A popular song begins by saying “If I could give you just one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it”
In the past few years so much has been said about the benefits of sunscreen that it is an indispensable part of most aware people’s basic skin care regime. So much has been said about sunscreens, yet, there are questions galore and here are the answers to all of them.
Even brief periods of exposure to the u.v. rays of the sun can add up to significant skin damage over a period of time. UV rays rob the radiance of the skin by causing tanning, pigmentation, sun burn, wrinkles and can even cause skin cancers. Suncreen when used correctly can offer upto 95% protection from sun damage.
What Should I look for on the label ?
It is important to go for a broad spectrum sunscreen that gives protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
The most effective ingredients are Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, meroxyl, oxybenzene or avobenzene (parsol 1789). Look for atleast one of these in the ingredient list for maximum protection.
What is the right way to apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be applied liberally on all the sun exposed parts 20 mins before sun exposure. A teaspoon of sunscreen will be required for face and neck and half a cup for entire body. Reapply every 4 hours if outdoors. Apply immediately after swimming, sports or washing.
Do I need an additional moisturizer?
Most sunscreens have moisturizing properties so an additional moisturizer may not be required unless you have very dry skin or there is extremely cold climate. The moisturizing properties are even more effective if sunscreen is chosen according to skin type. A healthy habit is to use a moisturizer according to your skin type at night.
Do I have to choose the sunscreen according to skin type?
It is the best thing to choose sunscreen according to skin type to prevent looking too oily, cakey or causing any breakouts. Many companies offer sunscreens for normal to dry and normal to oily skin types. There are waterproof variants that may be used during swimming or sports.
Does sunscreen offer me adequate protection?
Even a very effective sunscreen correctly applied will give you maximum of only 95% protection from the sun. Try to avoid sun exposure by staying indoors from 10am to 4 pm. Wear protective clothing. Sunglasses, hats, umbrellas, etc make a big difference.
Do my lips need sunscreen?
Sun can cause drying and darkening of the lips. Sunscreen can be used on the lips. An easier option is to choose the lipstick of lipbalm that offers sun protection.
Is there a difference between a sun block and a sunscreen?
Sun block is a physical block to protect from the sun by reflecting back or scattering rays whereas sunscreen protects from uv rays by filtering them or absorbing them by chemical action. Sun block can be more effective than sunscreen but tends to look cakey or chalky. Also oily skin and acne worsen with sun blocks. Sun block is used by sports persons and athletes or when people are on a picnic when they are exposed to sun for long.
What is spf (Sun protection factor)?
Spf is the laboratory measure of effectiveness of the sunscreen. The higher the spf the more protection it offers against UVB rays. Spf does not measure protection against UVA rays which are the ones causing tanning and ageing. An spf between 15 to 30 is found to be effective for Indian skin types.
So Sunscreen is one of the few things that seem to have only benefits and no flip sides. Of course there are people who say but beauty is only skin deep for which an American playwright has said “what do you want then-adorable pancreas!!!!”