Everything You Need To Know About Sunscreen
Skin is the largest external organ, and is exposed to weathe atmospheric conditions. It gets highly affected by UVA/UVB rays that are responsible for aging, wrinkles, sunburns, skin rashes, tanned skin, and more. No matter how much you try to cover your skin, some or the other part gets exposed to these rays. If you are someone who prefers to stay indoors & thinking that your skin is safe from the outside world, then Naaa! It is not. UVA rays enter through the window penetrate deep into your skin when you are home or office.
Sunscreen definitely pops up in our minds when it comes to skin protection. No matter how the weather is, you should never skip wearing sunscreen before heading outdoors for the day & even if you are staying indoors all day. Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s powerful UV rays, pollution, dirt, & other infrared rays minimizing the risk of painful sunburns, hyperpigmentation, skin problems, skin cancer, and premature signs of aging, such as dark spots and wrinkles.
Although sunscreen plays a vital role, choosing the correct one that suits your skin can be overwhelming. There are many brands & types of sun protection creams available in the market, but you have to select the one that is friendly to your skin.
Types of Sunscreens Available
Generally, sunscreen is categorized into two types.
Physical Sunscreen & Chemical Sunscreen
Physical Sunscreen: They are even known as sunblocks. This type of sunscreen is very
thick & makes a visible white layer on the skin that deflects &
scatters the UV rays. This is mineral-based consisting of ingredients like
titanium oxide, zinc oxide & iron oxide to block the UV rays from entering
the skin layer. It begins to work instantly.
This is recommended to a sports person, athletes, when you are
at the beach, sunbathing or swimming.
· Chemical Sunscreen: This type of sunscreen penetrates the skin & absorbs UV rays
to neutralize their property. They contain the following active ingredients
such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or
octinoxate. They are easy to rub & do not leave a white residue. Chemical
sunscreen usually takes around 20-30 mins to activate and do its thing. It is
better for everyday use.
Considering both sunscreens’ properties, ‘Broad-Spectrum
Sunscreen’ is referred to as the combination of both physical & chemical
sunscreen which means it protects from UVA & UVB rays. Wearing a sunscreen
labeled as ‘Broad-spectrum’ is ideal for skin protection.
How to choose the correct sunscreen?
To know the perfect sun-protecting cream, the first and foremost
thing is to understand your skin type.
This can be done by gently washing your face with a cleanser so
that there’s no makeup, pollutants, and other dirt particles on the face. Leave
it untouched & after an hour, your skin should return to its natural state which
will help to determine the type of your skin.
Now dab the face particularly the areas of forehead & nose
with tissue paper to know the skin type.
How To Determine Your Skin Type?
You can determine the skin type with the following outcomes:
– Oily Skin: If tissue paper shows
a lot of grease then it’s oily skin. Generally, oily skin type has a shine and
– Normal Skin: When tissue is clean
with no oil or flakes and remains as smooth & supple as it was, then you
are blessed with a normal skin type.
– Dry Skin: When a tissue shows
some flakes or if there’s dead skin, you need to moisturize your skin if it is
– Combination: Combination is a very
common skin type, which means combining any above-mentioned skin types. Skin is
generally oily in the T section i.e. forehead & nose areas and the other
areas are dry.
Since now you are aware of sunscreen & your skin type, let’s
see which type of sunscreen is well suited for you.
> If you have dry skin, sunscreen with a moisturizer
or that contains hydrating ingredients (ceramides or hyaluronic acid) is best
suited. You must look for a cream-based sunscreen that keeps your skin
> If you have an oily skin type, cream-based
sunscreens can be sticky and heavy on your skin leading to acne. You must
opt-in for water-based or a lightweight formula sunscreen. Gel-based sunscreens
> If your skin is normal & uncomplicated, you can
choose any sunscreen. Any sunscreen will be suitable for your skin. It can be
spray, cream or stick.
Things to remember while choosing Sunscreen.
Considering your skin type, if you’re choosing chemical or
physical sunscreen, you must look at certain things on the label.
– It’s best to have Broad-spectrum (protects from both UVA and
– Must be fragrance-free to avoid unnecessary chemical infusion
in your skin
– Non-Comedogenic as it won’t clog pores
– Oil-free to prevent acne or blocked pores
– SPF must be between 30
SPF and PA are two important factors to look
at when you are choosing the perfect sunscreen. SPF refers to a grade used to
rate the level of UVB protection. The higher the number, the higher the UVB
Whereas, PA is a grade used to rate the level
of UVA protection. It is denoted by a ‘+’ symbol. The plus symbols, If it has
higher number, it means higher UVB protection. 1st point is written by me only
in the description so I guess it would be fine.
How & when to wear sunscreen?
> When you are applying it to your face, make sure you are
rubbing gently in one direction. Multiple directions overlap each other leading
> No Sunscreen works for more than 2-3 hours. Hence,
reapplying every 2-3 hours is recommended.
> Your skin tone doesn’t determine the quantity of sunscreen.
Every individual should make sure to protect their skin no matter what!
The best sunscreen is the one that you choose! Irrespective of
summer days, monsoon rains, or winter winds, skin type, skin tone, age, or
gender skin protection is a must to avoid skin diseases & other problems.
If you are not sure of which sunscreen is best suited for you, or if you have a
combination of sensitive skin, it is always recommended to get a consultation
from your dermatologist.