Monthly Archives: June 2014

What is SPF anyway? Why do I need sunscreen protection?

We are all getting older and quite honestly need to take better care of our skin. We know significantly more about the harmful effects of the sun than we did 20 years ago. Still, it is hard to find someone who can explain the difference between UVB, UVA, and what all those numbers mean. Hopefully, we can shed some light on this and help you make some intelligent decisions moving forward to so you can keep looking great and stay healthy.  Our clients come here to be pampered but also look for solid advice on which quality products provide the best results.

The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). Basically, UVA rays can age us and UVB rays can burn us. Overexposure to either can damage the skin. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and suppression of the immune system. And when your skin’s defenses are down, you’re at risk for skin cancer.

UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. The intensity of UVB rays vary by season, location, and time of day and can cause permanent damage over time.

SPF or Sun Protection Factor is the measure of how a sunscreen product will protect you from UVB rays which causes sunburn, damages skin, causes wrinkles and can also contribute to skin cancer. You may have missed this one but the word “sun block” is no longer allowed as the FDA is trying to eliminate confusion on what these products actually do.

What do the numbers mean?  As individuals we are all different, but let’s say that your skin begins to turn red after about ten minutes in the sun.  A SPF with 15 means that it will protect you 15 times longer than if you didn’t use it, or 150 minutes compared to 10.  Depending on the SPF factor, and some basic math you can now figure out how long you can stay in the sun without burning if you’ve applied the correct amount.  That amount is generally considered to be an ounce.  If you skimp, it will affect the amount of protection so not the place you want to cut costs and be frugal.

Some of our favorite brands here are Skinceuticals and Jane Iredale.  Many of us here in Stillwater MN, that spend time out in the sun do so near water. The good news here is that all of their products have been tested to be water resistant for 40 minutes.  The key ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which literally blocks UV rays by acting like tiny mirrors on the skin reflecting, refracting and absorbing rays.

Most chemical sunscreens on the market today have highly efficient absorption capabilities through the UVB, partly the UVA, and in some instances infrared wavelengths but once the chemicals have absorbed their limit, the sunscreen ceases to be effective.  This is why we have  carefully chosen Jane Iredale and Skinceuticals.

At Credo Salon Spa, we stay on top of the latest technology by attending seminars, trade shows and articles. We love what we do and we pride ourselves on being well trained professionals. Come and visit us soon.