Most of us enjoy spending time outdoors and spending extended hours often leaves our skin vulnerable to the harsh effects of sun damage. Whether you’re outdoors for work or you are vacationing at a beach or park, it’s essential to protect your skin with the right sunscreen. I agree the sun is a vital source of Vitamin D, but the timing and duration of sun exposure drastically affect your skin. Continuous exposure to sun rays and UV radiation can cause skin issues like skin damage, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sunburn, tanning, and even increase the risk of skin cancer.
It’s no secret that using a good sunscreen is much essential for healthy and glowing skin all year long. But, there’s a lot that goes into buying the right sunscreen for yourself. As it is not a one-size-fits-all skincare product, the type of sunscreen varies according to people. In some cases, you just may need everyday wear of normal sunscreen, while for others you might need an oil-free lotion sunscreen, water-resistant or even sweat-proof protection, etc.
Choosing the right sunscreen that suits your skin can be overwhelming with many options and brands available on market today, so here are a few tips to pick the right sunscreen for yourself:
1) Ingredients Matter: Be it a lotion-based or cream-based sunscreen, one of the most important aspects, when you look for sunscreen, should be, the ingredients used in it. Check the label and make sure the product doesn’t have any chemical that causes allergy to your skin. And mainly avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone, as it is one of the most dangerous ingredients that can disrupt hormonal balance and cause an allergic reaction. Mostly, prefer something that contains organic, herbal, or natural ingredients rather than preferring a product that is loaded with chemicals.
2) Pay Attention to SPF (Sun Protection Factor): People have a misconception that after using high-SPF sunscreen it’s okay to spend more time in direct sunlight. But the fact is that no sunscreen is 100% effective it’s just that using high SPF sunscreens can increase the amount of time you can stay outdoors. According to dermatologists, a person should use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 regularly. Under ideal conditions, sunscreen with higher SPF offers more protection against sunburn, UVA damage, and DNA damage. Recent research shows that SPF 100 when compared with SPF 50, makes a real difference in protecting your skin against burns and discoloration. Whatever your sunscreen SPF is, they don’t last any longer, so you need to reapply them just as often for better protection & best results.
3) Prefer Broad Spectrum Sunscreen: Broad-spectrum sunscreens are widely used these days as it protects you against both UVB & UVA radiation. The 2 types of sun rays, mainly ultraviolet A & ultraviolet B, are primarily responsible for skin damage, and sunburns. So, while choosing a sunscreen make sure your sunscreen has a label “UVA/UVB protection,” “broad-spectrum” or “multi-spectrum”.
4) Type of Sunscreen: Preferring the type of sunscreen depends on your skin type and the areas of application. For example:
Creams: People with dry skin, mostly prefer using a cream
Lotions: When it comes to applying sunscreen to other areas rather than just your face, then lotions are preferred as it is less greasy than creams.
Gel: Gels work best in hairy areas of your body
Stick: Stick sunscreens are mostly used around the eyes
Matte-finish: If you have extremely oily skin, then prefer a matte-finish sunscreen so that your skin does not appear too oily post-application.
5) Water Resistance: When choosing the best sunscreen that suits your skin especially if it’s a sensitive skin type, then make sure the product is water-resistant or ‘waterproof’. Investing in water-based sunscreen instead of an oil-based one will make feel your skin light and won’t cause your skin to break out. If a sunscreen claims of being water-resistant, it must last atheist for a minimum of 40 to 80 minutes while you do activities like swimming, outdoor exercises, etc.
6) Physical and Chemical Sunscreen: There are mainly 2 types of sunscreens, physical (mineral) & chemical (synthetic). Physical or mineral sunscreens mostly contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are best suited to those with inflamed skin or sensitive skin. In contrast, chemical or synthetic sunscreens contain different types of synthetic ingredients, including octinoxate, oxybenzone, octisalate, & avobenzone. These sunscreens are generally more lightweight & suit best for people with pigmentation or melisma.
7) Try Beyond the basics: If you’re looking for a sunscreen that gets you beyond the necessities, then in addition make sure it has other related to critical ingredients like anti-oxidants which are highly effective, nourishing, and safe for your skin.
8) Avoid Allergens: Prone to skin rashes or breakouts? Avoid sunscreens with added fragrances, preservatives & parabens. People with skin conditions like rosacea should note to avoid sunscreens containing alcohol. If you’re someone with acne-prone skin, consult with your dermatologist before you choose any skin care product.
9) Check the Expiry: Date: Like any other product, even sunscreen have an expiration date, after which they are no longer effective. Mostly a basic sunscreen has an expiry date of up to 2-3 years. After the labeled date, make sure you discard the product. Sunscreens exposed to high temperatures or have any changes in color or consistency should also be discarded.
You can never afford to miss sunscreen. Sunshine is all good and helps us build levels of vitamin D, which is good for our health, bones, and even our mental health. But keep it to a limit. Sunscreen application is an important skincare habit that we all should practice or continue. So, people, keep these considerations in mind and enhance your sun protection strategy, by applying the right sunscreen on your skin regularly.
Let’s all have sun-safe summers ahead by protecting our skin too!
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