Know your sunscreen: The basics
Let’s start with the basics “Why do you need sunscreen?”. When you step out in the sun, your skin is in a constant battle with the Ultra Violet rays from the sun. Our body’s response to this is a compound called melanin. When we expose ourselves to UV rays, melanin production increases which gives us the “tanned” look, especially during summers or in areas where we expose ourselves to the sun. Melanin’s role IS to protect our skin from UV rays but it has a rather unpleasant aftereffect i.e tanned skin. This is where a product like a sunscreen comes into play which contains ingredients that absorb, scatter, or reflect UV rays protecting our skin by reducing the amount of UV rays that penetrate our skin. It’s this characteristic of sunscreens that make them one of the most popular & effective skincare products in the world.
Know your sunscreen: SPF explained
Sun Protection Factor or popularly known as SPF is a unit of determining a sunscreen’s effectiveness against different types of Ultra Violent radiations like UVA & UVB. These types of UV rays are the primary cause of skin issues related to heat i.e sunburn, skin damage, skin cancer, heat rash, etc.
SPF is determined by measuring the amount of UVB radiation required to cause sunburn on the skin protected by sunscreen compared to the amount of UVB radiation required to cause sunburn on unprotected skin. Usually, these types of tests are carried out in a lab setup where in volunteers undergo a patch test under a heat lamp, to determine the SPF of a sunscreen. For example, if it takes 10 minutes for unprotected skin to burn, and a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is applied, it would take 30 times longer for the skin to burn, or 300 minutes (10 minutes x 30 SPF). Generally, a higher SPF indicates longer protection when it comes to sunscreens.
Know your sunscreen: Skin type
If you are under the impression that just using any sunscreen would get the job done, well… you’re wrong. As we mentioned earlier, sunscreens undergo various lab tests to determine their characteristics on top of this their effectiveness depends on variable factors such as perspiration & mainly skin type. Hence, if you don’t consider your skin type before investing in a sunscreen, chances are the results might not be as effective as the claims. This is why, it’s super important to understand your skin type & choose a product accordingly in order to maximize the results. Here are a few tips on how you can choose the right sunscreen for your skin type.
What a lucky person you are to have normal skin *sigh*. Well, you’re in luck when it comes to choosing the perfect sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. A lightweight, non-greasy & residue-free product would be ideal for your skin type.
With dry skin comes great responsibility, even when it comes to choosing the right sunscreen. There are a lot of products in the market that not only shield your skin from the UV radiation but also hydrate/moisturize your skin. Such sunscreens contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides & glycerin. You may also want to look for a cream or lotion sunscreen rather than a gel or spray, as these tend to be more hydrating.
Oily/ACNE prone skin
“Non-comedogenic”, keep your eyes out for this label whenever you pick a product if you happen to have oily or acne-prone skin. These types of sunscreens or skincare products do not clog pores & reduce the risk of acne altogether. Additionally, finding a non-comedogenic or oil-free product that contains ingredients like niacinamide or salicylic acid is a bonus and the ideal sunscreen for your type of skin.
First of all, just calm down… we know how difficult sensitive skin can be. Go on, relax… take a deep breath & proceed with reading after you’ve calmed down :P. Having sensitive skin is no reason not to use sunscreen. Look out for products that contain minerals like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Sunscreens with formulations that include these ingredients are less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions. Get your hands on a sunscreen labeled as “fragrance-free” or “hypoallergic” for a carefree sunscreen experience.
That concludes our guidebook that will help you choose the perfect sunscreen for your skin. Apart from the above-mentioned tips, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Firstly, sunscreens are not 100% effective so if you want to maximize your defense against UV rays you need to use protective clothing or limit your exposure to the sun in general. Secondly, make sure you always use broad-spectrum sunscreen which protects against UVA & UVB radiations.
Now that you know how to pick the perfect sunscreen for your skin, who’s ready for a carefree summer? ;)