Using a sunscreen goes a long way in the fight to protect one's skin from the harmful effects of the sun. It should be used at least a half an hour before sun exposure and every two hourly thereafter. Upon regular and continuous use, sunscreens are effective in preventing changes associated with long-term sun exposure namely, wrinkling, yellowish discolouration and pigmentary changes. Many pigmentary conditions such as melasma, freckles, etc. require an adequate use of sunscreen. Those with rosacea can also benefit from regular use of sunscreen. Sunscreens play a vital role after certain procedures such as LASER therapy, dermabrasion and chemical peels.
Sunscreens are categorically grouped in either chemical or physical nature. The appropriate sunscreen is chosen as per the assessment of the dermatologist particularly based on the patient's skin type and / or dermatological condition at hand. SPF of 30 and above is recommended for Indian patients. The quantity of sunscreen which one should apply throughout the day is also important. 1 fingertip unit = 0.5 gm of sunscreen should at least be applied for the face. Lets not forget that all sun-exposed areas should get adequate sunscreen coverage.