The reasons for skin damage are plenty. However, the greatest of them still stands out to be the damage caused by the sun or UV radiation. It often causes sunburns, skin irritation that result in rashes, red blotches, damages skin, and even leads to skin cancer. This is where sunscreen plays a part.
Available in the form of a gel, cream, lotion, sticks, oil, butter, foam, or spray, sunscreens or sunblocks with broad spectrums protect the skin from harmful UVA/UVB radiations. They form a layer on the skin shielding or creating a barrier against the sun. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value determines the level of protection the sunscreen gives you from the UVB rays. A sunscreen with less than SPF 15 protects the skin only from sunburns, and not from early aging of skin cancers.
Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a higher SPF value shall always help. Nevertheless, this is not enough to get you covered.
Types of Sunscreens:
- Mineral Sunscreens: These kinds of sunscreens settle on the surface of the skin and scatter UVA/UVB rays efficiently. They form a physical barrier on the skin surface and work immediately. They are often visible on the skin as they tend to leave behind a whitish cast on the skin. Hence, they get wiped, sweated, washed away easily. Reapplication is necessary at regular intervals.
Main Ingredients: Zinc oxide, Titanium Dioxide.
- Chemical Sunscreens: These kinds of sunscreens penetrate deep into the skin and get absorbed to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. They absorb the UV rays deep into the skin, transform them into heat, and release them from the skin. However, the absorption of UV rays causes damage to the deeper layers of the skin. It affects sensitive skin and increases clogging of pores and hyperpigmentation. These sunscreens require to be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure.
Main Ingredients: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Homosalate.
Active Ingredients In A Sunscreen:
- Aminobenzoic acid
- Padimate O
- Titanium dioxide
- Trolamine salicylate
- Zinc oxide
How To Use A Usual Sunscreen:
- Apply the sunscreen 15-20 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- Use a generous amount to cover all the exposed areas of your skin.
- Re-apply every two hours.
- Re-apply more often if you tend to sweat profusely or swim.
Precautions For Buying And Using A Sunscreen:
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPF value 15 or more.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours and more, if you sweat profusely or swim.
- Wear clothes that cover your skin.
- Spend limited time in the Sun. Avoid going out at peak hours like in the afternoon.
- Choose a sunscreen type i.e a gel, spray, lotion, foam, cream, etc. based on your skin type. Choose a cream one if you have dry skin or a gel one if you desire for a matte finish.
- Store your sunscreen in cooler or shade areas. Keep it away from heat and direct sunlight.
- Always look for the expiration date of sunscreen before purchasing it. If unavailable on the label, know that it will expire after three years of the purchase date.
- If you are prone to any type of allergy, consult a dermatologist before buying one.
- Know more about the ingredients that go into the making of your sunscreen to prevent allergies, staining of clothes, or increasing the risk of skin sensitivity.
Nothing comes without a folly. Similarly, sunscreens being either mineral or chemical products also come with a disclaimer.
Possible Side Effects of a Sunscreen:
- Redness, rashes, or blisters in sun-exposed areas of the skin.
- Acne or pimple formation.
- Puss accumulation in hairy follicles.
- Pain in hairy areas or stinging sensations on the skin.
- Burning or itching.
- Drying or tightening of the skin.
Being the most vital savior in everyone’s skincare essentials, sunscreens are made by the topmost brands to deliver effective and long-lasting protection to the skin. Some of the lots are:
- CeraVe 100% Mineral Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 50
- Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 70
- EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60
- MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50 Sunscreen