Sunlight is known to provide Vitamin D, that is essential for bone health. But staying in the sun for a longer time period can lead to problems like suntan, sunburn, premature ageing, and many more. Severe sunburn can also lead to damage of skin and blood vessels, thus contributing to premature ageing. In more advanced cases, skin cancer can also occur due to overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays (UV). Though Indian skin is less prone to cancer, still we cannot ignore skin protection as it is a vital part of our body. 

Sunscreen plays a significant role in skin protection from harmful sun-rays. Learn more about the benefits of sunscreen and also about the ideal sunscreen for every skin type:

1. Sunscreen protects the skin by blocking and absorbing UV rays. All types of skin dry oily or sensitive, and even acne-prone skin require sunscreen application to protect them from sun damage. Many people do not use sunscreen regularly because they are not able to choose the right sunscreen and are also not aware of the factors to look into while selecting an ideal sunscreen for their skin type.

2. There are different types of ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun, and there are a variety of reasons why we need to protect our skin from those rays? Sun emits- UV-A, UV-B, UV-C, infrared, visible light, X rays, and even radio waves. UV-C rays are blocked by the ozone layer itself, and they do not reach the earth’s surface. Whereas, UV-B rays affect only the top layer of skin, which is the epidermis, and it does not go beneath that layer, thus causing sunburn or skin cancer by damaging the DNA in the superficial layer. UV-A rays are more harmful than UV-B rays. These rays provide Vitamin D but damage melanin, collagen, elastin as it reaches dermis – leading to premature ageing and formation of wrinkles. Regular application of Sunscreens will protect your skin from these harmful rays up-to a great extent.

3. Best way to choose the correct sunscreen is to try them. Broadly there are two types of sunscreens: physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens.

  • Physical sunscreen blocks UV-A rays and UV-B rays. They contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that block UV rays, hence preventing any type of sun damage to the skin. But, chemical sunscreen contains carbon-based chemical particles which absorb sun rays and destroys them in the form of heat. Chemical sunscreen protects the skin from UV-B rays and not from UV-A. So, physical sunscreen is more beneficial in terms of protection.
  • Physical sunscreen is more thick and white but is more effective in protecting the skin. Transparent and smooth physical sunscreens are also available, but they are costly. It is more beneficial for cricketers and athletes swimmers and for people doing other outdoor activities as they are more exposed and need higher protection.

4. Broad Spectrum sunscreen is the combination of both physical and chemical sunscreen is easily available in the market. The only thing you need to keep in mind while choosing your sunscreens are – that they should block both UV-A and UV-B rays.

5. Sun Protection Factor or SPF is the most important thing to look while choosing the sunscreen – SPF is the measure how well and long the sunscreen will help you to prevent sunburn and skin damage caused by UV-B rays. It is equally essential to protect your skin from UV-A rays for which we need to look for PPD which is persistent pigment darkening which is displayed in the form of PA+, PA++ on the products is the one that prevents tanning or skin darkening due to sun rays, and also the premature ageing. So, it is important to look for SPF and PA + before choosing your sunscreen.

6. Choosing SPF is also based on other factors which contribute to the fact that how quickly your skin burns which could vary depending on factors like, at what time you step out in the sun and how many hours you spend in the sun. If you are out in the sun for long, you will need to reapply your sunscreen after every 3-4 hours. It is also the most frequently asked question, Does, SPF 50 provide better protection than SPF 30? There is hardly 1-2% of additional protection. SPF 30 offers more than 97% protection, and SPF 50 will only provide 98% protection, and it is more oily and costly. Hence, SPF 30 is more effective. Rest you can always protect your skin by opting for caps, scarves and wearing full sleeves clothes.

7. Another most frequently asked question is that, SPF present in cosmetics will give any extra protection? No, it doesn't provide any extra protection or additional protection. If you are using two-three different products of certain SPF, they all won't sum up to give you more sun protection. Like 20+ 20+ 25 SPF won't give you 65 SPF protection.

8. The formulation of various types of sunscreen are available in the market like cream based, gel-based, lotion based, spray forms, powder forms, and many more, so always choose the one which is more beneficial and convenient to use. Like for normal skin type, opt for a lotion based sunscreen, and its frequent application is required. Cosmetics also have sunscreen in it these days, but it is only effective if you are not in the sun for long.

9. For sensitive skin, hypoallergenic or mineral based sunscreen can be used. As it doesn't get absorbed in the skin so any kind of irritation will not happen, so always try them and then only choose. Waterproof or sweat resistant sunscreen can be used in water or during swimming and always apply in every two hours.

10. Spot application for extra protection on areas like nose and ears can be done. For oily skin and acne prone skin, a range of sunscreens are available like – oil-free, gel-based, matt finish, and one must try and settle depending on the one which suits best for their skin.

11. For dry skin, hydrating sunscreen, or moisture based sunscreen are recommended. SPF 30 should be preferred as it is perfect for normal daily routine lifestyle. Both SPF and PA factor should be checked before choosing your sunscreen as this will protect your skin from UV-A and UV-B rays. Always check for the active ingredients and choose the right sunscreen, as per your skin type.

12. Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 20 mins before you step out. Sunscreen should be applied all 365 days both inside and outside the house even when you are travelling in the car as sun rays can penetrate through car windows too, and also apply it on all exposed areas. Always consult your dermatologist when you are in doubt to choose the ideal sunscreen.

Keep Healthy! Keep Glowing!