Bring Out Your Sunscreens – It’s Flaring Hot Outside!
It seems summer is already here. Temperatures are soaring in most cities of the country and it’s time we started the summer skincare routine. One of the most important elements of summer skincare is the sunscreen. But can we just use any sunscreen that is available in the market? What type of sunscreen should one use and for how long? And what exactly is SPF? Let’s answer all your questions in this blog.
Firstly, you need to be aware of your skin type. You can choose a sunscreen only when you know your skin type. So if your skin is:
- Dry – Use a moisturizing sunscreen. A lot of sunscreens use oils and ingredients that can help moisturize the skin. Read the label before you buy the product.
- Acne or allergy prone – Avoid the chemicals! Any sunscreen that contains too many chemicals, preservatives or artificial fragrances should be off your list. Try and use some herbal alternatives.
- Dark – You still need a sunscreen. Skin tone is different from skin tan. Most people with a dark skin tone think they don’t need a sunscreen but actually they do. People with a dark skin tone should try and use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ (More on SPF explained below).
- Fair – Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ and look for the product description to verify if the sunscreen protects you against all types of UV rays (UVA, UVB, etc.)
- Ageing – You can use a sunscreen-spray. Wrinkles can make it difficult to apply sunscreen and make the surface of your skin more uneven. Hence, opt for a spray instead.
Now what exactly is SPF? SPF is Sun Protection Factor which is basically a measure of how long the sunscreen can protect your skin for. SPF 30 means that when you apply the recommended amount of sunscreen, your skin will be protected for a period 30 times longer than the usual. For example, if your skin is too sensitive and usually burns within a minute, SPF 30 will protect you for 30 minutes. If your skin is mildly sensitive and usually burns within 10 minutes, SPF 30 will protect you for 300 minutes. Similarly, SPF 15 means protection for 15 times longer and SPF 100 means protection for 100 times longer.
But, SPF only measures for how long a sunscreen can protect you from UVB rays, but not UVA rays (which are equally harmful). So while sunscreens cannot completely guarantee prevention of skin cancer, proper usage can definitely keep skin problems at bay.
If you’re still confused, to summarize, use an SPF 15 sunscreen (with minimal preservatives/chemicals) if you are going to spend some time in the sun. If you are spending too much time, use an SPF 30 instead. And that applies to exposure to the sun at any time of the year, not just the summer! So make sure you have your sunscreen on round the year!
Still confused? Visit our dermatologist now for a quick consultation. 🙂