- Health & Wellness
Sunburnt? Not You!
Summer sun can wreak havoc on your skin. Choose the right sunscreen to keep it safe
The skincare product every dermatologist swears by, come rain or shine, is sunscreen. Don’t skimp on how much and how often you wear it. A study published by an Australian researcher in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that those under the age of 55 who frequently slathered on sunscreen showed 24 per cent less signs of ageing than others.
Regular and proper application of sunscreen keeps skin wrinkle-free, reduces spots and minimizes the risk of skin cancer. Here are a few pointers to remember while selecting sunscreens that will offer you optimum protection.
Read the label
Before picking up a sunscreen, read the fine print. Look for a sunscreen that is labelled ‘broad spectrum’, which will shield against harmful ultraviolet radiations. Make a note of the active ingredients your sunscreen is made of.
For instance, there are physical sunblocks containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that deflect UVA and UVB rays and create a barrier to the skin. On the other hand, there are chemical sunscreens that help absorb these rays, react with them and guard your skin. However, the latter is likely to cause irritation or allergies to sensitive skin types. Most brands are a blend of both of these ingredients in order to neutralize sun damage on skin.
Choose the right SPF
The SPF factor in a sunscreen determines how effective it is to prevent sunburn caused by the UV rays. Indian skin is rich with melanin and has an inherent SPF of about 2 to 4.This quality, however, doesn’t make it completely sun-resistant. To make up for the lack, doctors suggest a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and a maximum of 50 for brown skin types.
Lay it on thick
Of all the products in your skincare arsenal, sunscreen should get the most playtime. Apply a teaspoon of it on your face and neck and then a shot-glass of it on the rest of your body. Ensure that you take the time to apply sunscreen to areas that are often neglected—such as the top of your ears, feet and hands. Re-apply every 2 hours as no sunscreen lasts for an entire day. Don’t step out immediately after applying. Give the product at least 15-20 minutes to work its magic.
Mind your skin type
If you have sensitive skin, pick a sunscreen that is formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as these ingredients form a layer to protect the skin, and ensure it doesn’t burn or sting your eyes. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, then stick to sunscreens that are labelled ‘non-comedogenic’, which means that the product won’t block your pores. For dry skin, pick a product with hydrating ingredients—such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides to leave your skin moisturized.
Summer days at the beach, or spent lazing around in the pool pose multiple threats to your skin. Not only do UV rays penetrate through water, but are also reflected by it. The chlorine content in the water can further harm your skin.
Choose a sunscreen that is labelled ‘water-resistant’ and specifies whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming. Take care to apply it 15 minutes before plunging into the pool and re-apply every 40 minutes. Remember, ‘water-resistant’ is not essentially ‘water-proof’ or ‘sweat-proof’.
Avoid stepping into the pool between 10 am to 3 pm when the UV concentration is the highest. Take care to wash off the chlorine with fresh water and soap immediately after your swim.