Don’t dare to live without Sunscreen!
Yes, don’t you dare!!
What??…. dare?? Is it so important? YES, IT IS.
I know not many people use sunscreens or sunblocks because….”I don’t have a sensitive skin”….”It is cloudy”….”It is winter”…..”The heat is bearable” and so on and so forth.
And those who do, also apply it once a day and then forget about it. But what is the real deal with sunscreens? And why are they SO important?
Let us see.
First of all why sunscreen?
The immediate danger of too much sun exposure is sunburn. Sunburned skin, when seen under a microscope, will show that the cells and blood vessels have been damaged. With repeated sun damage, the skin starts to look dry, wrinkled, discoloured, and leathery. This kind of skin is more susceptible to harm.
But the sun’s most serious threat is that it is the major cause of skin cancer. It has been proven on the molecular level that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the skin’s cellular DNA, creating genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Doctors believe that most skin cancers can be avoided by preventing sun damage.
Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet, or UV, rays. Two types of UV rays, known as UVA and UVB, trigger harmful changes in your skin. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface. Although UVB rays are less prevalent, they also cause skin damage. Both UVA and UVB rays contribute to the development of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Hence it is recommended that everyone, irrespective of their skin colour, gender and age, should use sunscreens.
Are Sunscreen and Sunblock the same?
Sunscreen and Sunblock are 2 different things, albeit with a similar purpose. Sunscreen provides chemical protection, whereas Sunblock provides physical protection.
Sunscreen combines organic and inorganic chemicals that absorb UV radiation and reduce the amount that reaches your skin. It actually works like a screen. Sunblock, on the other hand, physically prevents UVA and UVB radiation from reaching the skin. The reflective particles in sunblock usually consist of zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Sunscreens tend to be lighter than sunblocks.
What is SPF?
SPF means Sun Protection Factor. SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin, and can contribute to skin cancer. The higher the SPF number, the greater the amount of protection. You can opt for an SPF 30 and higher. People who are sensitive to the sun should opt for higher SPF.
What does Broadspectrum mean?
While SPF is a measure of protection from UVB rays, protection from UVA rays is also important. UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, but they also lead to skin cancer and ageing. A broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. So look for this while buying your sun protection.
What is the correct way to apply sunscreen/sunblock?
Apply liberally to all the exposed parts of the body, legs and feet included. These lotions must be applied at least 15-30 minutes before sun exposure. This is the time required for your skin to absorb the lotion and protect your skin. If you apply and immediately dash out of your home into the sun, you won’t get the sun protection.
Sunscreens also need to be reapplied every 2 hours for continued sun protection. Many people apply sunscreen before leaving the house and never reapply it. But sadly, their skin is not protected after a couple of hours. So always carry a small tube of sunscreen in your bag if you are going to be out in the sun.
Another big misconception about sunscreen is that, if it is cloudy you don’t need a sunscreen. WRONG! YOU ALWAYS NEED SUN PROTECTION, EVEN WHEN YOU CAN’T SEE OR FEEL THE SUN. AND EVEN WHEN YOU ARE INDOORS.
Yes, you heard me!!
Who needs sunscreen?
Everyone needs sunscreen. Even men should use sunscreens as they are equally vulnerable to the damage caused by sun rays. And most importantly children also need sunscreen. Yes, they do! Their skin is, in fact, more sensitive than us and yet they are most neglected in this aspect. Children also spend a lot of time playing outdoors. So don’t neglect them.
How to choose a sunscreen?
Here are a few pointers:
- SPF is the first factor to be considered.
- Look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of the following: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone or zinc oxide. Any of those should do the trick.
- For children, look for physical sunblocks, as chemicals in sunscreen can irritate their skin.
- If you or your children are going swimming, opt for a water-resistant sunscreen.
What is a lesser-known benefit of sunscreen?
Apart from preventing sunburns and skin cancer, sunscreen has a major benefit- IT PREVENTS PREMATURE AGEING OF THE SKIN. Now I have your attention 🙂
The harmful rays of the sun lead to premature ageing of the skin. If you start using sunscreen really young, you will thank yourself 20 years on. You will definitely have younger looking skin 🙂
What about Vitamin D?
Many argue against sunscreen in favour of vitamin D as sun rays are the major source of vitamin D. The deficiency of vitamin D is on the rise as we speak.
Wearing sunscreen doesn’t lead to vitamin D deficiency. For vitamin D, too much sun exposure is not required. 15 minutes of exposure in the morning sun, few days a week is enough for having healthy vitamin D levels. Prolonged sun exposure is not necessary. And many food items nowadays are fortified with vitamin D.
So the final word is that sunscreen should be an intrinsic part of your daily skincare regime.
Here are my personal recommendations:
- Glenmark La Shield Sunscreen Gel SPF 40, PA+++,Broad-Spectrum UVA/UVB
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 50+
- Kaya Skin Clinic Sunscreen Plus SPF 50
I use high SPF because my skin is very sensitive and gets burned easily. You can choose according to your skin type or you can go for medicated sunscreens.
But don’t dare to live without sunscreen!!
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