SUNSCREEN 101 - TO FIGHT THE SCORCHING SUMMER

Published on June 18, 2022 | By Shakthi Sai Prashanthi

Summer is here! Of all the worries, ‘skincare during summer’ stands as the topmost worry for most due to the scorching heat. Despite taking several precautions to protect skin from the Ultraviolet (UV) rays, skin issues such as suntan, sun rashes, dark spots, wrinkles, pigmentation, and pimples are prone to occur. To prevent your skin from becoming a victim to all these problems, you should get your hands on an effective sunscreen.

Understanding the importance of sunscreen is essential for skincare. Factually, applying sunscreen is necessary even during the winters, as the Sun’s UV rays can affect your skin even when cloudy. However, applying during summer can act as a shield to your skin and protect your skin from UV rays. 

This article will tell you why sunscreen is indispensable during summer.

How much sunlight is essential for general health? 

Protecting your skin from the Sun doesn’t mean your skin should never get exposed to the Sun. 

Limited sun exposure is considered safe and comes with specific health benefits. We mean around 10-15 minutes of sunlight every day by limited exposure. This is enough to improve your mood and gain some natural Vitamin D. 

Too much sunlight is undoubtedly harmful to your skin and not recommended. 

The amount of sunlight that each person requires daily depends on their skin tone and body. Therefore, it is wise to ask your dermatologist or a skincare expert how much sunlight your body needs for good health. Around 10-15 minutes of sun exposure is generally considered safe and beneficial. 

Importance and Benefits of Sunscreen during Summer

Whether summer or not, you should apply sunscreen on all 365 days a year. It is even more important during summer to keep your skin healthy and safe. You may overlook the immediate benefits after applying it. But, in the long term, it can effectively protect your skin from premature aging, wrinkles, suntan, sunburn, rashes, and pigmentation. 

First, it prevents harmful UV rays from directly affecting your skin. Your bare skin will easily be affected by direct UV rays and develop sun spots, suntan, burns, or rashes without sunscreen. In addition, wrinkles and fine lines can occur at an early age.   

Human skin contains essential proteins such as collagen, elastin, and keratin. These proteins are responsible for healthy and young-looking skin. However, when UV rays directly touch your skin, these proteins can easily damage and cause problems to your skin. 

What happens when you skip sunscreen?

Skipping sunscreen can result in,

  • Premature aging and wrinkles
  • Suntan, sunburns, and rashes
  • Acne and dark spots
  • Pigmentation
  • Dry skin 
  • Damage to skin cells and blood vessels 
  • Skin cancer (Rare cases)

How to choose the right sunscreen?

Choosing the right sunscreen is not a tricky business at all! Ensure you check the following factors before you order your sunscreen.

  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor)

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the first and foremost factor to consider. SPF value determines the amount of UV rays the sunscreen can block. Dermatologists and skin care experts suggest sunscreen with SPF over 30 or 50 to attain complete protection from the UV rays. There are also sunscreens in the market with SPF 15 or 20. This can protect the skin from UV rays to a certain extent but cannot act as a complete shield. It can block about 93% of UV rays.

SPF 30/50 can offer better protection to the skin. It can block about 97% of UV rays. SPF 15/20 may be suitable for cloudy days or winter, definitely not appropriate for summer. The SPF can also be decided based on your activity. Example: If you will be mostly indoor and rarely in the Sun, then SPF 15 will suffice. If you are mostly going to be outdoor, SPF 30/50 will be appropriate. 

  • Broad Spectrum

Opting for a sunscreen with a broad spectrum is always a great idea, as it can protect skin from both UVA & UVB rays. Both these rays are harmful and have the potential to cause skin cancer. It can help you avoid premature wrinkles, acne, dark spots, sunburns, and rashes. 

  • Water-resistant

Some sunscreens are resistant to water and sweat. But, it requires reapplying every 2 hours. Even the water-resistant ones will wear off after an hour or so. Therefore, if you are going to swim or indulge in water sports, you can buy a water-resistant type. 

  • Skin type 

One should prefer buying sunscreen that is suitable for the skin type. For example, if you have normal skin with no issues, you may opt with good SPF value. However, if you have sensitive/oily/dry skin or acne-prone skin, we recommend you consult with your dermatologist on which will suit your skin type. People with any other skin issues should also consult a skin care specialist before buying a random one, which might cause further problems. 

How to apply sunscreen?

Firstly, you should apply to all the body parts exposed to the Sun. In addition, it is best to wear full sleeves while you are out in sunlight. 

  • Shake the product well before use. 
  • Now, apply it to all the exposed body areas. 
  • Apply sunscreen on the back of your ears, neck, legs, and other exposed body parts. 
  • Apply effective lip balm with SPF 15 or more to protect your lips. 
  • There are also sunscreens available for the scalp. People with thin hair can use it to prevent hair damage and hair fall. 
  • You need to reapply every 2 hours if you are outdoor.
  • Sweating or swimming can result in the wear-off of sunscreen. So, it would help if you reapplied after wiping off the sweat or water.  
  • You can quickly notice suntan or sunburn on the areas not adequately covered by it. 

Preventing Sun damage to the skin is more manageable than treating them. Therefore, remember to wear sunscreen while you step out, irrespective of summer or not. Sunscreen is safe and effective, and it can help you prevent multiple skin issues caused by UV rays, including skin cancer. 

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