Why Is Sunscreen Important


Ultraviolet (UV) light can harm your skin even you stay at home and out of the sun. It’s not fake news! Even Mark Zuckerberg wearing sunscreen while surfing in Hawaii, what are you waiting for? Up to 80% of visible signs of aging in the skin were caused by UV. According to The Verge, he said “I’m not going to apologize for wearing too much sunscreen. I think sunscreen is good and I stand behind that.”

What’s UV and why it harms

Ultraviolet (UV) is electromagnetic radiation that presents in the sunlight. Usually, we divided the UV into 3 parts: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Because of UVC can be absorbed by the ozone layer and atmosphere, it hardly reaches to earth, we don’t need to talk about it.

  • UVA is a long-wave light that can’t be absorbed by the ozone layer.
  • UVB is a medium-wave, most of it could be absorbed by the ozone layer.

World Health Organization told us, there’s no doubt that a little sunlight is good for you. UVB in the UV light causes the body to produce vitamin D — essential for life, that you can’t produce by yourself or get it from elsewhere. The human body needs some UV radiation to maintain your vitamin D level.

However, the UV light can harm human health, especially to skin damage.
We all know that if you overexposure to sunlight, you probably will get a sunburn. But it’s not the end, too much UV radiation can harm your eyes, the circadian system, and the immune system. The worst condition is cancer. Also, UV radiation damage collagen fibers and accelerate aging of the skin, it also destroys vitamin A in the skin and causes further damage.

The picture will clearly show you how UVA and UVB cause harm to the skin.

One thing you need to know is 90% of the UV light is UVA. UVB stimulates the body to produce more melanin, while UVA gives tan to your skin by oxidizing melanin. Also, UVA penetrates into the deeper skin layer and affects connective tissue and blood vessels that result in skin lose elasticity and wrinkles. What’s more, UVA can cause cumulative damage to your skin.
The largest amount of UVB wave is in July and August, and it will drop sharply in winter. But UVA waves are strong from April to September, they only drop to half in winter. In other words, UVA waves are strong all year round. So you need to protect your skin 365 days.
That’s why there’s a saying:

Protect your skin from the sun is a lifetime work

The suggestion from the World Health Organization is “5 to 15 minutes of casual sun exposure of hands, face, and arms two to three times a week during the summer months is sufficient to keep your vitamin D levels high”.

Why stay indoors is not enough

You may wonder why stay at home is not enough? We’ve already out of the sunlight. Yes, it’s a lot better than walking under the UV light no matter its sunshine or rain. It’s because the UVA can penetrate clouds, glass into indoors and cars to affect your skin. What’s more, dust scattering in the air, ground, surface reflection will make you nowhere to escape. So if you’re sitting near the window without closing the curtains, the UVA can still reach your skin and cause harm. And don’t forget UVA can accumulate damage to your skin.
I would suggest you sit far away from the window when you stay indoors, don’t expose yourself to direct sunlight.

Note: if you’re around the waterside, snowy places, the UV reflection could double than the land.
Don’t lose alarm in the rainy or cloudy day, the long-wave UVA can easily penetrate the clouds and reach to your bare skin.

So what should you do? Is wearing sunscreen the only choice? Of course not.

How to protect your skin from UV rays

I believe many people love sunny days and enjoy sunlight, UV rays should not be the reason keeping us from sunlight. Here’s the suggestion from FDA: Americans should continue to use sunscreen and other sun protection measures as this important rule-making effort moves forward.

The following tips will help you when you’re outdoors.

  • Wear long-sleeved clothes
  • Wear long pants
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Apply sunscreen

The skin around the eyes is weaker than the other parts, the muscle movements in this area are more frequent. So this part is more susceptible to UV damage. Well, sunscreen is not the only choice, sunglasses can do the job.

By wearing sunblock clothes and apply sunscreen, you’re safe from UV light.

Is sunscreen safe?

You might wonder, is sunscreen safe? Some people fear that sunscreen may damage your skin.

There’re two kinds of sunscreens, one uses Titanium dioxide and one uses Zinc oxide as main material.
FDA has proposed that Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide are “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRASE). You may read an article saying FAD is calling for more safety data on the other ingredients This doesn’t mean those ingredients are unsafe, FDA wants to know whether they can be classified as GRASE.
So if you’re worried about which sunscreen to choose, you can check its ingredients, if the product contains Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide, you don’t need to worry about its safety and effectiveness.

Zuckerberg was probably wearing Zinc oxide sunscreen in the photo. This mineral sunscreen that sits atop the skin to block UV rays is a good choice for sensitive skin people. However, I would suggest Zuckerberg choose ocean-friendly sunscreen instead of traditional sunscreen.

Here I recommend Murad City Skin Age Defense SPF 50 and LA ROCHE POSAY sunscreen when you spend your time on the land.

Murad City Skin Age Defense SPF 50

Ingredient Spotlight: Zinc Oxide & Titanium Oxide

If you want to know more about Murad, you can read this post: Do You Know Murad? Use It for Once, Love It Forever


LA ROCHE POSAY is also a great brand provides safety and effectiveness to sensitive skin.

Why should you use ocean-friendly sunscreen

It’s because the ocean is the biggest part area in the earth, the ocean provides a variety of resources to human beings and its ecosystem is closely related to the world. Reefs as an important part of the ocean ecosystem, scientists have conducted many years investigating how the tons of sunscreen that wash off our bodies into the ocean affect marine life. The result is, chemical sunscreens threaten the entire marine ecosystem.

There are 3 main reasons for not using common sunscreens when you go to the seaside:

  1. Chemical sunscreen can help viruses and bacteria growth
    When these sunscreens washed off into the ocean, the chemical composition of the water will make it a thriving place for viruses and bacteria. Some of the viruses will attack corals and lead to coral bleaching.
  2. Chemical sunscreen ingredients can kill corals and can harm other creatures
    Some of the ingredients in the sunscreen are not safe for corals, these ingredients can bleach or kill corals. Also, these ingredients can do harm to other forms of marine life, fishes are the major species. What’s more, a large quantity of fish was caught and sent to human dining tables, in the end, these harmful ingredients back to the human body and may have potential affection on human health.
  3. Sunscreen pollution threaten local economics
    Sunscreen pollution results in coral bleaching or death. The death of coral result in fewer species of fish and crustaceans which made the diving spots or tourism place unattractive, on the other hand, the fewer fish species means less fishing that will affect local fishing businesses. When people can’t earn money they will finally choose to leave this area.
Image source: Michon Scott & Rebecca Lindsey; Unprecedented 3 years of global coral bleaching, 2014–2017

If you don’t want to bother which formula is ocean-safe, you can buy Avene Ocean Respect sunscreen.

Sport Fluid SPF 50+

Want to get more coupons and deals for sunscreens, please check out our  Coupon Page.

By Iris Zheng

Iris is a writer who covers almost everything from beauty to technology, fitness, home decoration and etc. No matter what she wrote, she always brings true and useful information for readers.

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