Sunscreen- It’s Need And How To Chose The One

Sunscreen, sunblock, and Sun creams are very commonly heard terms when we stumble upon a skincare video by a beauty influencer or a celebrity sharing their beauty regime on youtube, Instagram or tik tok? 

It’s one of the products which I am sure as hell is used in all of those videos meant to be guiding you without fail. Whether it’s a 5 step skincare routine or 20, sunscreens are a must. But what sunscreens are and why do we need them? What are SPF and how to choose the right amount of SPF for you? Why does the dermatologist keep urging you more and more to use sun protection?

Here in this article, you will get your all answer without a miss and we hope that you will be able to select the right kind of sunscreen for you after reading this.

Sunscreens, in short, are products formulated to provide protection against the harmful UV radiations of the sun either by absorbing or reflecting some of the UV rays on the exposure area of the skin. They are available in the forms such as cream, lotions, sticks and gels. They are applied to the tropical layer of the skin. 

Why Do We Need Sunscreens?

UV rays are notoriously known for harming the skin. From early ageing, sunburns to skin cancer, UV rays have repeatedly proved how bad they could be. There are excellent studies that sunscreen protects against all three of the most common skin cancers. There are two types of UV rays- UVA rays and UVB rays that you need protection from. UVA is a longer wavelength and typically is the cause of skin ageing whereas UVB has a shorter wavelength and is responsible for skin cancer.

UV exposure is highest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

UVA have a low energy level but is more penetrating than UVB, henceforth causing damage to the deeper cells whereas UVB rays have a high energy level and affect the tropical layer of the skin. UVB causes direct damage to DNA. Thus UV rays should be avoided at all costs however we do understand you can’t stay locked up inside the house when Sun is out. Our body requires some amount of sunlight as well. The ozone layer provides protection from UV rays. But greenhouse gases and pollutants have caused the ozone layer to thin, increasing UV intensity.

Understanding Sunscreen Terminology

1. SPF

SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor which protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB radiation of the Sun by enhancing your body’s natural defence against these laymen’s language, it is a measure of how long it would take your skin to burn. As the SPF value increases, sunburn protection increases. It is recommended to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreens with SPFs greater than 50 provide only a small increase in UV protection. 

All sunscreens are tested to measure the amount of UV radiation exposure it takes to cause sunburn when using a sunscreen compared to how much UV exposure it takes to cause a sunburn when not using sunscreen. 

2. Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Not all sunscreens are broad-spectrum, so it is important to look for them on the label. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are two types of UV radiation that you need to protect yourself from – UVA and UVB. Broad-spectrum provides protection against both by providing a chemical barrier that absorbs or reflects UV radiation before it can damage the skin.

3. Water-resistant Sunscreen

Typically sunscreens aren’t water-resistant. All of them eventually wash off. The term water-resistant means that the SPF is maintained for up to 40 minutes in water. Very water-resistant means the SPF is maintained for 80 minutes in water. Sunscreens labelled “water-resistant” are required to be tested according to the required SPF test procedure. The labels are required to state whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating, and all sunscreens must provide directions on when to reapply.

4. Physical and Chemical Sunscreen

Depending on the ingredients used in sunscreen, they are categorized as physical or chemical sunscreen. Mineral (or physical) sunscreen works by using natural minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to reflect the sun’s rays from your skin. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens use chemical compounds like bemotrizinol, avobenzone and biscotizole—all of which provide broad-spectrum protection.

How To Choose The Right Sunscreen

  1. Choose Sunscreen with a broad spectrum that can block both UVA and UVB rays.

2. To get the most protection out of sunscreen, choose one with an SPF of at least 15. If your skin is fair, you may want a higher SPF of 30 to 50.

3. Use a water-resistant sunscreen.

4. It is always a good habit to buy your cosmetic product according to your skin type. In the case of sunscreen, oil-based sunscreens are more suitable for dry skin as they hydrate your skin. If your skin is oily or if you are prone to acne, it is better to use a water-based or gel-based sunscreen, as creams are oil-based and can aggravate breakouts.

5. PABA- PABA stands for para-aminobenzoic acid and is widely used in sunscreen and other cosmetic products. Even though it helps absorb the sun’s UV rays, the likely skin allergies, skin irritation and even pigmentation (in some cases) from it are not worth it. You should prefer PABA free products.

How to Apply Sunscreen?

  • Sunscreen should be a part of your everyday skincare routine in order to protect your skin from damage whether you are going out or not.
  • Take an ample amount of sunscreen. Don’t be a miser while using it. The best way to understand how much sunscreen is enough is by taking the product enough to the length of your index and middle finger.
  • Always apply it under your makeup—either with a protective moisturizer or after your moisturizer. It should be applied evenly in a form of a thick layer. 
  • Sunscreens work the best if applied 15-20 minutes prior to stepping out. This allows sunscreens enough time to get absorbed into the skin and gives maximum benefits.
  • Apply and massage it well on your face and don’t forget your neck. Any exposed part of your body should be well covered with sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied in an interval of 2-3 hours if you are outdoors and during the peak hours of the day. More often if you are sweaty or swimming.

Our Final Thoughts

Using sunscreen every day is non-negotiable. Even if it’s a cloudy day, you should not forget sunscreen from your skincare routine. In fact, if you are not going outdoors, keeping sunscreen in your skincare routine is a good practice. But having said that, no sunscreen is 100% efficient. it’s important to plan your clothing, hats and other barriers carefully. 

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