Not sure how to pick the best sunscreen for your skin type ? Not sure what SPF to buy ? 

We all are aware about the importance of sunscreen, but many of us aren’t doing it properly or do not know the correct sunscreen for our skin type. Sunscreen shields your skin from UV rays like an umbrella.

But, it’s also important to remember that no sunscreen is enough and can completely protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun. So it’s important to always reapply your sunscreen throughout the day, after every 2 hours, wear protective clothing (hats, sun-protective swimwear, suncoats, etc.) and always seek shade.

Nowadays, just using sunscreen isn’t enough, along with that certain parameters are needed to be taken care of while choosing our sunscreen such as skin types (dry, oily, normal), SPF, broad spectrum, water resistant, photostabilty and PA rating.

Some cosmetics contain sunscreen but they do not provide enough Spf protection to our skin, so it is essential for our skin that we must daily use sunscreen to protect it. Moreover, the cosmetics containing sunscreen, we use, probably, we are not putting it on thick enough or in enough places for it to act as a true sunscreen.

Why use sunscreen?

Sunscreen protects your skin against ultraviolet radiation, which causes damage. Ultra violet radiation leads to skin cancer, sunburns, skin infections, acne, early signs of skin ageing and hyperpigmentation. So, it is our best defense against all those conditions caused by UV rays.

Parameters for selecting your sunscreen:

While buying your sunscreen it is important and as well as necessary to go through these parameters : 

  • SPF (Sun Protecting Factor) – Prefer Spf 30 or higher, for better protection.
  • Broad Spectrum sunscreen – Look for a label which says, protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Water resistant (while sweating and swimming) – One application of sunscreen protects in the water for 40-80 minutes.
  • Photostabilty – Look out for a sunscreen that is photostable to ensure that it will not breakdown when exposed to sunlight. Octocrylene, bemotrizinol and bisoctrizole are photostable agents which combined with other chemical absorbing agents improve the overall photostability of the sunscreen product.
  • PA rating –  It protects against UVA rays which is indicated by the PA rating, the more number of +’s in front of PA, the better the protection offered by the sunscreen.

For dry skin:

If you have dry skin, look for hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides,  moisturising cream or ointment.

For sensitive skin :

If you have sensitive skin, look for a physical, or mineral, sunscreen which features zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect skin, forming a barrier to protect you. Look for products with the active ingredient titanium dioxide.

For oily and acne prone skin:

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you should be diligent about getting sunscreen that’s labeled oil-free or non-comedogenic, which means that it has been shown not to block pores.
For ex : use a water-based sunscreen which do not cause your skin to break out like oil-based creams.

Benefits of using Sunscreens:

Sunscreens can prevent sunburn, reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, and help prevent early signs of skin aging, acne and prevents dark spots.

How to use Sunscreen?

Apply an ounce of sunscreen to the exposed skin whenever you are going outside in a daylight. You must apply sunscreen on your face area, neck area, ears, hands, feet, shoulders, behind the neck and protect your lips with Spf 30 lipbalm.

When to use sunscreen?

Sunscreen should be applied 20-25 minutes before stepping outside in the sun because it takes certain amount of time to be absorbed by the sun.

Everyday, its necessary to apply enough sunscreen to any exposed area of skin. Because you’re still exposed to UV rays whether the weather is sunny, cloudy, or rainy.

If you are going to be out in the sun for a few hours, using sunscreen once in the morning isn’t enough. You must reapply it after sweating or getting wet and after every two hours of outdoor sun. But if you are working indoors then applying sunscreen once in the morning is good enough to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays.

Stay indoors when UV radiation is at its highest peak, that is, between noon and early evening. (12 pm to 4 pm). Wear suncoat while going outdoors. Wear sunglasses when you step out.

Wear a scarf, a cap to protect yourself from the sun.

But, if your skin is already visible to sun damage, you must opt for a sunscreen that contains ingredients like antioxidants, which will simultaneously help your skin do some nice things and protect your skin from more damage.

What is SPF in Sunscreen?

SPF stands for Sun Protecting Factor. The higher the Spf, better is the protection against the harmful rays of Ultra Violet radiation.

The SPF value on sunscreen indicates to the amount of sun protection that it provides to your skin. It’s a measure of how much more protection you’ll have with the sunscreen compared to what’s naturally in your skin. 


An SPF of 30 means that the sunscreen is giving you protection 30 times. But it doesn’t mean that we must look out for suncreen containing SPF 30,000. Because SPF is not a measure of how long you can be in the sun without reapplying as higher SPFs wear off just as quickly and easily as lower ones.

Sunscreen comes in different forms such as:

1. Creams– best for dry skin.

2. Gels – good for areas with hair (like the scalp)

3. Sticks– helps around the eye area.

4. Sprays – can make it hard to know if you’ve applied enough, and there’s a chance that kids could breathe in the fumes. Some sprays can also be flammable so you need to avoid sparks or flames.

Related article : Difference between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreens

Warning:

  • Sunscreen should not contain dangerous ingredients such as oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor that causes allergic reactions.
  • Spray and powder sunscreens are basically mineral-based sunscreen and contain nanoparticles that can enter the bloodstream and cause various health issues. Avoid such products and stick to cream-based sunscreens.
  • Don’t buy sunscreen that sting your face or body. If your sunscreen ‘bites’ you, then it’s time to throw it out and buy something that suits your skin type.
  • Don’t use suncreens that contain PABA also known as para-aminobenzoic acid, if injested more than approximately 300 mg/day such as nausea, skin rashes and irritation. It absorbs UV-B light, which can cause skin damage and painful sunburn. If you are on any anti-biotic medication, avoid injestion of PABA as it can also interfere with the antibiotic medication namely sulfa drugs.