Chemicals on your skin -Is too much too bad? Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with 5 million new cases each year. The most common cause of skin cancer is the sun. So most people think they’re helping when they slather on sunscreen. And people think that when it comes to the sun protection factor (“SPF”) of sunscreens, “100” is better than “30” and way better than “8,” is this actually the case, though?

The Surprising Truth About SPF

When it comes to SPF, the correlation between the number and protection may surprise you. In fact, the higher the number, the more risk you’re taking with toxic chemicals. Sunscreen is full of chemicals. These chemicals are shown to produce cancer in mice, meaning that your “protection” could actually be just as, if not more, harmful than the UV rays you’re seeking to avoid.

Sun Exposure to SPF Ratio Explained

Pretty much all physicians agree that too much sun exposure does increase the likelihood of getting certain skin cancers, especially later in life; sunlight also wrinkles and discolors the skin, making us look older. But remember, sun exposure is vital to good health as it produces vitamin D for the body. That higher SPF is also a waste of money. Sunscreens with SPF 8 block 87% of UVB rays (the ones that burn your skin). SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93%. SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 100 sunscreens block 99%. So you are slathering on more toxic concentration for only marginally better protection if you use SPF 100 versus SPF 30. I prefer using SPF 8 or 15  when I can. It takes me about 20 minutes before I burn in strong sunlight, so with SPF 8, I get 160 minutes of protection. That’s my burn rate, (20 minutes) times the SPF (8). I don’t recommend ever using anything higher than SPF 30, (about 10 hours of protection at a 20-minute burn rate). You simply don’t need that much goop. You can also do a lot for your skin if you avoid sun exposure during the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 pm,  when the sun’s rays are strongest. But whatever you do, make sure that you do get outside this summer. Getting enough sun is always on my annual list of top health tips. Sunlight is one of the best ways to fight depression and even cancer.

Visit Our Walk-In Clinic Today

For more helpful health tips and products to avoid or use correctly, visit our walk-in clinic in Waynesboro. Whether you have a severe sunburn, are afraid of a product you may have used incorrectly, or just have a routine ailment, our friendly staff is ready to help today.