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Good to know about your skin and the sun.

Did you know that 40 - 50% of the sun's rays penetrate cloud cover?

Here are the basics about the UVA & UVB rays we've all heard so much about: Simply put - UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburns. UVA rays are the cause of discoloration, wrinkles and the primary cause of skin cancers AND they can penetrate glass. Unfortunately, when protecting only against UVB rays, which prevent sunburns, people may stay in the sun longer doing more dangerous damage while still not visibly burning.

UVA (Ultra Violet 'A' Radiation) causes wrinkling, sagging, course texture and skin discoloration. UVA radiation doesn't produce the immediate evidence of skin damage that UVB radiation does - namely sunburn. Instead its damage is cumulative and causes serious changes in the skin.

Did you know that the sun attacks the collagen structure of the skin? It also thickens the exterior or the skin, chokes off skin's blood supply and reduces elasticity.

Here's a simplified version of how sunscreens work on your skin: They act to weaken ultra violet radiation before it causes damage to DNA in the nuclei of skin cells. Sunscreens absorb ultra violet radiation within the spaces between the skin cells, convert it into specific chemicals, and re-release the energy as insignificant amounts of heat. The higher the SPF rating, the longer it takes for sunlight to damage the skin.

Along this same line, the number attached to an SPF lets you know how long you can stay in the sun without turning pink or burning. If you can normally stay in the sun for 10 minutes without getting pink, then a full spectrum SPF 15 allows you to stay in the sun 15 times longer with the same result. IMPORTANT to know… is that this only works if the sunscreen product is liberally and evenly applied. Just dabbing on a little bit won't protect you properly, no matter how high the SPF number.

Every one should always wear full spectrum protection of SPF 15 or greater every day, everywhere.

Did you know that one year of incidental unprotected sun exposure is equal to one full week of baking on the beach without sunscreen?

The sun is damaging your skin all the time, if it's not protected with a full spectrum UVA & UVB product, no matter what the weather or time of year. It affects you when you're driving to work, walking on a city sidewalk or eating in a restaurant by a window. The sun's rays are actually reflected off surfaces such as water, grass and concrete.

Foundations and powders with 'SPF' can be deceiving because the key to sunscreen protection is liberal and even application. Very few make-ups and powders are applied in quantities great enough to be truly effective and safe. You may not be getting the protection you think you are. They can however provide helpful extra protection when applied over your full spectrum SPF moisturizer.

Did you know that even if you tan slowly without burning you are still doing damage to your skin?

Sunscreen is without question the most basic and essential part of any skin care routine. It plays a pivotal role from birth to old age. No other skin care product can so greatly and unquestionably influence the health of your skin.

Did you know that regular use of exfoliation products that improve your skin, also make skin more vulnerable as it exposes new layers of skin to the sun? This makes it even more important to always use a full spectrum sunscreen moisturizer every day.

Medical and scientific facts from SUNSCREENS, Development, Evaluation, and Regulatory Aspects Second Edition, Revised and Expanded:

"in summary, in recent years there has been a growing awareness that many of the so-called attributes of skin aging are, instead, a reflection of environmental assault on exposed areas of the body."

"Photo aging changes have been thought to be irreversible, however, our findings indicate that destruction and repair go on simultaneously under continued assault by solar radiation. The balance is shifted toward repair when the radiation stress is relieved."

It's never too late!