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.

The 20 Best States for Singles

monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images
monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images

Being single on Valentine's Day means you don't have to worry about cards, gifts, or date ideas. But if you'd like to do something romantic on February 14, your chances of snagging a date in time may depend on where you live. WalletHub crunched the numbers to create a definitive list of the best states to be single and looking for love in America.

To come up with its rankings, the personal finance site analyzed numerous data points for each state, including the proportion of single adults, nightlife and entertainment opportunities, and economic factors like cost of living. Combined, these qualities paint of picture of where you're most likely to find, afford, and enjoy a date.

Florida secured the number one position with a total score of 69.21 out of 100. Though it comes in 33rd out of the 50 states for economics, it places third for dating opportunities and fourth for romance and fun, earning it the top slot. It's followed by California with a score of 67.41 and Texas with 66.77. You can check out the top 20 states below, and see how all 50 states ranked at WalletHub.

  1. Florida // 69.21
  1. California // 67.41
  1. Texas // 66.77
  1. New York // 65.29
  1. Pennsylvania // 64.61
  1. Ohio // 63.10
  1. Illinois // 62.61
  1. Wisconsin // 61.13
  1. Massachusetts // 59.11
  1. Michigan // 58.56
  1. Arizona // 57.22
  1. New Jersey // 56.71
  1. Georgia // 56.11
  1. Colorado // 56.01
  1. North Carolina // 55.58
  1. Minnesota // 55.42
  1. Virginia // 54.98
  1. Washington // 54.76
  1. Missouri // 54.29
  1. Nevada // 53.64

The world uses Valentine's Day to celebrate romance, but you can take it as an opportunity to embrace singledom in 2020. If that's your plan, here are some vintage tips for living alone to keep in mind.

Keep Your Food and Wine Fresh for Longer With These Vacuum Lids

Equilibric
Equilibric

Despite how carefully you try to store your leftovers, most plastic containers aren't airtight, and oxygen is often the culprit behind why food and wine lose their flavor or spoil so quickly. But Equilibric is looking to solve this issue with their Freshly! vacuum lids, which they say can keep food fresh for five times longer than standard plastic containers.

The company just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Freshly!, which you can back starting at $69. With this pledge, you'll receive three lids of different sizes, a wine seal, and the handheld vacuum used to give your food a proper seal.

The product is easy to use: Simply put the lid on whichever container you wish to seal, attach the vacuum to the air valve, press the button on the vacuum, and your food is ready to store in a matter of seconds. When you’re ready to eat, open the air valve, remove the lid, and enjoy.

When air comes into contact with your food, it can promote the growth of both mold and bacteria. Similarly, when air comes into contact with your open bottle of wine, it can kick off a process called oxidation, which is why your vino can taste flat after it's been opened. But when you use a Freshly! lid, you’re storing your food or drink in "an oxygen-less environment."

The dishwasher-safe lids are universal, so they don’t need to perfectly match the dimensions of the container you are trying to seal. The largest size measures 10 inches in diameter and it's recommended for large salad bowls, pans, and skillets; the medium lid is 7.9 inches in diameter and is best for standard-sized bowls and lunchboxes; and the smallest lid is 5.7 inches in diameter and is recommended for cups.

Vacuum-seal lids for food
Equilibric

According to the campaign, Freshly! lids can keep dishes like cooked chicken fresh for up to 10 days, whereas it only keeps up to five days in regular plastic containers. On average, about 30 to 40 percent of food is thrown out in America, according to the USDA. So, not only will you keep leftovers longer, but the lids can help reduce your annual food waste.

This isn’t Equilibric’s first time making equipment that helps make life in the kitchen easier. They launched a Kickstarter campaign back in March 2019 for the balanced bowl-colander hybrid that helps cooks save time and water.

The campaign has already made more than $70,000, surpassing its original $7000 goal, but you can still help bring this project to life until February 23 by heading here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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