BENGALURU: Every dermatologist recommends sunscreen as the basic building block of a regular skincare routine. It is often said that the least you could do for your skin is apply sunscreen if you don’t wish to have a lengthy routine. Let’s have a look at everything that you need to know about sunscreen, from why to how. Why is sunscreen essential in your daily routine?
Sunscreen protects against harmful UV rays: Sunscreens are specifically designed to protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It acts as a barrier, preventing the sun’s harmful rays from penetrating the skin and causing damage.
Protects against skin cancer: Exposure to UV radiation is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Regular use of sunscreen can help to reduce this risk by protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
Prevents premature ageing: UV radiation can cause premature ageing of the skin, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Sunscreen helps to prevent these signs of ageing by protecting the skin from UV damage.
Reduces the risk of sunburn: Sunburn can be painful and uncomfortable, and it can also increase the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen helps to prevent sunburn by blocking UV radiation from reaching the skin and hence preventing excess melanin production.
Helps to even out skin tone: Sun exposure can cause uneven skin tone, with some areas of the skin becoming darker than others. Sunscreen helps to prevent this by protecting the skin from UV radiation and reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation or tanning.
Prevents dark spots: Sun exposure can cause dark spots on your skin. Sunscreen helps to prevent these spots from forming and can even help to fade existing ones.
Protects against other environmental stressors: In addition to UV radiation, the skin is also exposed to other environmental stressors such as pollution and blue light from electronic devices. Sunscreen can help to protect the skin from these stressors and keep it healthy and radiant.
Choosing the right sunscreen
Choosing the right sunscreen can be overwhelming, given the variety of options available in the market. So how do you choose the right one? Let’s find out:
SPF: The Sun Protection Factor (SPF), is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects against UVB rays. SPF 40 blocks 97.5 per cent while SPF 50 blocks around 98 per cent. Dermatologists recommend sunscreens with a minimum SPF 40 for your protection.
Broad-spectrum: Formulated to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can lead to premature ageing, while UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen ensures comprehensive protection against both types of UV radiation. Look for the PA rating on the sunscreen packs to know its effectiveness.
Water-resistant: Make sure your sunscreen is water-resistant if you plan to swim or tend to sweat a lot.
Skin type: Sunscreen formulations are available to cater to different skin types and concerns. Whether you have oily, dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin, there is a sunscreen option suitable for your specific needs. For example, if you have oily skin, look for a lightweight, oil-free sunscreen.
Ingredients: Look for made safe certification to ensure your sunscreen is free of harmful toxins, also look for new age sunscreens with blend of anti oxidant Vitamin C which will give additional protection especially for Indian skin.
How to use sunscreen correctly
Start with a clean face: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry.
Apply moisturiser: Apply a lightweight moisturiser to your face to hydrate your skin.
Apply sunscreen: Squeeze two fingers worth of sunscreen onto your fingertips and apply it to your face in dots.
Spread it evenly: Gently spread the sunscreen all over your face and neck, making sure to cover all areas, including your nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin.
Wait before applying makeup: Wait a few minutes for the sunscreen to absorb into your skin before applying makeup or going outside.
When to use Sunscreen
Daily use: UV rays are present year-round, even on cloudy or cooler days. Hence it is essential to use sunscreen daily in your AM routine. It is always recommended to apply sunscreen prior to direct sun exposure, about 15-30 minutes is ideal.
Reapplication: Sunscreen’s effectiveness diminishes over time, especially with exposure to water, sweat, or rubbing of the skin. Reapplying sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently helps maintain adequate protection.
(The writer is founder of Kosmoderma Clinics & SkinQ)