Why do we apply sunscreen?

Why do we apply sunscreen?

To help protect our skin from invisible UV rays from the sun, namely UVA and UVB rays. UVC rays are short wavelength and do not reach the earth's surface.

UV stands for “ultraviolet” and exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, but tanning beds can also mimic this form of light and cause skin cancer and other kinds of skin damage.

There are two main types of UV rays:

UVB rays make up about 5-10% of the rays that reach us; affects the skin's outer layer and are the primary cause of sunburns, skin cancer, premature skin aging, and tanning.

UVA rays constitute approximately 90-95% of the rays that reach the Earth; are weaker than UVB rays, but penetrate more deeply into the skin's layers and can contribute to signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles, as well as skin cancer and tanning.

Our filter is a broad spectrum, it means it will protect you from both UVA and UVB radiations. Do you want to know more about our filter?

How does sunscreen work?

Sunscreens work by using certain types of actives (either mineral or chemical) to absorb the sun’s damaging UV rays. Chemical SPF actives include avobenzone, homosalate and octocrylene, while mineral actives include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two mineral actives will also help protect your skin by reflecting some of the sun’s UV light, in addition to absorbing it.

At Sol de Ibiza, we use Zinc Oxide only. Do you want to know more about our filter?

What is SPF?

The SPF – or “Sun Protection Factor” – number on a sunscreen’s label is a guide to the product’s level of sunburn protection.

In general, the SPF number indicates how much longer you can stay exposed to the sun before getting sunburned when wearing sunscreen, as opposed to without sunscreen.

For example, it takes 15 times longer to burn with sunscreen SPF 15 than without sunscreen. However, whatever the SPF number, sunscreen should be reapplied at least every 2 hours.

Each number will also protect your skin from a certain percentage of the sun’s UVB (burning) rays. Just to be clear though, SPF numbers are based on different situations and skin types (i.e. if you’re outside swimming or if you have particularly oily skin, the SPF number will not last as long).

See here for the breakdown of SPF numbers:

  • SPF 15 – Blocks 93 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 – Blocks 97 percent of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 – Blocks 98 percent of UVB rays

But what numbers should you gravitate towards, you might ask? Well, any dermatologist will tell you that any SPF between 30 to 50 is your sweet spot. Anything below 30 (including SPF 15, listed above) won’t protect you from enough of the sun’s UVB rays, and anything above 50 gives people a false sense of all-day protection. This SPF will also only protect you from less than one percent more of the sun’s UVB rays, while exposing your skin to a much higher concentration of active ingredients that can be irritating in the process. And whether or not you choose SPF 30 or 50, remember to apply and reapply it generously.