A sunscreen is key in protecting your skin from both UVB and UVA rays because both can harm your skin. Whether you are heading out to the beach for relaxing day of swimming, or traveling out on the nature trail for a fun day of hiking, sunscreen should be an important part of your day.
Before discussing about the sunscreens, its better to know about few things which we should know in order to protect our-self from the harmful rays of the sun.
What are the most important things to know about protecting yourself from the sun?
Avoid the sun during peak hours. Generally, this is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — regardless of season. These are prime hours for exposure to skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, even on overcast days.
Wear protective clothing. This includes pants, shirts with long sleeves, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
Use sunscreen. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply regularly. Research supports the benefits of using sunscreen to minimize skin damage from the sun’s rays.
There are two types of UV light that can harm your skin: UVA and UVB. A broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum, sunscreen protects you from both. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkling and age spots while UVB rays can burn your skin. Too much exposure to UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer. The best sunscreen offers protection from all UV light.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It shields our skin against UV-B rays of the sun that cause sunburn and tanning and UV-A rays that cause premature ageing, pigmentation and allergies.
Does the best sunscreen have the highest SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor, a measure of how well sunscreen protects against UVB rays. (UVA protection isn’t rated.) Manufacturers calculate SPF based on how long it takes to sunburn skin that’s been treated with the sunscreen as compared to skin with no sunscreen. When applied correctly, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will provide slightly more protection from UVB rays than does a sunscreen with an SPF of 15. But the SPF 30 product isn’t twice as protective as the SPF 15 product. Sunscreens with SPF’s greater than 50 provide only a small increase in UV protection.
Also, sunscreen is often not applied thoroughly or thickly enough, and it can be washed off during swimming or sweating. As a result, even the best sunscreen might be less effective than the SPF number suggests. Rather than looking at a sunscreen’s SPF, its always better to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Always look for
• UVA+UVB protection
• Broad spectrum
• SPF of 15 to 30++
• Water resistant
When to apply and how much?
• Apply 15 minutes before stepping out in the sun.
• Reapply after every two hours.
• Almond size product is sufficient for your face, neck and chest.
Sunscreen according to your skin type
• Normal skin: Select a lotion based sunscreen.
• Oily skin: Select a sunblock that is gel or water based.
• Dry Skin: Select a moisturizing SPF
Types of Sunscreen
Creams. If you have dry skin, you might prefer a cream — especially for your face.
Lotions. Lotions are often preferred for application on large areas. Lotions tend to be thinner and less greasy than creams.
Gel. Gels work best in hairy areas, such as the scalp and a man’s chest.
Stick. Sticks are useful when applying sunscreen around the eyes.
Spray. Parents often prefer sprays because they’re easy to apply on children. Because it’s difficult to know how well you’re applying spray, apply a generous and even coating. Or consider using a gel or cream first and using a spray to reapply sunscreen later. Also, avoid inhaling the product. Don’t apply spray near heat, an open flame or while smoking.
When you use sunscreen:
Apply generous amounts of sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before you go outdoors.
Use sunscreen on all skin surfaces that will be exposed to the sun, such as your face, ears, hands, arms and lips. If you don’t have much hair on your head, apply sunscreen to the top of your head or wear a hat.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours — and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating even if you’re using a product that’s water resistant.
Remember that sand, water and snow reflect sunlight and make it more important to use sunscreen.
Since UV light can pass through clouds, use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy.
Always remember over-exposure to the sun can be harmful to your skin. If you are going to be exposed to the sun for a long period of time, be sure to apply sunscreen.