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What is sunscreen? How does it work?

There is a different form of sunscreen for each skin type. Using the right sunscreen is the best way to get sunscreen's benefits for your skin.

5 min read
What is sunscreen? How does it work?

The name itself suggests that sunscreen is used to protect your skin from the damage and aging of harmful UV rays of the sun. Sunblock cream for the face and body contains the active ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which protect the skin by reflecting the sun's rays. Titanium dioxide is often a primary ingredient in sunscreen as it works well as a UV filtering ingredient. Some chemical sunscreen acts as catalyzed and converts the UV rays in heat which is then released by the skin.

Why do you need sunscreen?

The depletion in the ozone layer has increased the UV rays in the environment. This increases our risk of skin damage. Due to high radiation the chances of contracting skin cancer increases. Overexposure to the sunlight also makes the wrinkles and aging lines more visible and prominent. Sunscreen is part of the non-negotiable skincare club for all the right reasons, it saves you from sunburn and dark spots to rapid skin ageing and even the risk of skin cancer. While most people, even those who hate the application process, religiously layer a dollop on their face for the sake of their skin. Therefore age and gender do not matter for the use of sunscreen. Be it men or women, girls or boys everyone needs sunscreen.

What are the types of sunscreen?

There are mainly 2 types of sunscreen, chemical-based and mineral-based. But there are many sunscreens depending on your skin type.

Sunscreen for dry skin

Sunscreen for dry skin should be with SPF 30 (sun protection formula). The sunscreen with the moisturizer is recommended for the dry skin. The sunscreen lotion for dry skin can be applied throughout the year for better sun protection.

Sunscreen for oily skin

SPF 50 is a recommended Sunscreen for oily skin. Women with oily skin must opt for Gel-based sunscreens or water-based sunscreens to tone down the shine on a forehead caused by sweat or oil during summer. Choose a light, oil-free sunscreen and look for a mattifying formula that will absorb excess oil throughout the day.

Sunscreen for combination skin

SPF 25 is the best sunscreen for combination skin. SPF 15 can be used for dark skin. Sunscreen for Indian skin can be from SPF 20 to 25. Face moisturizer with SPF 50 can be used for fair skin.

Sunscreen for sensitive skin

One looking sunscreen for sensitive skin should avoid sunscreen that contains aphelia ingredients. Choose a fragrance-free and hypoallergenic sunscreen. If your skin is sensitive and prone to irritation, avoid products with alcohol, preservatives, fragrances, and oxybenzone. Sunscreen with vitamin E will help to reduce the inflammation. One should always do a patch test before applying the sunscreen

Sunscreen for acne-prone skin

It's not uncommon to find hesitation among the acne-prone group. Many sunscreens come with thick and gunky formulations, and can easily clog your pores and increase acne. That's a reason you need sunscreen for acne-prone skin. The light tinted sunscreen with matte formula is better. It won't leave white patches on your skin. Now days even non-comedogenic sunscreen can be used as they do not clog the pores and prevent further irritation, pimples, and blemished areas on your skin.

Sunscreen for Normal Skin

Normal skin type people can choose from a wide range of sunscreen depending on the climatic condition and duration. A Person with normal skin can choose a sunscreen with the SPF 30 to SPF 70 depending on where one needs to go and for what duration.

Uses and benefits of using sunscreen

Benefits of using sunscreen include protecting skin from UV rays. The depletion of the ozone layer has increased our risk of sun damage from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen blocks these rays, greatly reducing the likelihood of sunburn. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. It also lowers the risk of contracting skin cancer. By applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancers by 50%.

Why do Women Need Sunscreen?

Sun damage from UV rays causes photoaging of the skin. This is characterized by a thick, leathery look; discolouration; and a breakdown of collagen. This contributes to lines, sagging and wrinkles. Studies show that those below age 55 who apply sunscreen regularly have 24% less chance of developing these signs of premature aging than those who don’t apply sunscreen. Anti-ageing sunscreen can be used after 30 years of age. Even applying sunscreen for face and body helps prevent discolouration and dark spots from sun damage, helping you maintain a smoother and more even skin tone. The heat excreted from cooking food can also cause discolouration and pigmentation. To avoid that women should prefer to use sunscreen lotion.

When to Apply Sunscreen?

Whether it's summer, winter, monsoon sunscreen is for daily use. Sunlight cream for the face can be applied on a daily basis when at home to prevent the sunlight that comes through the windows.

Normally, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. If you work indoors and sit away from windows, you may not need a second application. Be aware of how often you step out of the house or office.

Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin. Snow, sand, and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays.

How to Apply Sunscreen?

If you don’t use enough of sunscreen or use it incorrectly, it’s just not going to work. You are leaving yourself open to premature aging or worse, skin cancer.

Use a thick layer. Take a tablespoon of sunscreen of at least an SPF 25 on your face, and about two ounces for your body. Unless you slather on a thick layer, you’re probably just getting an SPF 10 out of your SPF 30.

Apply sunscreen directly onto your face instead of squeezing a giant blob onto your hands and applying it. This technique helps it absorb more quickly and evenly.

Put sunscreen on first, then your moisturizer. Best to get it right on your clean, dry skin. Anyways, this is not necessary if you use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunscreen.

Chemical sunscreens take time to be absorbed into the skin to work. So they are more effective if you apply them 20 minutes before going out.

Many sunscreens become unstable or ineffective when exposed to sunlight for a longer duration. so you have to use more every 2 hours.

If you go out in the morning for any occasion then by lunchtime your morning application of sunscreen is already useless. So touch up with a mineral-based powdered sunscreen that has an SPF.

When at home you can use ayurvedic sunscreen or coconut oil as sunscreen as it is considered to be a natural sunscreen.

Side Effects of Using Sunscreen

Some sunscreen may cause irritation due to minerals present in it. So one should always apply to a smaller area and check for any redness or irritation symptoms. Spray sunscreen can cause irritation if mistakenly they are sprayed into eyes. During using this sunscreen one has to be careful. Anyway, any major side effect due to sunscreen is rare.

So here are a few points to recap and sum it up for you. The perfect sunscreen for you can be chosen depending on your skin type. Higher SPF sunscreen does not guarantee better protection. It is important that you apply sunscreen frequently before you go out in the sun. Try considering a broad-spectrum sunscreen if you spend a lot of time in the scorching sun. One can even consult a dermatologist for selecting a sunscreen.

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