When most people think of sunscreen, they picture white lotion that gets slathered on while hanging at the beach or the pool. But SPF isn’t something that should only be worn during warmer weather when you’ll be outside for extended periods. It’s a good idea to incorporate SPF into your skincare routine year-round, even when the sun isn’t shining.
Let’s take a look at the different types of UV rays and how using products with SPF can protect your skin.
The Different Types of UV Rays
There are two types of UV rays that are most damaging to the skin: UVA and UVB rays. SPF helps guard your skin from UVA and UVB rays, minimizing the risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
- UVA rays – These types of UV rays are the most damaging to the skin, reaching deeper into the skin. Because of the deep penetration of UVA rays, they play a major role in skin wrinkles, aging, and damage to the skin cells called keratinocytes.
- UVB rays – These UV rays are what causes sunburns and your skin to turn red — likely being the most likely to cause skin cancer.
Keep in mind that all UV rays can be damaging to your skin, which is why using SPF is an absolute must.
The Benefits of Using Sunscreen
If you’re unsure why using sunscreen every day is important, we’ve put together four benefits you’ll experience from protecting your skin with SPF.
1) Reduces the Risk of Skin Cancer
Repeated exposure to harmful UV rays often leads to skin pre-cancers or skin cancer. By applying sunscreen regularly, along with taking other precautions to protect your skin from the sun, will help minimize the damaging effects of sun exposure. The Skin Cancer Foundation even believes that applying sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 can reduce the chance of melanoma by 50%.
2) Protects Your Skin Against Sunburn
There’s nothing more frustrating (or painful!) than a sunburn. But a sunburn can do more damage than just causing you redness and pain for a few days — it is directly related to skin cancer. When your skin absorbs the UV rays, it damages more than just the outer layer of skin. The genetic material in the skin gets damaged well, which is why sunscreen is a great option to help prevent the UV rays from being absorbed into your skin.
3) Reduces the Onset of Wrinkles & Aging
It’s natural for your skin to develop wrinkles and fine lines as we get older, but with lengthy sun exposure, you can expedite the process. By adding sunscreen with SPF into your daily skincare routine, you will be doing your part to reduce the early onset of wrinkles and fine lines — minimizing the signs of aging.
4) Prevents Sun Spots & Hyperpigmentation
Sun damage doesn’t only cause wrinkles and fine lines, but can leave you with uneven skin pigmentation, often referred to as hyperpigmentation. While hyperpigmentation can be passed down through genetics, it is often caused by damage from repeated sun exposure. You may notice these sun spots on areas of your body that are exposed to the sun’s UV rays more often, such as your face or your hands.