UV Rays Explained
Our sunscreen products were born from our active lifestyle and the need to protect ourselves from overexposure to harmful UV radiation. We believe spending time in the sun is an essential way for humans to absorb critical Vitamin D which assists in cellular function. While there are health benefits to getting daily sunlight, overexposure to UV radiation can be detrimental and precautions should be taken.
The Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays
There are two types of UV radiation to be mindful of; UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin’s surface and are responsible for all forms of skin aging, including wrinkles. In addition to damaging the elastin and collagen in the skin, overexposure to UVA rays has been known to cause Melanoma, one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. Over 90% of all UV rays that make it to the earth’s surface are UVA rays and are commonly referred to as the “tanning” rays due to the way they darken the skin. UVB rays don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays but can leave the top layers red and burned. UVB radiation makes up only 5% of UV rays from the sun but can still damage skin cells and cause DNA mutations that lead to Melanoma. Overexposure to both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer.
Making Sense of SPF
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures the amount of protection a sunscreen offers against UVB rays. SPF is measured in percentages and is as follows:
SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays
SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays
Oftentimes consumers assume that high SPF sunscreen products (SPF 50+) provide superior protection from the sun. The reality is that an SPF 50 only provides a 1% increase in protection as compared to an SPF 30. SPF ratings can be misleading and sunscreen products need to be reapplied often and correctly. For example, an SPF 30 does not provide twice the protection of an SPF 15. Additionally, an SPF 50 will need to be reapplied at the same rate as an SPF 30. It's important to note that the SPF rating only reflects protection from UVB rays, and the best sunscreen will block both UVA and UVB rays.
One of the most important things to look for when shopping sunscreen is for a product that provides true Broad Spectrum protection. A Broad Spectrum sunscreen is one that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is the only single active ingredient that provides a full range of protection from both harmful UVA and UVB rays. For this reason, Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is the only active ingredient we utilize in our sunscreen products.
Shopping for the right sunscreen can be a daunting task especially with so many misleading label claims and questionable ingredients. There are a few things to consider when selecting a safe, effective, and eco-friendly sunscreen:
Select a sunscreen that provides Broad Spectrum protection with Non-Nano Zinc Oxide being the only active ingredient. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is a mineral of the earth and it offers the best UV protection of all chemical active ingredients. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide sits on top of your skin and physically blocks harmful UVA and UVB likes a door and protects better than Titanium Dioxide. Additionally, it’s the only active ingredient approved by the FDA for infants under 6 months of age and it’s completely ocean safe.
Select a sunscreen rated ‘Water Resistant 80 Minutes’ for your own protection and for the health of the reefs. The phrase ‘Water Resistant 80 Minutes’ (a term regulated by the FDA) reflects that a sunscreen product provides protection after 80 minutes of water exposure. A sunscreen that is Water Resistant beyond 80 minutes provides superior protection when the user is submerged in water. Additionally, the longer a sunscreen product remains on the skin, the less likely it is to enter coral reef systems.
Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and avoid high SPF sunscreen products. The standard SPF among sunscreen is the SPF 30 due to its ability to provide adequate protection from UV rays. An SPF 15 provides 93% coverage from UVB rays, an SPF 30 provides 97% coverage from UVB rays, and an SPF 50 provides 98% coverage from UVB rays. You can determine based on the percentages that anything boasting over an SPF 30 only provides an additional 1% increase in protection. Choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and avoiding high SPF products will help ensure adequate sun protection.
Using Sunscreen Properly & Sun Protection Tips
Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is a physical blocker and unlike chemical sunscreens it does not absorb into the skin. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide creates a physical barrier between the skin and the sun’s harmful rays. In order to prevent sunburn, a user must apply the right amount of sunscreen to their skin. The SPF of a product is based off of the FDA’s recommended dosage of 2mg of formula per square centimeter of skin. In practice, this equates to about two tablespoons of sunscreen to the exposed areas of the face and body. With any physical sunscreen, it is important not to rub the product in entirely as this decreases the advertised SPF value.
Physical sunscreens like Non-Nano Zinc Oxide begin providing sun protection the moment they are correctly and evenly applied to the skin. For optimum results, reapply your sunscreen often and especially after towel drying or when exposed to water. Sunscreens rated ‘Water Resistant for 80 Minutes’ should still be reapplied after prolonged periods of sweating or swimming.
Limit your time in the sun and avoid peak hours between 10am and 2pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Practice total sun safety and incorporate other protective measures in addition to using high quality mineral sunscreen. Always wear UV protective clothing, hats, glasses, rash guards, and wetsuits. Seek shade whenever possible and remember to stay well hydrated.