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Sunscreens Text

Who needs to use sunscreen?
rybody! The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the American Academy of Dermatology have classified six skin categories:

Skin Type

Sun History



Always burns easily, never tans, extremely sun sensitive skin

Red-headed, freckles, Irish/Scots/Welsh


Always burns easily, tans minimally, very sun sensitive skin

Fair-skinned, fair-haired, blue-eyed, Caucasians


Sometimes burns, tans gradually to light brown, sun sensitive skin

Average skin


Burns minimally, always tans to moderate brown, minimally sun sensitive

Mediterranean-type Caucasians


Rarely burns, tans well, sun insensitive skin

Middle Eastern, some Hispanics, some African-Americans


Never burns, deeply pigmented, sun insensitive skin



When the use of sunscreens is required

Sunscreens are required to be used on a daily basis especially if you are going to be exposed to the sun for more then 30 minutes a day. Most can be applied under makeup. Many of the recent cosmetic products available today contain sunscreens for daily use because sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer.The daily use of  Sunscreens on a regular basis has been shown to allow some repair of damaged skin.

However, because sun exposure is responsible for vitamin D production in the skin, elderly persons who use sunscreen regularly may require vitamin D supplements.

It is worth noting that the sun's reflective powers are great - 17 percent on sand, 80 percent on snow, 70 percent on water. These are more reason for you to ensure the use of these sunscreens daily and all year round because, even on a cloudy day, 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds.

Choosing a sunscreen
There are so many types of sunscreens in the market today, that selecting the right one can be quite a daunting task. Although they come in various form such as creams, lotions, ointments, gels and oils and wax sticks the type of sunscreen you choose is always going to be a matter of personal choice and comfort level of feel on your skin such as

BEAUTY CLASSICS® High Quality Pharmacist Formulary Clear Skincare Sunscreen Products SUNSKINPLEX™  with an SPF of 15+.

Initially it was thought that your sunscreen must contain PABA to be effective. PABA, or para-aminobenzoic acid, was the original compound which was the basic ingredient of sunscreens but it had a drawback in that it had a great propensity of staining clothes. Today's PABA has been refined and the newer ingredient called PABA esters which  include glycerol PABA, padimate A (pentyl dimethyl PABA) and padimate O (octyl dimethyl PABA) rarely stain clothing as the original PABA once did. But because some people are sensitive to PABA and its esters it is recommended that they use sunscreen  products that contain other chemicals such as benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate) and salicylates.

At this point it is worth repeating the importance of knowing that All sunscreens need to be reapplied as often as possible. Even water resistant sunscreen needs to be reapplied about every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or strenuous activities. Gels need to be reapplied frequently (as they sweat off and wash off most easily), but may be preferable for acne-prone people and we need to know that most tanning oils do not contain sufficient amounts of sunscreens and usually have an SPF of less than 2.

Making a truly informed decision on the choice of sunscreen requires an understanding of the difference between UVA and UVB light wavelengths.

As you now may know sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays - UVA rays (which are long wavelength Ultraviolet light) and UVB (which are short wavelength Ultraviolet light). The UVB rays are the sun's burning rays (which are blocked by window glass) and are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer. UVA rays (which pass through window glass) penetrate deeper into the dermis, or base layer of the skin. They also contribute to skin burning and skin cancer. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause suppression of the immune system which helps to protect you against the development and spread of skin cancer.

Since PABA, PABA esters, and cinnamates only protect against UVB light, it is essential to check the label of a sunscreen for products that also screen UVA rays, like benzophenones, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and Parsol 1789 ( butyl methoydibenzoylmethane, also called avobenzone). These are called "broad-spectrum" sunscreens. As such your choice of sunscreen should always consider the totality of UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection. Most of the High Quality Special Formulary Sunscreens are formulated to provide for a true Broad Spectrum of Sunscreen Protection and are the best products available in the market. They may cost a little bit more but they do provide you with the full spectrum of protection and are worth every penny spent.


The SPF number of suncreens
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Sunscreens are  classified by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to as high as 60. These numbers refer to the product's ability to screen or block out the sun's burning rays.

The sunscreen SPF rating is usually calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on the unprotected skin. For example, if a sunscreen is rated SPF 2 and a fair-skinned person who would normally turn red after ten minutes of exposure in the sun uses it, it would take twenty minutes of exposure for the skin to turn red. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would allow that person to multiply that initial burning time by 15, which means it would take 15 times longer to burn, or 150 minutes.

Dermatologists strongly recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater year-round for all skin types.

Does an SPF 30 necessarily mean twice as much sun protection as an SPF 15?

SPF protection does not actually increase proportionately with a designated SPF number. In higher SPFs, such as an SPF of 30, 97 percent of sunburning rays are absorbed, while an SPF of 15 indicates 93 percent absorption and an SPF of 2 equals 50 percent absorption. Recent research suggests that high SPF sunscreens are an appropriate choice for very sun sensitive individuals (skin types I and II). One study determined that skin protected by an SPF 15 sunscreen and then exposed to 15 times the minimum dose of sunlight normally required to cause redness produced 2.5 times the number of sunburn cells seen in SPF 30 protected skin with the same dose of sunlight.

 Does the SPF tell how well a sunscreen blocks UVA or UVB rays?
The SPF number on sunscreens only reflects the product's screening ability for UVB rays. At present, there is no FDA-approved rating system that identifies UVA protection. But Scientists are working to create a standardized testing system to measure UVA protection.

Determining How much sunscreen should be used, and how often should it be applied

In general Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin  30 minutes BEFORE outdoors exposure. It is recommended that when applying sunscreen, you pay particular attention to the face, hands and arms, and coat the skin liberally. An  ounce,  is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. But you must be careful to cover exposed areas completely - a missed spot could mean a patchy, painful sunburn this also include the lips because the lips  get sunburned too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen, preferably with an SPF of 15 or higher.

It is recommended that Sunscreens be applied in the morning and reapplied after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called water resistant sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after about an hour and a half (90 minutes) in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you've towel-dried reapply waterproof sunscreen for continued protection. Please we emplore you not to  forget that sun exposure occurs all the time, even while you're taking a short walk on a cloudy day.

Knowing  the difference between a sunscreen and a sunblock
Sunscreens chemically absorb UV rays. Sunblocks physically deflect them. Sunscreen has long blocked UVB effectively and new ingredients like octylcrylene, the benzophenones and avobenzone (Parsol 1789) work to screen a variety of UVA rays. New preparations for sunblocks, such as micronized titanium dioxide, offer substantial UVA and UVB protection. Newer sunblocks are less conspicuous on the skin that the original sunblocks.

Is sunscreen application all I need to do to protect myself from the sun?
No. Although sunscreens are a very important part of maximum sun protection, wide brimmed hats, protective clothing and sun avoidance (between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) are also important. Current sunscreen preparations are not sufficiently protective to be used as the sole means of sun protection. Sunscreens should be viewed as a back-up to primary means of sun protection such as shirts, hats and sun avoidance.

A number of studies have confirmed that repeated sunburns substantially increase the risk for melanoma. This is especially true for childhood sunburns because there is more time and opportunity for subsequent sun damage to lead to fully malignant melanoma.

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