Why do we need Sunscreen?
Sunscreens are cosmetic products that protect your skin from the suns UV rays. A lot of research has been done on the effects of these rays on our skin. The sun emits several different types of rays, including light rays, UV rays, infrared rays and X-rays. The UV rays are known to cause damage to our skin. There are 3 types of known UV rays, UVA which cause wrinkling and aging of the skin such as pigmentation and sun spots, UVB rays which burn your skin and cause tanning and UVC rays effects of which are yet unknown. So we need to use Sunscreen to protect ourselves from the known and unknown effects of the UV rays.
What is in Sunscreen?
I’m sure you have heard the word SPF thrown around whenever someone talks about Sunscreens. But, what exactly is SPF? SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor, this is a numeric value used to rate Sunscreens. Basically, 1 SPF = 15 mins of Protection from the Sun. But, SPF is only used to denote protection from UVB rays.
To protect yourself from UVA rays it is necesssary that you use a broad spectrum or a multi-spectrum sunscreen. There is no international standard for quantifying UVA protection, Japan uses a PA system, whereas, Europe uses a star rating system.
It is important to look for Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide on your sunscreen’s ingredient list. These two ingredients are physical blocks that provide the best protection without reacting with your skin, making them hypoallergenic.
Whereas, chemical action ingredients such as Mexoryl,octo-methoxy cinnamate, sulphonic acid etc. only mitigate the effects of the UV rays and are known to cause allergic reactions on skin. They are also know to be endocrine disruptors, hence are being replaced by other ingredients.
How to properly use Sunscreen?
When using Sunscreen, it is most important to use it generously. You’re sunscreen is only going to be effective if it actually covers your skin. You must apply sunscreen to all exposed parts of your body.
Sunscreen should be the last product in your skincare routine, since any product applied over it will reduce its effectiveness.The only product you can apply over your sunscreen is a face powder preferably with an SPF.
An important thing to note is that SPFs do not add up, that is, wearing a foundation with SPF 15 and a face powder with SPF 10 will not give you an SPF of 25 but only SPF 15.
Use a multi-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 for regular use. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before stepping out and every 2 hours while you’re in the sun. When swimming use a sunscreen marked a water resistant(provides protection for 40 minutes) or very water resistant(80 minutes protection).