So you’ve had your new custom pool installed and you are ready to splash away the summer in your new pool. Not so fast. Spending time in the sun is not without it’s repercussions, especially in Arizona. It’s a well know fact that long-term exposure to the sun can significantly damage your skin and lead to more serious health problems. Therefor it is essential that you protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen or sunblock. But how do you know which sunblock to use?
First, its important to understand how sunblock works. Sunblock protects your skin by absorbing and/or reflecting UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. Sunblocks are rated by a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number. The higher the number, the stronger the protection.
How long sunblock protects can vary from person to person. One method of determining how effective a sunblock will be is by taking the time it takes for a user to burn and multiplying it by the SPF factor of the sunblock. For example, if it typically takes a user 10 minutes to develop a sunburn without sunscreen, then a SPF of 15 will protect the user for approximately 150 minutes. The general recommendation from the American Association of Dermatology is to use a sunblock with a minimum SPF of 15 , and reapply every two hours.
There are two basic types of sunblocks. Chemical Sunblocks work by absorbing UV radiation energy before it effects the skin. Physical sunblocks work by reflecting harmful UV radiation away from the skin. Some manufacturers combine the two types of sunblock to both absorb and reflect the sun to protect your skin.
Physical sunblocks are typically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. We’ve all probably have seen the image of the lifeguard with the white zinc oxide on their nose. This type of sunblock is very useful for those that have extra sensitive skin and need full protection.
Chemical sunblocks are made up of many different active ingredients. That is because there is no single ingredient that can block the entire UV spectrum. But by combining ingredients that block different regions of the spectrum, sunblock can effectively protect skin from a broad range of UV radiation energy.
Sunblocks come in different forms such as lotion, gels, sprays, and oils. Which application you use is largely personal preference, but some with sensitive skin may develop allergies to certain types of sunblock. It’s recommended to try several different sunblocks to see what works best for you. Note that if you will be spending time in the water, it’s important to use a water-resistant sunblock for best results.