The sun ray’s make us feel good especially during winters. But it’s a one sided love story as it turns out that prolonged unprotected sun exposure, damages our skin and causes wrinkles and spots.
In fact most of the skin symptoms that we ignore as age related issues are actually caused by sun damage. Most of us always wonder what are “Sunscreen Dos and Don’ts”. Unfortunately sun damage isn’t only skin deep. UV radiation alters the actual DNA of our skin cells, causing lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and even cancer. For adequate protection against skin cancers and other skin related damages, dermatologists recommend that everyone should use sunscreen daily year-round, in any weather.
Infants should be kept out of the sun or protected with clothing and an umbrella. Even when it’s cloudy outside, you can still get sunburn through cloud cover. So wearing a sunscreen daily is important for your skin not only for its beauty but also for its health and safety.
What is SPF (Sun Protection Factor) in sunscreen all about?
There are mind boggling options available for sunscreens with SPFs ranging from 15+ to 100+ in any drug store. While the numbers are spinning wildly out of control, most of us are still confused about what SPF we should be applying. So here I’ll try to explain about SPFs.
Two types of sun’s ultraviolet radiation, damage the skin.
- UVB Rays – It is the chief culprit behind sunburn,
- UVA Rays – It penetrate the skin more deeply and are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other light induced effects of aging. They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own.
Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB. No sunscreen will protect you 100 percent from both UVA and UVB rays. Many of us mistakenly buy a higher sun protection factor (SPF) thinking it means more protection from sun’s harmful rays. But even high SPFs are not protecting you from UVA rays.
SPF actually refers to UVB rays, those which cause you to burn. So the middle ground is to try to use products that are lower in SPF and labelled as broad spectrum to get the best coverage.
Following are the most important do’s and don’ts of sunscreen:-
1. Do apply a sunscreen with an SPF 15 – 30+ everyday, and an SPF 30+ before participating in outdoor activities.
2. Most importantly, apply it liberally on all the exposed body parts. If the amount is scarce the sunscreen will not work up to the potential that it claims.
3. Do apply sunscreen on the ears, back of the neck and lips (a lip balm with an SPF at least 15) also. These are the most easily forgotten areas when it comes to applying sunscreen.
4. Do check the expiration date on your sunscreen bottle. Some sunscreens break down quickly, especially the ones that give you UVA protection. So it shouldn’t sit in your cabinet for too long.
5. Do choose a long-lasting sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Do reapply often (at least every 2 hours). Even waterproof sunscreens can be easily rubbed off by towels, sand and clothes.
Sunscreen is far from ‘once and done’ application. No matter which brand or how expensive, if you are staying out in the sun for prolonged period, you got to reapply the sunscreen.
7. Do remind all the men of the house to apply sunscreen as studies show that men generally pass it off as unnecessary.
8. Do look for the ingredients zinc, titanium dioxide, avenobenzone and Mexoryl SX, all of which are powerful UVA blockers that remain on the surface of the skin instead of absorbing into the body.
1. Don’t use spray sunscreen. Although convenient, these sprays make it easy to miss spots or apply too little. Furthermore, sprays can be easily inhaled and can contain toxic ingredients.
2. Don’t use only makeup as sunscreen. Wear sunscreen under the makeup for a better solution. The easiest approach is to use a facial moisturizer that already has sunscreen in it.
3. Don’t choose a product that includes ingredients that may affect hormones and/or are potentially carcinogenic, such as oxybenzone, Octinoxate or artificial fragrances. Stay clear of retinyl palmitate too, a form of Vitamin A, which may speed up the growth of skin tumors and lesions, according to FDA studies.
4. Don’t waste your money on sunscreens claiming an SPF higher than 50 +. According to FDA there is no evidence such products provide better protection against harmful rays.
5. Don’t put sunscreen on an infant without consulting with the pediatrician.
The sun is an inevitable and enjoyable part of life, so daily use of a broad spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen (SPF 30+ for extended stays outdoors), applied liberally, must be a key part of any comprehensive sun protection program.
It is also recommended to seek shade from 10 a.m to 4 p.m; avoiding sunburn, covering up with clothing, a broad brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses and you are ready to go.
So, now we know what are “Sunscreen Dos and Don’ts”. Don’t We !!