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Here's Why You Need To Wear Sunscreen - Everyday

Updated: Mar 12, 2023


Learn all there is to know about sunscreen and sun protection and why it is so important for your skin's health - Product recommendations & reviews included

Now that I think of all the years that have gone by without using a layer of sunscreen, I honestly feel a shudder.

Little overly dramatic? Not quite.


The benefits of sunscreen seem to have been brushed under the carpet for many years and no one seemed to have stressed its importance enough, until lately.


Sunscreen was almost restricted to just using it when you go to the beach or on a hot summer day. Especially for someone with dusky skin like me, it was always a struggle to find a good sunscreen that wasn't going to leave behind white streaky patches. Most creams were also way too thick and greasy for my liking and hence, I preferred to stay away.


But now I've definitely changed my mind, and hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a different opinion too.


So let's start with the basics, what really is sunscreen or sunblock?

It is as simple as it sounds - it is a product that helps block out the sun's harmful UV rays either by absorbing or deflecting them to prevent them from entering your skin's layers and damaging your cells.


Adding this to your skincare routine is more of a preventive care method and has multiple benefits -

  • Prevents sunburn and tanning

  • It protects your skin from harmful UV rays that causes many skin issues

  • Prevents premature aging, wrinkling, and sagging of skin

  • Helps maintain an even skin tone by avoiding issues such as hyperpigmentation and sunspots

  • Lowers the risk of skin cancer and other skin concerns


 

Types of Sunscreen


You can choose between two types of sunscreen as well - chemical and physical. They both do the same job and do not differ too much in terms of their benefits.


Chemical products absorb the rays and turn them into heat in order to protect your skin while physical or mineral sunscreen creates a barrier to deflect the rays and prevents them from entering your skin's layers. The major difference is only seen in the active ingredient and the application.


It is important to note that sunscreen is an active product that disappears or gets absorbed a while after application. Most creams only last for about 2 hours after which they need to be reapplied.


 

What is SPF?


SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor.


Melanin that is present in the skin has a natural SPF of around 5. People with lighter skin tones lack this natural SPF and hence might need higher levels of SPF creams for protection which might range all the way up to SPFs above 50.

If you do tend to step out into the open quite often and during the peak afternoon hours, it is better to go with a higher level of SPF.


To understand the level of SPF needed, you have to first check the level of UV rays that you might be exposed to. There are multiple apps that allow you to grade this as well. If the UV level is between 0-2 you can use a minimal and light sunscreen, if it is between 3-7 it is recommended to use a product with an SPF higher than 15 and if the UV level is above 8 then it is advised to use an SPF level of 50 or more for a good level of protection.


Needing a layer of sunscreen shouldn't be restricted to just the days that seem hot. The impact of UVA and UVB rays is seen even on days that aren't typically warm.


 

What does PA++ mean?


You might have noticed this being used on many products that you use as sunscreen - but what does it mean?

It is nothing but a protection index that was developed from a Japanese method of grading based on the persistent pigment darkening (PPD) scale. Most brands use this scale to show the level of UVA protection given by the ingredients used in their product. More the number of plus signs more the level of protection. However, this is not common among products found in the USA.


 

Harmful Effects


Here are some of the harmful effects of NOT wearing sunscreen -


  • For those of you who have oily skin, get ready for more clogged pores. Not wearing sunblock increases the natural sebum production of the skin. UV rays tend to dry the skin which activates more oil production leading to clogged pores and more acne.


  • The most common issues caused by sun damage include hyperpigmentation and sunspots which are very difficult to soothe out and sometimes can cause long-lasting damage to your skin. This is caused due to excess and uneven production of melanin caused by cell damage by UV rays.


  • Uv rays also damage the layers of collagen in your skin through free radicals which can cause premature wrinkling and saggy skin.


  • The carcinogenic effects are also caused by these harmful UV rays as they penetrate deep into the layers of our skin and cause cell damage and mutations.


 

How much to use?


The quantity of sunscreen used is also important. The ideal application is the three-finger rule. Apply a smear of sunscreen on each finger. One for your forehead, one for the right side, and the third one for the left side. This will give an even layer of protection. This might seem like a lot of products but it isn't.


Don't forget to apply the product to your ears and neck as well.


 

If you've finally opened your eyes to learn more about the actual essentials in your skincare journey, you would have definitely found sunscreen to be at the top of that list.


Moving forward, now that you know why and how to use it, you also need to know how to pick the right product for your skin type,

Choosing a product from the store aisle is a rather overwhelming task considering the variety of options to choose from, but to make this a little simpler, all you have to do is be able to narrow it down to just a few options that you can pick from.


There are many categories of things that need to be kept in mind while choosing sunscreen for yourself.


 

How To Choose Sunscreen?


Based on Ingredients


  • Avoid using products that have oils and added fragrances in them. These ingredients are counterproductive to the main aim of using sunscreen.

  • Physical or Mineral Sunscreens can be Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide. These are not absorbed by your skin. These are better for children and people with sensitive skin.

  • Chemical or organic sunscreens include a range of chemicals that most of us aren't even able to pronounce and also some of them may be absorbed by our epidermis. These are easier to apply and are more natural-looking as they are transparent and do not cause white patches.

  • Avoid products that contain Oxybenzone, Oxinoxate, and Ocrylene. These are not only harmful to your skin but also destroy the coral reefs and harm the environment.



Based on the spectrum of protection


  • Pick a product that protects your skin from three harmful types of rays - UVA, UVB as well as visible light. These are called broad-spectrum sunscreens.

  • SPF 15 gives up to 93% protection, SPF 30 gives 97% and SPF 50 is expected to give protection of up to 98%. Anything about 30 is a good option.



Based on exposure


  • If you're out in the open more often and need longer hours of protection it is better to choose spray-based sunscreens

  • If you're usually indoors and prefer a natural or matte finish you can choose gel or lotion-based sunscreens.

  • If you're living in a humid area, it is better to use a higher level of SPF as well as one that is water-resistant

  • If you're staying outdoors for a longer period of time it is better to use chemical sunscreen but for everyday use, you can go ahead and use a mild physical sunscreen.



Based on skin type


  • If you have oily skin it is recommended to use a gel or light lotion

  • If you have dry or mature skin it is better to pick a cream-based sunscreen

  • If you have sensitive skin it is better to use a physical or mineral sunscreen


 

Product Recommendations



Other products


Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 36, Avene Day Protector UV EX SPF 30 PA, Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Spf50+ Suncros Sunscreen SPF 50+


 

You now have the perfect complete sunscreen guide!


Love,

Rae




* As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases through the product links mentioned above

Image credits - Ksenia Kazak


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