Why An SPF Is So Important: How To Protect Your Skin All Year Long

You've got your beach towel, the bikini body you've worked for all winter, and a cooler filled with snacks - you're ready for the beach! But hold up! Did you remember your sunscreen?

During the summer months, the importance of sunscreen cannot be understated, as it helps keep ultraviolet rays - UVA and UVB - from damaging the skin. UVB is responsible for sunburn, while UVA has more long-term damaging effects, like wrinkling and premature aging.

If you've ever wondered what the SPF number on your sunscreen bottle means, it stands for Sun Protection Factor. These SPF ratings start at 2 and can reach as high as 70. They measure a sunscreen's effect against UVB rays and the amount of time you can be in the sun before burning. If, for example, you burn after ten minutes of sun exposure without any cream, an SPF of 15 will allow you to stay in the sun for up to 150 minutes without burning. So, the higher the SPF number, the more sunburn protection the cream provides.

Skin damage from sunlight builds up with continued exposure, regardless of whether or not sunburn occurs. According to the Melanoma Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point during their lifetime, which makes this the second most common cancer for women in their twenties.

And while SPF is indispensable during the summer, it's equally important year-round. UV rays are just as harmful during the winter as they are in the summertime. If you spend days working indoors, know that UVA rays can penetrate window glass, which means you are exposed during your drive to work and even at your desk, if your office is filled with natural light. And though you might not think it, UV rays are especially harmful on snowy days, since the rays - and potential skin damage from the sun - are multiplied by the reflective nature of the snow.

Sunscreen plays an important role in a total program to reduce skin damage from the sun, which includes limiting the amount of time spent outdoors. If you're looking for everyday UV protection, take a peek at Clarins' UV PLUS Anti-Pollution Broad Spectrum SPF 50. Using a 100 percent mineral filter, UV Plus fights the elements, free radicals, and DNA damage deep within the skin's surface.

Clarins Flash Tip
The sun's rays are strongest from 10AM to 4PM, especially during the late spring and summer, so don't go out without proper protection.

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