All About Sunscreen: UVB, or how to avoid frying yourself into a crisp

We’re coming up on summer, and while I will always harp on you that you should wear sunscreen every.damn.day, no matter the season or weather; summer is even more crucial. Longer days, higher UV indexes and more time outdoors (with more skin exposed) means it’s time to get serious on sun exposure. Today, I’m starting a multi-part series (how many parts? Who knows?!) on deciphering sunscreen so you know exactly what you’re buying. First on the docket: UVB rays. What they are, and why you care (and yes, you should care).

What the hell are UVB rays?
uvb
See? SPF 50+. Even if you’re ginger AF like me, SPF 100 is useless.

OK, so the sun sends down its ultraviolet, or UV, rays to us here on earth. You can’t see them because their wavelength is shorter than the rays in the visible spectrum (the ROYGBIV!). UV rays are organized into three main groups, UVA with the longest wavelengths, UVB in the middle, and UVC with the shortest wavelengths.

UVC rays are so short the all-powerful ozone layer absorbs them. Yay for the ozone! Yay for us! So we will move onto the middle class of ultraviolets, UVB. UVB rays can be remembered by “B for burning.” These rays hit the surface layers of the skin and, you guessed it, cause sunburns.

UVB Rays: How to Avoid Them

The upside to UVB exposure: the entire SPF system (which is standardized worldwide, hooray!) is set up to inform consumers sunscreen protection levels from these rays. Once blamed for causing not only sunburns but skin cancer, UVB rays are effectively blocked by many different active ingredients, and the results of sunblocks containing these are very transparent to consumers.

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, informs consumers what percentage of UVB rays are blocked (when using an appropriate amount of product).

SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays

SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays

SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays

So you see, the scale is not linear. SPF values above 50 offer almost no additional protection over 50 factor (in fact, in Australia, sunscreen manufacturers are barred from advertising any SPF above 50 to avoid a false sense of security for consumers). If you are shopping for sunscreen in Asia, you will also find manufacturers do not promote more than SPF 50+ on their products as well.

That’s pretty much it on UVB … aka medium length ultraviolet rays that cause burns and penetrate shallower layers of your skin. Very dangerous in the short term. Use an appropriate amount of SPF30 or greater and reapply as directed and you should be able to avoid most of these bad boys. Up next, the most insidious of UV rays, the long and strong UVA rays, or, the component of sunshine that will turn you into Magda and can literally kill you.

The following is an affiliate link. It costs you nothing extra to purchase from it, but may result in a commission for me. 

Japanese Summer Essentials: What You Need to Survive

Have you been to Asia in the summer? Or for many parts of Asia, anytime? The world’s water crisis could be solved if only the Asian humidity levels could be harnessed … all joking aside, the summers here are BRUTAL. Where I live, in a sub-tropical zone, the winters are cool (ok, I’m from Alaska, so it’s hard for me to not describe them as “winters”) and the summers don’t really climb above the low 90s (low 30s in Celsius), but the humidity … holy hell, the humidity. You know how they tell you when you visit Arizona, oh but it’s a dry heat? Yeah. Not in Asia. The air practically sweats here it’s so saturated. Luckily, Japan is always prepared. For (almost) everything. And they have your Japanese summer essentials covered … follow along and see what you need to not just survive but thrive in the Asian sweatbox this summer. Continue reading “Japanese Summer Essentials: What You Need to Survive”

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask: Mini Review

This may be a bit of a reheat, as according to Innisfree it’s their #3 seller, but Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask is a winner-winner-chicken-dinner. Sorry to cut to the chase there, but that’s what you’re here for, right? Here’s why: Continue reading “Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask: Mini Review”

Cream Blush: Why It Should Be Your New BFF

My favorite beauty You Tuber, Lisa Eldridge, posted a new video last week with a makeup tutorial on a luminous, glow-from-within blush technique requested by her audience. (The video also had genius guidance on how to conceal a pimple that’s sprouted up in the middle of your cheek when wearing blush that’s super helpful.) This video inspired me to dig into my gel and cream blush stash, as well as my liquid highlighters. It’s an especially good time to be looking at cream blush with summer well on its way (and that Sephora sale looming). Continue reading “Cream Blush: Why It Should Be Your New BFF”

elf FREE shipping on ANY size order!

**this elf free shipping post may contain affiliate links, which provide a commission to me but don’t cost you anything.**

Super inexpensive elf Cosmetics has FREE shipping right now on ANY size order!

FREE shipping on all orders! Use code FREESHIP, combinable with code AQUA. Valid 4/17-4/18.

My favorite things from elf are their makeup brushes; they are a much better quality than the price suggests. And during elf free shipping, you can get just one or two and not have to worry about paying as much in freight as you do in brushes.

elf free shipping
My favorite (and well used) e.l.f. kabuki brush

Their eye primer is good too, pretty similar to the Urban Decay ones.

**NOTE: If you are shipping to an APO/FPO address, elf ships via slooooow boat. You won’t get your shit for 6-8 weeks. If you’re in a rush, you might need to mail to family and have them forward the package to you.**

What’s your favorite thing from elf Cosmetics?