Any skincare regime is incomplete without sunscreen. No matter how simple or detailed your skincare routine is, the single best thing you can do to the appearance of healthy skin is to use sunscreen 365 days be it a sunny or a rainy day. Though we know sunscreen helps with ageing, provides protection from UV rays and hyperpigmentation most of us still refrain from using it cos we haven’t found the right ones! Choosing the right kind that suits you is such a tedious task given the options that are available today in the market. Picking the right product can make all the difference, and here is everything you ought to know about sunscreens.
Types of sunscreen
The two most common types of sunscreen are physical and chemical. Check the active ingredients on the label to see if it is physical or chemical sunscreen.
Physical sunscreen also known as mineral sunscreen or sunblock sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients. It works like a reflective barrier, scattering UV rays before they penetrate the skin.
Chemical sunscreens, also sometimes called organic sunscreens, contain chemical compounds that absorb UV rays. These chemical compounds include formulas like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. Chemical filters absorb UV rays, changing them into heat before they can damage the skin.
Things to consider while choosing a sunscreen
When you are shopping for sunscreen the two very important factors to look for are, to make sure it says “broad spectrum” on the bottle and it has at least SPF 30. Broad spectrum protects skin from both UV-A and UV-B rays.
- UVA rays cause premature ageing, like wrinkles and sunspots, because they penetrate deep into the skin and can damage its collagen.
- UVB rays mainly damage the surface of the skin and cause sunburns.
- Both UVA and UVB can cause skin cancer.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) will protect your skin from UV-B rays, and also helps protect your skin from sunburn and sun damage. Most dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30 as it blocks about 97 percent of UVB rays. SPF 50, if going outdoors. However, the SPF strength depends on the number of hours you spend days out in the sun.
Forms of sunscreen
Finally, choose the right form based on your preferences and lifestyle. Lotions are still the most preferred, but sprays follow quickly behind for their convenience (if you use a spray, make sure you are spraying enough on and rubbing it in evenly). Liquids, a relatively newer form, are great for the face under makeup. Sticks are also gaining popularity as they are no-mess and can be easily applied in harder-to-reach areas, especially on kids. Sprays and Sticks are more reliable for travel since there is no hassle of leakage.
Sunscreen should be a part of your routine anytime you go outside. But the sun’s rays are powerful, so don’t expect your sunscreen to do all the heavy lifting. Good sun protection also includes seeking shade, wearing a wide hat and sunglasses and choosing clothing with sun protection. Enjoy the sun, but be smart about how much exposure you’re getting.