How do I Protect Myself from UV rays?
Use sunscreen, like Vertra’s “Elemental Resistance” products, to help prevent skin cancer.
While sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, sunscreen is just a filter that does not block all UV rays. Sunscreen should not be used as a way to prolong your time in the sun. Even with proper sunscreen use, some UV rays get through, so other forms of sun protection are also important.
Sunscreens are available in many forms (lotions, creams, ointments, gels, sprays, wipes, and lip balms, to name a few). Some cosmetics, such as moisturizers, lipsticks and foundations, are considered sunscreen products if they have sunscreen. Some makeup contains sunscreen, but you have to check the label (makeup, including lipstick, without sunscreen does not provide sun protection).
Read The Labels!
When choosing a sunscreen product, always read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.
The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. A higher SPF number means more UVB protection, but says nothing about UVA protection. For example, correctly applied SPF 30 sunscreen gives you get the equivalent of 1 minute of UVB rays for each 30 minutes you spend in the sun. So, 1 hour in the sun wearing SPF 30 sunscreen is the same as spending 2 minutes totally unprotected. People often do not apply enough sunscreen, so they get less actual protection.
Sunscreens labeled with SPFs as high as 100+ are available. Higher numbers do mean more protection, but many people don’t understand the SPF scale. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes and no sunscreen protects you completely.
Sunscreens with an SPF lower than 15 must now include a warning on the label stating that the product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.
Broad Spectrum Sunscreen: Sunscreen products can only be labeled “broad spectrum” if they have been tested and shown to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Some of the chemicals in sunscreens that help protect against UVA rays include avobenzone (Parsol 1789), ecamsule, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide. Only broad spectrum sunscreen products with an SPF of 15 or higher can state that they help protect against skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures.
Water Resistant Sunscreen: Sunscreens can no longer allowed be labeled as “waterproof” or “sweat proof” because these terms are misleading. Sunscreens that claim to be “water resistant,” must state whether the protection lasts for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, based on tests.
Expiration Dates: Check the expiration date on the sunscreen to ensure that the product has not expired. Most sunscreen products are good for at least 2 to 3 years, but you may need to shake the bottle to remix the sunscreen ingredients. Sunscreens that have been exposed to heat for long periods, such as if they were kept in a glove box or car trunk through the summer, may be less effective.