Article by: Ashlynn Dodson
Contributing Writer

As the summer comes in full force, it’s important to remember that our skin requires more than
just a hat and sunglasses for protection. The real hero in our skincare routine during these
sunny months is SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Often associated with preventing premature
aging and maintaining youthful looks, SPF plays a far more critical role in safeguarding our
overall health, particularly against the threat of skin cancer.
SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects against UVB rays, the primary cause of
sunburn and a significant contributor to skin cancer. A higher SPF number indicates more
protection, with SPF 30 blocking about 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks about 98%. This
seemingly small difference can be significant, especially for those with sensitive skin or a history
of skin cancer in their family.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, with cases steadily increasing over
recent decades. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun is the primary culprit, making prevention
through sunscreen use a crucial strategy. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, wearing
SPF 15 or higher daily reduces the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—by
During summer, UV radiation reaches its peak intensity, making diligent sunscreen application
essential. UV exposure not only damages the skin’s outer layer but also penetrates deeper,
affecting collagen production and DNA integrity. This damage can lead to accelerated aging
(photoaging) characterized by wrinkles, sunspots, and loss of elasticity. However, the
consequences extend beyond aesthetics to potential life-threatening risks.
Effective sun protection involves using broad-spectrum sunscreens that shield against both UVA
and UVB rays. While UVB rays primarily cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer, UVA rays
penetrate deeper, leading to long-term skin damage, including premature aging and skin cancer.
By using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you ensure that you are effectively shielding your skin
from both types of harmful UV radiation, thereby safeguarding your skin’s health and minimizing
the risk of sun-related skin issues over time.
Sunscreen Application: How and When
Applying sunscreen correctly maximizes its effectiveness. Experts recommend:
– Generous Application: Use about one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to cover exposed
– Frequency: Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating, even if the
sunscreen is labeled as water-resistant.
– Areas to Cover: Don’t forget often neglected areas like ears, lips, back of the neck, and tops
of feet.
– Timing: Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to fully absorb into
the skin.

In addition to sunscreen, practicing sun-safe habits further mitigates risks:
Seek shade, especially during peak sun hours (10 AM to 4 PM).
Wear protective clothing, including hats, UV-protective sunglasses, and tightly woven fabrics
covering arms and legs.
Stay informed about the UV index, adjusting precautions accordingly.
Common misconceptions about sunscreen can hinder proper protection. Contrary to popular
– Dark Skin: While darker skin tones have more natural protection, they are still susceptible to
sun damage and skin cancer.
– Cloudy Days: UV rays penetrate clouds, necessitating sunscreen use even on overcast days.
– Indoor Protection: UV rays can pass through windows, so sun protection remains essential
indoors as well.
Making SPF a non-negotiable part of daily skincare promotes not just youthful skin but also
long-term health benefits. Without SPF protection, UVB rays cause immediate damage like
sunburn, while UVA rays contribute to long-term issues such as premature aging and
suppression of the immune system, which compromises the skin’s ability to repair itself. Over
time, cumulative exposure without SPF can significantly elevate the chances of developing
various forms of skin cancer. By prioritizing sun protection, individuals can significantly reduce
their risk of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and
melanoma, which are preventable with proper precautions.
Let’s remember that SPF isn’t just a cosmetic product but a shield against serious health risks.
Its role in preventing skin cancer cannot be overstated, making daily application of sunscreen an
indispensable habit. Whether you’re lounging by the pool, hiking in the mountains, or simply
running errands, protecting your skin with SPF is an investment in your future health. So, as you
plan your next outdoor adventure, make SPF your trusted companion—it’s more than skin-deep
protection; it’s a lifeline against skin cancer.

By Published On: July 2, 2024Categories: Beauty Beat

About the Author: Ashlynn Dodson

Ashlynn Dodson is a graduate from Spartanburg Methodist College and holds a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in business and psychology. Ashlynn has embarked on an entrepreneurial venture in the esthetics industry. Her passion for helping others and her business acumen led her to open her own esthetics business, where she focuses on providing specialized services that prioritize clients' physical and mental well-being. With a dedication to excellence, Ashlynn tailors her services to meet the unique needs of each client, combining her esthetics expertise with her insight into the latest trends and techniques. She stays informed on industry trends and innovations to offer advanced esthetic solutions. Ashlynn’s goal is to empower individuals to embrace their own unique beauty and cultivate self-confidence, while being informed about the latest trends and practices in skincare, fashion, and wellness, allowing them to make educated choices that enhance their overall well-being.

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