Acner.org: Acne treatment

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Information on Suntan Lotion

Information on Suntan Lotion

Overview

The term suntan lotion generally describes a lotion that is used when going out in the sun, according to the University of Ohio. The suntan is the skin`s response to the UV light in that the pigment cells transfer pigment to shield the living cells.

Sunblocks/Physical Sunscreens

The term sunblock refers to what the Mayo Clinic calls physical sunscreens. They contain ingredients which form an opaque film that prevent the sun's UV rays from penetrating through the upper layers of the skin and damaging the cells beneath. Sunblocks typically contain a physical blocking agent such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens don't prevent the penetrating effects of the sun's rays but rather absorb the UV rays before they have a chance to harm the cells below the surface layers of the skin. The Mayo Clinic says chemical sunscreens contain ingredients, such as avobenzone or oxybenzone, which soak up UVA or UVB rays.

Sun Protection Factor

All sun lotions list their sun protection factor (SPF). The SPF number indicates the amount of UVB protection. According to the Mayo Clinic there is no SPF rating system for UVA protection. The American Academy of Dermatology generally recommends a broad-based sunscreen (protects against UVB and UVB) with a minimum SPF of 15.

SPF Effects

A higher SPF does not mean you can safely stay out in the sun for a longer period of time. It simply provides a greater degree of protection by filtering out more UVB rays. For example, an SPF of 15 filters out about 93 percent of UVB rays compared to 97 percent with a 30 SPF. Don't rely on your skin to let you know when you had enough sun. It can take as long as 24 hours for sunburn to develop.

Application

Sunscreens are available in cream, lotion, gel, stick, spray and lip balm. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says sunscreens should be applied liberally to all exposed areas at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and more frequently if you are spending time in water or heavily perspiring.

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