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All about SPF -- Skin Cancer Awareness Month

We can't deny the importance of Vitamin D in our lives. With low levels of it we literally fall into depression. Vitamin D is so important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, it may also protect us from a range of conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

The sun is our main source of producing Vitamin D. It is estimated that sensible sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. I will be the first person to tell you how much I love the sun and and I will not deny how great it feels when the sun shines on my skin, however in honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month I am here to preach all things Sun Protection. Let's talk about the importance of SPF, the difference in SPF levels and what we should be looking for in our purchase of SPF.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, please consult your doctor for any concerns, questions or advice.

What does SPF even stand for?

First off, SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor". SPF is the measure of sun protection from UVB and UVA rays.

What does SPF protect you from?

SPF protects from two kinds of Ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVA and UVB. UVB rays cause sunburns and play a key role in developing skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and cause more longterm effects like wrinkling, skin aging and other damage. Both types of rays can cause skin cancer. When shopping for your SPF it's important to look for a product that protects from both UVA/UVB rays. This is often described as broad spectrum.

What is the difference between SPF levels?

To make it simple the measure is the amount of time you would be able to stay in the sun without getting burned. For example, if you get burned in 10 minutes SPF 15 will keep you protected 15 times longer than no protection, approximately 150 minutes. There is no exact measure though.

Another difference among the levels is the percentage of rays they block. SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays.

SPF can range from 2 to 70. While a higher SPF does provide more protection remember it does still need to be reapplied every 2 hours as skin damage from the sun does continue to build up over time.

SPF is for more than just your beach & pool days.

If you aren't already, SPF should be applied everyday. We are exposed to the sun more than we think: in the car, when you're sitting next to the window in your office, walking the dog, out for a run and the list goes on. In those brief moments your skin is still at risk to the effects of the sun's rays. 

Other ways to protect your skin:

1. Avoid peak hours. Stay out of the sun during peak hours: 10AM-4PM

2. Sit in the shade. While staying out of the sun during peak hours can't always be avoided, choose to sit in the shade. If you bring an umbrella with you, they don't always have a high SPF so don't forget to still apply your sunscreen.

3. Wear a hat. You can choose from bucket hats, to sport caps to wide brim hats. Protect your face, girl!

4. Wear protective clothing. In the hot summer months long sleeve shirts and pants are not realistic, keep a look out for UV protection clothing!

5. Sunscreen no matter what. Even when it's cloudy, the rays still pierce through the clouds.

BONUS: All orders placed in May will receive a sun protection kit with purchase! Wishing you many sunny days!

Leave a comment below with your favorite sunscreen brands or UV protection clothing!


Photo source: Pinterest

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