Choosing the Right SPF Sunscreen – Is More Really Better?

While we celebrate the increasing temperatures in Maryland, let’s all make a commitment to increase our skin protection this summer! At Alazzo Med Spa, we offer several Image Skincare products that can help you stay protected from the UVA and UVB rays this summer.

What UVA and UVB really mean.

Everyone knows that the sun’s rays can be harmful to our skin. What many people don’t know is the difference between the rays that makeup sunlight and exactly how they affect us. Sunlight is actually made up of two different types of rays – UVA and UVB. UVA is short for long wave ultraviolet A and UVB is short for short wave ultraviolet B. These two different types of rays affect different layers of our skin, therefore harming us in different ways.

UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis which is the skin’s thickest layer. When we are exposed to UVA rays repeatedly, we get that golden tan that so many long for. Many people don’t realize two things about UVA rays. 1. UVA rays create the brown (tan) skin in an effort to prevent more rays from going deeper and damaging the DNA of the cells. 2. UVA rays cause the skin cells to thicken and lose moisture which is what causes premature skin aging and wrinkles. The more you protect yourself from UVA rays, the more ageless your skin will look!

UVB rays penetrate the top layers of our skin and usually burn them. When we have sun burn, our skin turns red because there is an increase of blood in the capillaries. This is letting us know that the skin in that area is damaged and will most likely be followed by peeling. Peeling is the body ridding itself of layers of skin that can no longer repair themselves. Peeling is also how your body gets rid of these cells before they cause cancer. Unfortunately, when we allow our skin to burn repeatedly, our body can’t always rid the cells before cancer becomes present.

The Scoop on SPF Sunscreens.

SPF stands for sun protection factor. Each sunscreen is classified by a number which indicates its ability to protect against UVB rays. The higher the SPF number, the more you are protected against burning. See the correlation below.

SPF 0 – 0% UVB Protection

SPF 10 – 90% UVB Protection

SPF 15 – 93% UVB Protection

SPF 30 – 97% UVB Protection

SPF 50 – 99% UVB Protection

Notice that we stated that SPF protects against UVB rays. Most SPF sunscreens are “classic” meaning that their active protectant ingredients only protect against UVB rays (burning). It is safer to get a “mineral” sunscreen which protects against UVB and UVA rays. Most mineral sunscreens are made with ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide which scatter and reflect the rays as oppose to absorbing and dissipating them.

Specialists in dermatology, such as Dr. Steven Q. Wang, not only argue that a mineral sunscreen is better but also that it is not beneficial to go over SPF 50. It gives users a superficial feeling of protection and anything above SPF 50 has minimal increased protection against UVB rays. SPF 50 already protects against 99% of UVB rays so it doesn’t get much better than that!

More is better, to an extent!

So yes, SPF 50 is clearly better than SPF 20 but anything higher than that is not necessarily better. And, if you’re using a classic SPF sunscreen you’re not really protecting your skin that much. If you want the ultimate protection stop into Alazzo Med Spa and take a look at our Image Skincare products. Image Skincare has an SPF line that is paraben free and contains Zinc Oxide which protects you against UVA rays as well. Don’t let your skin go unprotected this summer. Prevent premature aging, skin cancer and more with these great products offered at Alazzo Med Spa.