Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

Getting a sunny outlook

With the depletion of the ozone layer, using sunscreen has become more necessary than ever. Here’s why you should not ignore this golden rule for skincare

Too much of a good thing, anything, hurts. So will sunlight: too much of it and you get sunburn, especially from UV rays. One of the easiest ways to guard the skin’s appearance and health is to apply sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, our skin is susceptible to sunlight which could lead to discolouration, wrinkles and in extreme cases even skin cancer.

Dr. Anil KV Minz, Senior Consultant-Dermatology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad says, “Using sunscreen is a simple yet crucial step in any skincare routine. It will protect your skin from immediate and long-term skin damage due to exposure to the sun. Sun prolonged exposure over time also increases the risk of non-cancerous skin growth, scaly patches and pre-cancerous skin lesions.

Apart from wrinkles, skin spots, moles and tags, also encourages pigmentation. Sunscreen can help people sensitive to sunlight or those who are on medication which increases photosensitivity.”

How to use sunscreen correctly?

1. Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB rays) coverage. When this sunscreen is also a tinted sunscreen with iron oxide, you better protect your skin from developing dark spots. Iron oxide protects your skin from the sun’s visible light.

2. Apply sunscreen before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can lead to sunburn.

3. Use enough sunscreen. Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.

4. Apart from your face, remember to cover your neck, ears, eyelids, feet, and legs. For hard to reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray suncreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with an SPF of at least 30.

5. To remain protected when outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, and immediately after swimming or sweating. People who get sunburned usually don't reapply, used too little sunscreen, or used an expired sunscreen.

Sunscreen for different skin types

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, sunscreens that provide hydration are ideal for you. Look for cream-based or lotion-based sunscreens that have a thicker consistency as this formulation assists dry skin to retain moisture and provides a barrier of protection. Choose products with moisturising components like hyaluronic acid or glycerin and at least 30 SPF (sun protection factor).

Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, avoid sunscreen options that include alcohol, fragrances, oxybenzone, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), salicylates, and cinnamates. Sensitive skin types commonly tolerate physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Mineral-based sunscreens containing ceramides or calming plant extracts, like chamomile or aloe vera, can also help nourish and calm the skin and are the ideal choice for sensitive skin.

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

This type of skin needs additional thought when choosing a sunscreen. Look for non-comedogenic, broad-spectrum, water or gel-based formulations to prevent pore clogging and worsening of outbreaks. Sunscreens with a matte finish control excessive sebum production and create a shine-free appearance. Look for sunscreens with niacinamide, salicylic acid, green tea, and tea tree oil, as these compounds reduce irritation and help control oil production.

Normal Skin

If you neither have dry skin nor oily, the first thing we would like to ask is how does it feel to be God’s favourite? Since you have a normal skin type, your journey to find near-perfect sunscreen options is pretty straightforward. Go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide better protection against UV exposure. Look for lightweight, non-greasy solutions that soak quickly and leave no white cast.

How to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen consistently

● A good way to incorporate sunscreen in your routine is by associating it with a morning activity you do daily—such as placing a sunscreen tube in your bathroom for ease of application.

● If you have the tendency to forget, it helps to stash miniature tubes in different locations like your purse, car and work desk for a visual reminder.

● You can also choose to set a reminder on your phone every 2 hours to reapply sunscreen.

The New Indian Express