By Nico Strydom
All of us know that it is important to apply a sunscreen for protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV), but it is also important to know what sun protection factor to use.
SPF stands for sun protection factor and is indicared on sunscreens. According to Island Tribe, a manufacturer of sunscreens, South Africa has one of the highest UV indexes in the world.
It is therefore important not to apply just any sunscreen but to make sure about how long you will be protected by the sunscreen you decide to apply.
The SPF gives an indication of how good the product protects your skin against the sun’s harmful UVB rays, which cause sunburn.
The SPF number works as follows: if it takes five minutes for your unprotected skin to begin turning red when you are in the sun, a sunscreen with SPF 20 will give you 20 times that number of minutes’ protection. So, 5 x 20 = 100 minutes or one hour and 40 minutes. Therefore, if you turn red within five minutes and have applied an SPF 50, you will get 50 times more protection, therefore 5 x 50 = 250 minutes, or four hours and 10 minutes.
According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) there are a lot of myths about protection against the sun.
Myth 1: Sunburn happens only when I am on the beach
Cansa: Most people get sunburnt in the course of their daily activities.
Myth 2: The sun will not affect me when I’m outside and active
Cansa: During sports activities players, officials and spectators can be exposed to excessive levels of UV radiation, which can harm the skin and eyes and cause sunburn and even skin cancer.
Myth 3: My skin is strong and tans easily without burning
Cansa: All skin types can be damaged by excessive exposure to UV dadiation.
Myth 4: I have a dark skin, so I don’t have to protect my skin
Cansa: There is a lower prevalence of skin cancer among members of the population with darker skins. Melanoma ─ a deadly form of skin cancer ─ has, however, a tendency to occur on the palms and even on the soles of the feet.
Myth 5: So, now I have to avoid the sun completely
Cansa: Sunlight is the main source of UV radiation, but you do not have to try and avoid the sun altogether. However, getting too mucg sun between the dangerous hours of the day (10::00 and 15:00) is harmful.
Island Tribe: http://www.islandtribe.co.za/