All About Sunscreen
What is a Sunscreen?
A Sunscreen, Sun Block, UV Defence, or Sun cream is a topical product* that helps to protect skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, also known as UV rays. There are two kinds of UV rays that are harmful to us. UVB rays are seen immediately and cause sunburns, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and causes long-term premature skin aging. Premature skin aging is the term we use when one's skin is aging faster than their actual age. This is real, and UV rays can do this to your skin. So it's always important to identify if your sunscreen provides the highest protection from both UVB and UVA rays.
Now, how do you read if a sunscreen has both UVB and UVA protection? What does SPF and PA mean? To cover this as simply as possible, SPF is short for (Sun Protection Factor), and SPF measures only UVB protection while PA measures UVA protection.
So, does this mean a high SPF is better? Like SPF 100? or SPF 110? Absolutely not. There is no such thing as SPF 100. The highest SPF protection is SPF 50. But the difference between a SPF 40 and a SPF 50 is 0.5%. SPF 40 gives 97.5% protection while SPF 50 gives 98% protection. There is no such thing as 100% protection. But again, whether SPF 40 or SPF 50, you still need to reapply your sunscreens every 2 hours. And 20 minutes before heading out.
And then the question is how many + after PA is a good choice. And how do you read it?
PA+ = Some UVA protection. PA++ = Moderate UVA protection. PA+++ = High UVA protection. PA++++ = Extremely High UVA protection. But in most countries, PA +++ is officially the highest, and some advanced new generation formulations provide PA ++++.
To further explain things. If a Sunscreen says Broad Spectrum, it generally indicates the product offers both UVB and UVA protection. Now I know it sounds like science, and it's complicated. But to wrap it up, a good Sunscreen is pretty good if it says SPF 40 and PA +++ or above. But the better choice is an SPF 50 PA ++++. And the best choice is always the choice to wear ANY sunscreen! So wear your SPF daily, even on rainy days. Every day. Even underneath your makeup. Every 2 hours. Almost religiously. And in 3 months, you will thank yourself - metaphorically.
*(topical products are products that you apply on your skin, while oral products like supplements or some types of collagens you take through your mouth)