As pointed out by a recent study, most people don’t understand sunscreen labels and are therefore insufficiently protected.
It is considered to be common knowledge that people should wear sunscreen during the months where the sun is the strongest so that they may be protected from small, but bothersome issues like sunburns, but also life-threatening diseases like skin cancer.
Considering that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it becomes apparent that maybe the importance of sunscreen has not exactly sunk in for many people out there.Furthermore, if you look at people who are trying to find the right sunscreen product, you will see them looking for literally everything else than SPF levels and the UV spectrum protection.
And in order to understand why this happens, a group of researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine decided to run a survey, so that they could see just how well people can understand the labels on the sunscreen bottles.
Only 114 people answered the questions in the survey, but the results were actually in line with the researchers’ expectations. It appears that 49% of the paricipants did not know the meaning of the acronym SPF. Everybody knew that it had something to do with the protection level it offers, in the sense that the higher the SPF level, the better the product, but it seems that the did not see the need to go into details.
SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor” and it actually is one of the decisive factors involved in choosing a type of sunscreen over another because it shows the level of protection that the product is able to convey for type B ultraviolet rays (UVB).
“An SPF of 30 will filter about 97 percent of UVB rays. An SPF of 50 will filter about 98 percent of UVB rays,” said the senior researcher of the study, Dr. Roopal Kundu.
To the surprise of 71% of the people who participated in the survey, there is another type of ultraviolet rays that are also associated with a high cancer risk. These are the type A ultraviolet rays (UVA).
While UVB’s are the sun rays that cause sunburns, UVA’s have a significant role in photoaging, which happens when the sun makes the skin look older and rougher. Both types of sun rays are associated with the risk for skin cancer though, so it is of the utmost important that the sunscreen offers a broad spectrum UV protection, whether the reason that a person has for buying sunscreen is to stay clear of sunburns or to preserve the healthy young appearance of the skin.
The Northwestern survey has revealed that it is extremely important that an awareness campaign that informs people of the importance o choosing the correct sunscreen product for their needs be conducted as soon as possible.
It is only by using the correct products in the proper manner that people will be able to keep themselves protected from the dangers that come along with the exposure to the sun.
Image Source: famalert.com