Sunscreen the Saviour
Sunscreen is considered the saviour of skin because this sunblock or suntan lotion prevents the skin from direct exposure to the sun.
The science behind sunscreen involves absorbing and blocking UV rays by combining physical and chemical particles. Physical particles reflect UV radiation from the skin, while complex chemical ingredients react with radiation before entering the skin. They absorb the rays and release the energy as heat.
Sun Protection Factor(SPF):
SPF helps to measure the level of protection given by a product from UVB rays. UVA and UVB rays have different functionality where UVA rays seep into the skin, reaching its dermal layers, while UVB rays damage the epidermis (outer layers of the skin).
Studies suggest that no sunscreen can absorb 100% of the sun’s UVB rays, and the highest can be 98% which is usually SPF50.
Types of SPF:
Physical of mineral SPF:
- They act as physical blockers by sitting on top of the skin’s surface by blocking and scattering UV rays at the surface level.
- They are suggested for acne-prone skin and not suitable for makeup. The advantage of physical SPF is they don’t clog pores.
- As it stays on the skin’s surface, it may leave a white cast and can be easily washed away. So, frequent reapplication may be a necessity.
- The main ingredients in physical SPF are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Chemical SPF :
- The chemical SPF’s are vice versa. They are absorbed into deeper layers of skin.
- Chemical SPF absorbs UV rays converting them into heat and release the heat from the skin.
- They are less greasy and good before makeup application.
- They appear thin and don’t look greasy.
- Active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate.
SPF 15, 30, or SPF 50?
If you want to know which SPF number to choose for your skin, then below is the percentage of UVB rays being blocked by various SPF values.
SPF 15 – 93% of UVB rays,
SPF 30 – 97% of UVB rays
SPF 50 – 98% of UVB rays.
- Consider using sunscreen depending upon your exposure. Be it gel, cream, or lotion, try to apply a thick coat of Sunscreen covering all areas which will be exposed to the sun directly, like your face, neck, and hands.
- Dot the sunscreen on your face and gently rub and apply to help the skin in absorbing. If your skin looks oily or greasy, try dabbing compact powder giving a matt finish to your look.
- It is suggested by dermatologists to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out. People who go swimming or sweat excessively should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before the activity and reapply immediately after completing the activity.
It is suggested to choose a sunscreen gel rather than a cream or lotion because if the sunscreen is too sticky and oily, it may clog pores and results in blackheads for oily skin.
People with dry skin can opt for a cream or lotion-based SPF. So, choosing an SPF lotion or cream with high moisturization can be an add-on for dry skin people.
Either a gel-based or cream-lotion fits good for Combination skin. Based on their daily routine and sun exposure, they can choose the SPF lotion or gel.
What is the minimum SPF recommended?
The minimum SPF recommended is SPF 15 to protect against skin cancer and sunburn. Depending on your daily activities and skin type, you can choose SPF 30 or SPF 50
How many hours does your sunscreen stay active?
Any SPF will be fully effective only for two hours after applying. So, it is suggested to carry your sunscreen and reapply every 2hrs.
Should you use sunscreen indoors?
UVA rays can penetrate through glass windows affecting your skin. So, try not to avoid sunscreen indoors.
What is the best time to apply sunscreen?
It is suggested to apply sunscreen every time you get exposed to the sun. However, 10 am, and 2 pm are Peak hours of the sun when the sun’s rays are the strongest. So, try to make sure you don’t get exposed directly.