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It's summer here in the northern hemisphere which means we're seeing a whole lot more sunscreen.
Every bottle has a big SPF number on it and a lot of us probably assume we know what those numbers mean higher numbers equal more protection, right?
Well yes, but also no. It's a little more complicated.
The thing is, you probably don't need more than SPF 30 or so.
And there are bigger things to worry about like whether you're wearing enough sunscreen to really protect your skin.
SPF stands for sun protection factor.
It's a measure of how much less of the dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun hits your skin with sunscreen on than without it.
Two types of ultraviolet light can reach Earth's surface called UVA and UVB.
They have different energy levels and affect our bodies in slightly different ways.
UVB is the main cause of sunburns and it's directly linked to the development of skin cancers.
And UVA leads to tans which happens when your body makes compounds to stop UVA from damaging too many skin cells.
SPF in the United states is only calculated based on how much UVB gets blocked since we really only knew about UVB's risks when making the standards.
So if you wear SPF 30 the general idea is that your skin absorbs about 30 times less UVB than it would without sunscreen.
Because chemicals absorb or reflect the radiation to block it from getting into your cells.
This roughly translates to SPF 30 blocking 96.7% of UVB.
If you wear SPF 40 your skin absorbs 40 times less because it blocks around 97.5% of UVB.
And even when you get up to SPF 100 that only blocks around to 99% of UVB.
That's not a super huge difference.
So most people get no added benefit from wearing anything above SPF 50.
And SPF 30 is usually plenty.
But that's only true with the right amount of sunscreen.
And people, well we're not very good at wearing it.
For one thing if you remember to wear sunscreen in the first place most of us only wear about a third of what we should.
Not to mention we're pretty sweaty.
Sweat and water makes some sunscreens come off more easily and even the best waterproof stuff still breaks down or rubs off after a couple of hours.
So experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours regardless of its SPF.
But even with the right amount on some of us still don't get all of the protection we need.
Since making those initial SPF standards we've learned that both UVA and UVB radiation can damage DNA and kill skin cells and both are strongly linked to skin aging and cancer.
So to be safe, you should always get a sunscreen with a broad-spectrum SPF which measures both UVA and UVB Blockage.
Basically SPF is important.
But there's a lot more that goes into wearing sunscreen so you can make sure it's actually doing its job.
We're uploading summer themed videos all week.
So make sure to subscribe if you want to learn more weird facts like this.
And if you want to impress your friends with science while you're swimming, check out these awesome new scishow beach towels available at dftba.com/scishow.



イマイチよく掴めない日焼け止めのSPFを徹底解説 (What Does SPF Mean?)

160 タグ追加 保存
Yukiko 2019 年 7 月 26 日 に公開    pas 翻訳    Yukiko チェック
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