of us while choosing the right mixture of lotion which offers better protection.

Although there is a large number of sun protection lotions for face and body available with varied Sun Protection Factor (SPF), their effectiveness entirely depends on the specific summer weather of a place i.e. the average daily temperature, and the skin types. Skin Type varies from person to person; from a very sensitive skin (Type 1) to a rarely burn or Tans profusely skin (Type 6).

Primarily, speaking about the browning of the skin, it is apt to mention here that UV radiation is the major factor in developing skin cancer, including the most deadly of all skin cancers Melanoma. The two types of UVs responsible for skin damages are: ultraviolet A (UV-A) and ultraviolet B (UV-B). Hence, it is necessary to pay attention to the protection tag in the suntan lotion.

For example, there are products which are providing more protection for UV-A than UV-B. Here the commonly used ‘PA’ or Protection Grade can guide you to the amount of protection it offers against UV-A rays. PA, PA+, PA++, PA+++ indicates the label of protection in increasing order. Another radiation UV-C has also been come into the list of most damaging ones. So, it’s better to read the labels carefully before purchasing your brand of sunscreen.

Redness of the skin caused by exposure to the rays of the sun can be protected by using a good sunscreen. While some sunscreen lotions usually contain chemicals to absorb the rays after a chemical reaction within the skin, some just physically block the UV rays and reflect them away. The common chemical composition of these lotions varies between product brands which include: methoxycinnamate, oxybenzone and titanium dioxide.

Dermatologists typically prescribe a cream with greater sunscreen protection factor (SPF). To calculate the required SPF factor, here is an example:

Suppose a person took 10 minutes to turn red in the sun, here 10 min is his/her initial burning time. So, if s/hesuntans1 uses a sunscreen with SPF*3 then it takes 30 minutes for her skin to turn red. Similarly, if s/he uses a lotion of SPF*20, it multiplies the initial burning time by 20 i.e. 200 minutes. So, it gives a total of 3 hours and 20 min of protection time.

In a common case, it is advisable to use a sunscreen with at least SPF*15 for everyday use. However, as said earlier, it varies from product to product and for specific skin types. As per data available, some European Union countries have set it up to SPF*50 while Australia with SPF*30 and USA up to SPF*50, thereby offering more protection.

So make sure you are using the best product with a greater SPF according to your skin type, and which can make certain adequate amount of protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. Moreover, if you are planning a travel trip then it’s better to have a clear idea about the maximum temperature of the destination and make a contact with your dermatologist to recommend you the most suitable sunscreen.


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