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Your beach towel is packed, the bikini body you’ve been working on all winter is ready to go, and your cooler is filled with snacks and beverages – you’re ready for the beach! WAIT – Don’t forget your sunscreen!

During the upcoming hot summer months in Southern California, the importance of sunscreen cannot be stressed enough, as sunscreen helps keep ultraviolet rays – UVA and UVB – from damaging the skin. UVB is responsible for sunburn, while UVA has more long-term unpleasant and damaging effects, like wrinkling and premature aging.

Have you ever wondered what the SPF number on a sunscreen bottle means? It stands for Sun Protection Factor. These SPF ratings start as low as 2 and can reach as high as 70. SPF ratings measure a sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVB rays and the amount of time you can be in the sun before burning. For example, if you burn after ten minutes of sun exposure without any cream, an SPF 15 allows 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 an absolute must during summer months, it’s equally important year-round, especially in sunny Orange County. UV rays can be just as harmful during winter months as they are in the summertime. Even if you work indoors, UVA rays penetrate window glass, which means you are exposed during your drive to work and even at your desk! Don’t forget the importance of sunscreen!

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