Apply sunscreen, yes – but with which sunscreen?

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According to a study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, one in five respondents did not know that the sun protection factor (SPF) does not provide protection against all damage caused by the sun. It only applies to UVB rays. Protection against UVA rays is indicated by stars on the packaging. UVA rays contribute to skin aging and wrinkles. UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.

Lack of Knowledge

The protection offered by sunscreens and lotions against UVB rays, which are responsible for sunburn, is indicated by the SPF on the packaging. However, according to British experts, UVA rays should also be considered when purchasing sun protection products. They penetrate much deeper into the skin and contribute to premature aging. Only one out of three participants in the current study checked the information regarding protection against UVA rays when purchasing a sun protection product.

According to research leader Jayne Lawrence, many people are unaware that the SPF only applies to UVB rays. “People shouldn’t have to deal with two complicated rating systems to understand how sun protection works and what kind of protection they can expect from a product. Lawrence believes it’s time for manufacturers to provide a simple, easily understandable description of a product’s overall sun protection: low, medium, high, or very high protection.”

Preventing Skin Cancer

Excessive UV radiation is considered by Cancer Research UK to be the most common preventable cause of skin cancer. Studies published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2011 estimated that 86 percent of melanomas in the UK are associated with excessive exposure to sunlight and frequent visits to tanning salons.

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