9 Terms You See on Sunscreen Bottles, Defined

iStock
iStock

Long days and strong rays mean it's time to upgrade your basic daily sunscreen habit to a full-on slather. We all know that using sunscreen helps to prevent sunburns and skin damage, but we're stumped when it comes to the gibberish slew of letters and numbers on the label. Read on to learn what nine common sunscreen terms mean.

1. SPF: SUN PROTECTION FACTOR

SPF tells you how much much UVB light (more on this in a bit) is filtered out, so it’s often used as a proxy for how long you can stay in the sun without doing damage (to an extent). But the FDA cautions that SPF shouldn’t be thought of in that way, as there are so many variables that go into solar radiation. Instead, they suggest using SPF as a comparison: A higher SPF provides more protection than a lower SPF. According to Jeremy A. Brauer, a board certified Manhattan dermatologist, “SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent.” Keep in mind that no sunscreen can block 100 percent of UVB rays.

2. UVA: ULTRAVIOLET A

UVA radiation is one type of light that causes skin aging and skin cancer. According to Adam Friedman, Associate Professor of Dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, UVA light "does not burn, but is sneaky and penetrates deeper than UVB, accelerating the aging of your skin and causing skin cancer." UVA rays also contribute the most to our UV exposure.

3. UVB: ULTRAVIOLET B

UVB light causes sunburns and is more intense than UVA. These rays contribute less to our overall UV exposure than UVA rays do, but have serious, immediate effects on the topmost layers of skin.

4. BROAD SPECTRUM UVA/UVB

The term broad spectrum means that the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB light—all sunscreens block UVB (temporarily), but some let UVA slip though. It’s one of the most important markers to look for because both types of light can cause skin cancer.

5. PHYSICAL/MINERAL SUNSCREEN

Sunscreen formulas can be physical, chemical, or a combination of both. Physical sunscreens act as a literal barrier: They block the light from reaching your skin, reflecting the UV radiation outwards.

6. CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN

A chemical sunscreen works in a different way: It absorbs, rather than blocks, the light. When the radiation is absorbed by the sunscreen, it’s converted to heat that is then released by your skin. Friedman says that the problem with chemical sunscreen is “each time they do their thing, a percentage of the filter stops working. So ultimately over time, it can't change that UV energy into harmless warmth.”

7. WATER RESISTANT

You’ll never see an FDA-approved sunscreen that is "waterproof," or sweatproof for that matter. Instead, the FDA requires the label to note how long the product can last in water. You’ll see this on the bottle written as “water resistant, 40 minutes,” for example. This means that after 40 minutes of wear, the sunscreen will need to be reapplied because it won’t work as well—even if you haven't been in the water.

8. SPORT

The FDA doesn’t regulate the use of words like “sport” when it comes to sunscreen. This is a marketing term used to make the product more appealing to active people. If you're interested in a sunscreen with staying power, pay more attention to the SPF and water resistance.

9. PA+ RATING

If you pick up a bottle of sunscreen while on vacation or order it online, you might be confronted with "PA" followed by some plus signs instead of the familiar SPF. The PA rating system, common in Japan and South Korea, tells you how well the sunscreen protects from UVA rays, instead of UVB. The more plus signs that follow PA, the better. PA ++++ offers the most UVA protection, PA + the least.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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Turn Your Couch or Bed Into an Office With This Comfortable Lap Desk

LapGear
LapGear

If you're not working in an office right now, you'll understand the freedom of taking a Zoom meeting from your back porch, jotting down notes from your bed, and filling out spreadsheets from your sofa. But working from home isn't always as comfortable as everyone thinks it is, especially if you're trying to get through the day while balancing a notebook, computer, and stationery on your lap. To give you the space you need while maintaining your well-earned place on the couch, LapGear has the perfect solution to your problems with their lap desk, which you can find on Amazon for $35.

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With more than 6000 reviews and a 4.8-star rating on Amazon, the lap desk can fit laptops and tablets up to 15.6 inches across and includes an integrated 5-inch-by-9-inch mouse pad and cell phone slot for better organization. There's even a ledge built into the desk to help keep your device from sliding when you're at an angle.

For some added comfort, the bottom of the desk is designed with dual-bolster cushions, so you'll never have to feel a hot laptop on your thighs again. The top surface is available in various colors like white marble ($30), silver carbon ($35), and oak woodgrain ($35) to work with your design aesthetic.

Find out more about LapGear’s lap desk here on Amazon.

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