Sunscreen is one of the important steps in your skincare routine, irrespective of your gender, age or skin colour. It protects your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays that can damage your skin and result in hyperpigmentation, acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and even skin cancer.
In this post, I’ll be talking about lesser-known sunscreen facts and busting some myths related to it. But firstly, how to include a sunscreen in your skincare routine?
Sunscreen, both physical and chemical, is the last step of your skincare routine. It should be applied generously and reapplied at least every 2-3 hours if you’re out in the sun all day.
Lesser-Known Sunscreen Facts
1. Why Sunscreen Is Need?
80-90% of cases of premature skin ageing and skin cancer are caused due to unprotected exposure from UV rays. This is why it’s highly important that you don’t skip sunscreen!
You can increase the sun protection by combining sunscreen with other ways like avoiding the sun during the brightest time of the day (between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm), wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and hats, and invest in sunglasses that block UV rays.
2. How much SPF do I need?
Anything between SPF 30-50 is enough to make sure you are getting optimum protection from UVB rays. You don’t need to go higher than that and definitely not lower.
Apart from SPF, you need to check whether your sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection i.e, it saves from both UVA and UVB rays. Look for words like “PA factor” or “broad-spectrum” on the packaging.
What is PA rating? It’s is a Japanese standard that means Protection Grade of UVA rays which measures the SPF of a sunscreen. Higher the plus ‘+’ signs, greater is the UVA protection. Sunscreens with PA+++ and PA++++ are highly recommended!
The Purito Centella Unscented Sunscreen is my all-time favorite and it has an SPF of 50 with PA++++.
However, American sunscreens won’t always come with the PA rating so you have to look for the term broad-spectrum protection. The only drawback is that you won’t be able to know how effective it is against all the UVA rays. This is not the case with PA rating!
While making a purchase, SPF factor and broad spectrum protection/ PA factor are the most important sunscreen facts you should keep in mind. If the brand doesn’t specify these, run away from them.
3. What Do I need protection from?
UVA rays contribute to ageing while UVB rays contribute to sun burn. Both are likely to cause skin cancer so you need to make sure your sunscreen provides protection against both.
UVA rays have the ability to pass through the glass so you need to apply sunscreen while you’re driving and standing or sitting in front of glass windows with the blinds open. UVB rays are associated with sunburns. Unlike UVA rays, UVB rays cannot pass through glass.
The easiest way to remember the difference between UVA and UVB is that A stands for ageing while B stands for burning.
4. different types of sunscreens
There are 2 types of sunscreen – Physical (also called Mineral/ Inorganic) and Chemical (Organic) Sunscreen. And they’re both equally good!
- Physical sunscreens have mineral UV blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and it sits on top of the skin and deflects and scatter about 5-10% of the incoming UV rays. While the rest of it is converted into heat and released from the skin. These sunscreens tend to leave a white cast and aren’t cosmetically elegant.
- Chemical sunscreens have organic UV filters such as Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Uvinul A, Uvinul T, etc that change the UV rays into heat and then release it from the skin.
Many traditional chemical sunscreens don’t work well with sensitive skin which is the reason why people opt for mineral sunscreens. However, there are many brands with well-formulated chemical sunscreens that incorporate newer and more stable UV filters. These sunscreens work great with most sensitive skin types!
- Hybrid Sunscreens use a combination of both chemical and physical UV filters. These are formulated in a way that they remove the drawback of the white cast by reducing the physical filters and balance it with chemical filters, without compromising with the UV protection that you receive from the final product.
5. How much SUNSCREEN do I need to apply?
You need to apply 2 mg /cm² to get optimum sun protection. Always be generous with your sunscreen application!
To get the exact protection as claimed by your sunscreen’s label, you need to use enough of it. If you’re using a sunscreen with SPF 30 but take half or one-fourth of the amount you actually need, you might be getting SPF of 15 or 7.
An easy way to make sure you’re applying enough is to follow the Three Fingers Rule – two for face and one for the neck.
6. Is having SPF in makeup enough?
Makeup with SPF is generally not enough unless,
- They have broad-spectrum protection
- You go generous and apply the same amount as you’d do in sunscreen. And no one uses that much amount of foundation!
7. Applied SPF 15 over SPF 30. Does that equal to SPF 45?
Applying sunscreen and then using products that have SPF in it does give you better sun protection. But it doesn’t add up algebraically. SPF15 + SPF30 is never equal to SPF 45. It would give you the protection of SPF 30 only.
8. don’t neglect the eyes
Don’t forget to use sunscreen on the area around your eyes and lids as that’s where the signs of ageing start showing at its earliest. Also, unprotected sun exposure to UV rays would worsen your undereye circles.
9. Don’t forget your lips
Lips have no melanin, which makes them more susceptible to sun damage caused by UV exposure. With regular sun exposure, your lips get thinner. You can either get a lip balm that has SPF of 30 at least or apply your regular face SPF over the lips too. We constantly lick our lips and eat/drink which rubs off the sunscreen so be mindful of constant reapplication.
10. Is the Heat produced by Sunscreens harmful?
The amount of heat produced from the conversion of UV rays by a sunscreen is very small and does not have any wrong impact on your skin.
Bonus Fact: Always remember we need protection from UV rays and they’re present even during cloudy days and winters, even when the sun isn’t.
These are the few sunscreen facts you should know and follow religiously to protect your skin from skin cancer and keep it healthy sans discoloration, dull skin and sunburns.