The pitter patter outside, marked the beginning of monsoon. The dark clouds hover around and quench the earth’s thirst. Vacations are already over for some schools and colleges. While it becomes a struggle for some night-owls, there are others who try their best to be presentable enough for the day. While we are talking about looking presentable our outfit matters a lot for us. Some of us spend minutes (even hours) to think of that perfect look and then spend minutes bawling our eyes out when it just doesn’t come together. The important thing here is. We try protecting ourselves from the rain with gumboots and raincoats. But what about our face? No, not from the rain drop splashes but the sun rays. What about the sunscreen? Sounds crazy to some, right? Well, it’s not. We are filled with loads of myths when it comes to beauty and skincare. Let’s bust one more today.
Repeat after me the mantra to getting a less damaged skin,
“SUMMER, SPRING, RAINY, WINTER, SUNSCREEN IS ALWAYS THE ANSWER.”
There might be many questions popping in many minds now. Let’s try to get the answers to some Whys, How’s and When’s.
What is a sunscreen?
It’s a very simple word for all of us, isn’t it? But what does it actually mean?
Sunscreen, also known as sun block, is a product that is used in order to prevent sun tanning and lessen the possibilities of skin cancer. This product has different kinds of consistency for their respective uses and roles. In general, it is available in lotion, get, spray, foam and stick forms. Every formula has their unique application.
The main purpose of this product is to absorb or reflect some of the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays and thus protect against any sun burn or tanning.
Depending on the mode of action; sunscreen can be classified into two types:
- Physical Sunscreens– these reflect the Sunlight.
- Chemical Sunscreens– these absorb the UV light.
Why to use a sunscreen?
In a layman’s point of view, sunscreen is used only to prevent tanning. But that’s not the only reasons for which a sunscreen is used. Let’s focus on some important factors as to why one should use a sunscreen.
Sunscreen is very important to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. They are in two forms- UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are most commonly associated with skin aging, these beams cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots that make skin look prematurely older. UVB rays are the ones most commonly associated with sunburns. But unlike UVA rays; UVB beams cannot pass through glass. And both UVA and UVB rays are carcinogens.
American Cancer Society recommends the use of sunscreen as it helps in prevention of squamous cell carcinomas. In simple words, it helps prevent the cancer cells which can cause skin cancer and also reduce the risk of melanoma. Protection from UVA is known to be important for the prevention of skin cancer. Proper use of sunscreen can also slow or temporarily prevent the development of wrinkles, moles and sagging skin.
Points to remember while choosing
Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation. To get a better indication of their ability to protect against skin cancer and other diseases associated with UVA radiation, the use of broad-spectrum (UVA / UVB) sunscreens has been recommended and the use of the term “Broad Spectrum” on the label sunscreen products is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Sunscreens are generally rated and labeled with a sun protection factor (SPF) that measures the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. For example, “SPF 15” means that 1⁄15 of the burning radiation reaches the skin through the recommended thickness of sunscreen. The SPF number has always been a great deal of discussion while choosing a sunscreen.
Dermatologists commonly recommend a sunscreen with SPF 30. It is so because, SPF 30 blocks 97% of the sun’s rays. Even though SPF with high numbers might block slightly more of the rays but no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s rays. Also, the higher ones last the same amount of time as the lower ones.
Which type to choose?
There is a wide range of types sunscreen to choose from and often tends to be very confusing. Let’s get to know which one is better for what.
- The creams are said to be the best for dry skin due to their high moisturizing capability.
- Gels are a treat to the hairy areas because of their own unique features.
- The sunscreen sticks are better used around the eyes as it gives free access to spread and blend in that region. The same as a stick concealer.
- The sunscreen sprays are more preferably used on children as they are found to very easy to apply and also easily cover the important areas.
- Some sunscreens are mainly made for sensitive skin and babies. Also there are some products like moisturizers and foundations, which contain SPF in them and have multi-purposes.
The most important thing to remember is that the sunscreen should have SPF 30 and water-resistant.
Application of the product
It is advised to re-apply the sunscreen every two hours when outdoors. The sunscreen should be used in a generous amount to cover all the body parts exposed to the sun like neck, feet tops, ears etc. dry skin people should apply 15 minutes before going out. While we are applying sunscreen, we forget our lips, many a times. It is seen that skin cancer can also form on the lips. So, it is very important to protect them and keep them hydrated. Use of a lip balm with SPF 30 is highly advisable. It is also important to note that use of normal lipsticks also darkens the lips under the rays, it is important to choose the products wisely.
While we have discussed briefly about the sunscreen, let’s now take a look at some popular suggestions on sunscreen.
- Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch Sunblock
This sunscreen is none to be one of the OG product for sunscreen. It is widely famous among the college going teens and working sector. The product claims to have Helioplex Technology which offers powerful protection against sun damage. It also claims to feel clean and light on the skin, leaves a non-shiny finish and won’t clog pores. It is said to have SPF 50+. The smaller size retails for Rs 200 only.
- Biotique Sunscreens
Biotique is believed to be one of the most affordable yet best brand for skincare. The Biotique sunscreens come in different varieties based on their SPF numbers and each one of them performs really well on the skin with a light formula. The come in the variants of carrot, aloe vera, sandalwood lotions and sunflower matte gel. They also have other options life micro gold matte sunscreen, pink lentils matte look sun block and morning nectar face lotion with SPF 30. The prices vary with the products but are on a very affordable line.
Some other really good options are:
- Lakme Sun Expert SPF 30 PA++ Ultra matte lotion.
- Himalaya Protective Sunscreen Lotion
- Aroma magic Sunblock Lotion SPF++30 UVA/UVB
- Botanic love Vitamin E Sunblock SPF 50
Also, Aloe Vera gels are very helpful after a tiring day to take off the toxicity and so are the other face gels.
But why is it necessary to wear it on a daily basis? The answer to this question is that in addition to all the above mentioned reasons, the fact that, even when it’s not summer, the UV rays of the sun is extremely harmful. The damage done by sun is not restricted to a particular weather. The sun emits these harmful rays all year-round. And it is also said that, the sun damages are more in the non-sunny days. So, never let go off a single day without sunscreen.