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January 09, 2020
Sunscreen Will Always Be a ‘Hot’ Topic
What is SPF and what does it protect you against? SPF is ‘sun protection factor’ and it is expected to protect the user’s skin from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. However, most people are unsure about which SPF level is right for them – the difference between SPF 15, 30 and 50 is a mind-bender for most. We hope to answer some of these riddles.
Why Do You Need Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Protection for Your Skin?
There are two types of UV rays – UVB and UVA. Both types of rays play a significant role in causing skin cancers including the malignant melanoma (deadly black mole form of skin cancer). Additionally, UVA rays are a lot more harmful because of their ability to penetrate deep into the skin causing premature aging and wrinkle formation. What is even more alarming is that the sun’s rays have 500 times more UVA rays as compared to UVB rays.
Most sunscreens are only able to block UVB rays, while being completely ineffective against UVA rays. Given the highly damaging and carcinogenic effects of UVA rays you need a broad/full spectrum sunscreen that would provide protection against both UVA/UVB rays. Sunscreen products that do not offer UVA protection (are not broad spectrum) are required to have a warning that tells potential users that the product would only protect from sunburn but no protection against premature aging and skin cancer.
What Does Your Skin Need?
Darker skin contains higher levels of melanin, which offers some protection from the harmful rays of the sun, and such skin types can use a lower level sunscreen such as SPF15. However, skin experts recommend that one should start with SPF30, since while darker skin might not be prone to sunburn, they would still be at risk of the deeper levels of damage to the skin.
Those with fairer skin are at higher risk of skin damage, and should use a higher level of protection such as broad/full spectrum sunscreen products. Choose broad/full spectrum sunscreen products that are natural (ingredients such as Cucumber, Manjistha and Mulethi) and non-comedogenic. This means products that are created in a way that they do not clog the pores of the skin. Clogged pores add to skin problems causing pimples, irritation, rash, and other blemishes on the skin. Sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin type persons should definitely choose non-comedogenic sunscreen products.
Misconception that Higher SPF offers Better Protection
As mentioned, a broad/full spectrum sunscreen SPF30 product would offer better protection than one with higher SPF but not full spectrum. In addition, it is important to remember that SPF remains effective and active for about 2 hours and hence reapplying is absolutely essential – particularly for those out in the direct sun. Several products today combine ingredients to provide broad-spectrum protection – read the labels carefully before buying the products.
It is important to remember that the efficacy of the SPF product depends on how well it is applied and reapplied. Experts recommend a quarter-size dollop for the face and for the other exposed parts of the skin on the body, the amount of the size of a shot glass. Most people forget to apply on the eyelids and hairline, which could be a costly mistake. The fact is that the amount of UV rays that penetrate the skin is considerably higher than mentioned on the label, if not applied right and as often as required.
Sunscreen is not a cosmetic but preventive healthcare and hence must become habit – meaning use it all year round, including winter months. In higher altitude regions, the UV exposure is a lot greater, and sunscreen would be your ‘best friend’. Remember that the sun’s rays are ‘hot’ and damaging wherever you are – using sunscreen will always be a hot topic!
Check: Cucumber, Manjistha & Mulethi, SPF 30, Full Spectrum Sunscreen
March 16, 2020