Now you aren’t new to this word. Chances are that you have heard about sunscreen a million times, and yet, you believe that your skin does not need it as you do not go out much during summers, and hence, there is no question of sun damage. And even if you are the type who is on the field most of the times, yet, you may think of sunscreen as just any other fad.
Now is the time for a reality check. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that, regardless of skin type, a sunscreen that protects against UV(A) and UV(B) rays, is water-resistant with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, should be used throughout the year. It also confirms that each one of us needs to apply sunscreen, no matter what our skin type and no matter what out daily schedule is.
In very simple words, a sunscreen is something that screens your skin from the rays of the sun when your skin is over exposed to it. If you are constantly exposed to the sun, there are chances not only of your skin getting tanned, but also of your skin suffering from sun damage including development of skin cancer.
The bad rays and their effects
The two types of harmful rays of the sun, Ultraviolet A rays and Ultraviolet B rays, penetrate deeper into the thickest layer of the skin and can cause various skin problems. UV(A) rays can reduce the immune system's ability to protect you against the development of skin cancer and enhances the signs of premature aging of the skin, giving rise to wrinkles and age spots. The UV(B) rays are the primary cause of sunburn. Excessive exposure to both forms of UV rays can lead to the development of skin cancer.
Not limited to skin tone
The benefits of usage of a sunscreen are not limited to those blessed with a fair skin tone. No matter what your skin type, dark, wheatish or fair, you have good chance of suffering sunburn if you leave your skin without a sunscreen for long.
Not limited to age
The use of sunscreen is independent of your age. What matters is not the age, but the levels of sun exposure. For someone who is 40, and for someone who is 20, if the level of sun exposure remains the same, then the need for a sunscreen also remains the same.
Not limited to the time of the year
Don't reserve the use of sunscreen only for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun's rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun's rays. This proves, that the use of a sunscreen on your body, is independent of what the weather outside is like. Apply it everyday.
What exactly is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays.
The best way is to
- Wear a sunscreen with SPF 15
- Buycosmetic products that already contain sunscreen
- Wear a sunscreen daily, so as to benefit from a beautiful, healthy skin.
How do you choose your sunscreen?
Ideally, sunscreens should be water-resistant, so that they cannot be easily removed by sweating or swimming, and should have an SPF of 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage against both UV(A) and UV(B) light. Ingredients to look for, on the sunscreen label to ensure broad-spectrum UV coverage include: Avobenzone, Cinoxate, Octyl salicylate, Oxybenzone, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide among others. Remember, that whichever SPF number you choose (SPF 15, SPF 30 etc), no sunscreen can provide 100 percent protection against the harmful rays.
The right way to apply
Sunscreens should be applied on dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before venturing outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it over all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands, and arms. Coat the skin liberally and rub it in thoroughly — don't forget that lips get sunburned too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Sunscreens should be reapplied at least every two hours and also after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called "water-resistant" sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after you have been 40 minutes in the water. If you've towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.
So, the next time you go into the sun, don't forget to dab on some sunscreen onto your body!