As much as we love lying on the freshly cut grass on a sunny day, we cannot completely ignore the harsh sun rays that gradually and eventually tarnish our skin and attacks its health, making us look 40 at the age of 30. But, we can avoid this situation by using the right sunscreen. Read on to know the benefits of a good sunscreen and to know the best type for you.
What Is A Sunscreen?
Sunscreen is made of a combination of ingredients that helps in preventing the ultraviolet radiation of the sun from reaching your skin. These radiations are of two types – UVA and UVB; and are capable of damaging the skin and increasing the risk of skin cancer. These radiations also age your skin prematurely.
Although sunburn is primarily caused due to UVB radiation, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, which causes the skin to develop wrinkles and a leathery texture along with sagging and other effects of photoaging.
Top Benefits Of Applying Sunscreen
- Shields From Harmful UV Rays – It is textbook knowledge that the ozone layer has been continuously depleting, and exposing us to a higher risk of being affected by the harmful rays of the sun. While you do need your daily dose of vitamin D, but not on the cost of harming your skin, which is why it is important that you apply sunscreen to block these harmful rays.
- Prevents Premature Aging – We don’t want to look older than we already are, which is why we have so many anti-ageing products in the market. But, you can help your skin by using your sunscreen daily and helping it fight and stop skin damage caused by the sun. We all want to flaunt a younger-looking, radiant, and healthy skin – this is one of the most convincing reasons to start applying sunscreen.
- Lowers Skin Cancer Risks – Sun rays expose you to all kinds of skin damage, skin cancer being one of them. Wearing your sunscreen daily helps in shielding your skin from the risk of various types of skin cancer, especially melanoma.
- Lowers Blotchiness On Face – Generously apply sunscreen on your skin to avoid sun rays induced damages, such as blotchiness, irritation, and the eruption of red veins.
- Prevents Sunburns – Too much exposure to the sun results in sunburn, which weakens your skin and makes it more susceptible to bruises. Use sunscreen to avoid peeling, swelling, redness, hives, and itching, which comes from the influence of UVB rays.
- Prevents Tanning – Tan looks pretty and is healthy too, however, you should know that while you are sunbathing, you are exposing your skin to harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun – wear a sunscreen at all times by all means.
- Enhances Health Of The Skin – Essentials of a healthy skin, such as collagen, keratin, and elastin are all conserved by sunscreen.
- A Good Cosmetic Option – With so many chemical compositions available in the market today, you are lucky to have a sunscreen that doubles up as a moisturizer. One bottle of cream for your needs!
How To Apply Sunscreen?
- Choose a sunscreen with a higher SPF (SPF 30 or more), which has a broad-spectrum coverage and is water resistant.
- Apply sunscreen generously on your skin before you head out. It takes fifteen minutes for the cream to absorb into the skin, so thoroughly rub the sunscreen onto your skin and wait for your body to absorb it.
- Use at least one ounce of sunscreen, which is almost as much as your palm can hold, and fully cover your body.
- Ensure that you apply it to all the bare areas like the neck, face, ears, tops of your feet, and legs while not skipping the hard‐to‐reach areas like your back. Do not forget your lips, and invest in a good lip balm that is rich in SPF 15 to protect your lips from the sun.
- You will have to reapply the sunscreen after at least every three hours, if you are still going to be out in the sun. Reapplication of sunscreen will be all the more necessary after activities that make you sweat a lot, for example, swimming and running.
Sunscreen SPF 30 Vs 50
SPF is the Sun Protection Factor in your sunscreen, which signifies the absorption and reflection capabilities of the cream for the sun rays so that they don’t burn or damage your skin. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, here is why – Sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher does an effective job in protecting the skin against UVB SPF, hence preventing skin damage. Here is the differentiation – SPF 15 is capable of filtering almost 93% of incoming UVB rays, while SPF 30 keeps 97% of UVB rays at bay and SPF 50 keep 98% of these rays away. It may be a very small difference, but if your skin is light sensitive, then even a little difference in the percentage can drastically affect the skin.
Is There Any Side Effect Of Sunscreen?
- Allergic Reactions – It is important to choose your sunscreen based on your skin type as a sunscreen is also just another chemical and is capable of causing skin irritation, such as redness, swelling, and itching. It is very rare, but some people do develop severe allergic reactions to certain sunscreens.
- Sunscreens Can Make Acne Worse – Some types of sunscreen may not suit people with acne, as the chemicals may end up aggravating the skin condition. In such scenarios, use a non-oily, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic sunscreen.
- Eye Irritation – If you accidentally get sunscreen in the eye it leads to burning and temporary sensitivity to light added to the pain and irritation. It is important to rinse your eye thoroughly in such cases.
- Increases The Risk Of Breast Cancer – The chemical composition of sunscreen includes elements that may have estrogenic effect on breast cancer cells, hence opening up to the possibility of breast cancer.
- Pain In Hairy Areas – The market is full of different kinds of sunscreens – gels, lotions, sprays, creams, etc. The gel kind works best for hairy areas, as some sunscreens can dry the skin and can cause pain in such areas.
- Pus In The Hair Follicles – Sunscreens can clog hair follicles and result in itchy spots on the skin that appear like a bumpy, red rash. Occasionally, these turn into pus-filled blisters as well.
How To Chose Your Sunscreen?
1. Know Your Skin Condition
- Acne – For an acne prone skin, it is essential to understand the skin condition before deciding on the type of sunscreen, as the sunscreen may further clog the pores. And, the chemicals present in the sunscreen may also aggravate the current condition. Thus, it is important to choose a non-oily and non-greasy sunscreen.
- Oily Skin – The benefit of oily skin is that the skin produces enough oil to keep itself hydrated. But excessive production of oil by the sebaceous glands can lead to acne and other skin conditions, which why you should choose a water-based and non-oily sunscreen.
- Dry Skin And Sensitive Skin – Dry skin is parched and demands more moisture and hydration, and it often appears flaky. The skin lacks essential natural oils and tends to lose its water after every wash, which is why the sunscreen for a dry and sensitive skin should be rich in alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like lactic acid and glycolic acid to restore the damaged cells in our skin. Additionally, it should contain essential oils to help in keeping the skin hydrated.
2. Your Gender
Men’s skin is known to have a higher density of collagen when in comparison to women, which is why aging for men is also slower than women. Thus, the sunscreen required for men need not be of a higher SPF. But their skin is thick and rough when compared to women, which is why men need sunscreen that is highly absorbent. Fortunately or unfortunately, men don’t require to do much to take care of their skin as much as women have to.
3. Types Of Sunscreen Available
There are a lot of options available in the market for sunscreens in various consistencies and formulations such as creams, body lotions, oil-free gels, wax sticks, and sunblock sprays.
- People with dry skin should use creams. Also, creams are best suited for use on the face.
- Gels are effective in hairy areas and are mostly used for the scalp or male chest.
- Sticks can be efficiently used around the eyes.
- Sprays are easy to apply and are often used by parents on their children, because of the ease of usage.
Some sunscreen products come in combination with moisturizers and other cosmetic products and are capable of doing dual work. And, though these products may seem convenient, it is always important to understand your skin type before you choose your sunscreen type
FAQs On Sunscreen
- Do You Need Sunscreen In The Summer?
It is important to apply sunscreen by all means in all weathers, especially in summers as the exposure to sun is the most during this season. People tend to ignore using sunscreen in winter, which is a bad idea as you cannot feel the sun rays all that much, but the damage caused is pretty much the same.
- Can We Apply Sunscreen After Moisturizer?
There are a lot of creams that are available in the market, which combine both sunscreen and moisturizer, therefore providing one solution for both.
- Can I Use Sunscreen While Pregnant?
Sunscreens usually contain oxybenzone, an ingredient that is not recommended for a pregnant woman. Opt for one that is specially formulated for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- How Long Does Sunscreen Last Once Applied?
You will have to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours as its effect wears off after this period.
We often forget that while nature is beautiful, it has its profound affect on our skin too. We need our dose of vitamin D from the sun, but we need protection from the harmful UV rays too. It is an absolute necessity to invest in a good sunscreen, considering the global warming problems are not going to be resolved any time in the future. Hence, the golden rule is to apply sunscreen, in all weather conditions, at all times, by all means.