For most people, sunscreen should only be applied on sunny days. However, this cannot be farther from the truth. You should wear sunscreen every time you step out and even when you are staying indoors. This skincare product is very important to shield you against damages the Sun can cause to your skin.
In this article, you will find out why using sunscreen is so important, the types of sunscreen we have, and how to apply it.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Sunscreen?
Sunscreen offers various benefits ranging from shielding us from harmful sun rays to keeping our skin tone even.
In this section, you will find a detailed explanation of the importance of sunscreen.
1. Protects Your Skin from Sun
Ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun are very harmful to the skin. The Ozone layer acts like a shield that helps reduce the number of harmful rays that reaches our atmosphere. However, due to industrialization, this ozone layer is badly depleted. This means you are now more exposed to harmful sun rays than ever before. When UV rays come in contact with the skin, they cause skin damage that might be severe in some people.
Using sunscreen protects your skin from these harmful rays the Sun emits. Sunscreen prevents UV rays from penetrating the skin, protecting it from sunburn and other sun damages. Some sunscreen protects the skin against either UVA or UVB. However, sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” protect the skin from both UV rays.
2. Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is very common, especially in the United States. A study shows that 1 in 5 Americans get skin cancer. Being exposed to sun rays without protection can lead to skin cancer. Exposure to the Sun also exacerbates the effect of already existing skin conditions. So, if you have acne, inflammations, or any other skin condition, just staying in the Sun without protection will make them worse.
Regular use of sunscreen will reduce your chances of ever getting skin cancer. It protects you from the Sun’s UV rays which is a major contributor to skin cancer.
3. Prevents Premature Aging
Aging is a natural process that occurs as each day passes by. However, this process can be influenced by external factors causing you to age faster. Factors such as the Sun’s radiation, pollution, etc., play a major role in premature aging. 90% of visible signs of aging have been linked to the Sun’s UV rays.
When you are exposed to Ultraviolet rays from the Sun, the collagen present in your skin gets damaged. This results in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your face. UV rays also damage melanocytes (these are pigment-producing cells present in the skin), causing the skin to produce more melanin than needed. This eventually leads to hyperpigmentation.
Using sunscreen prevents the Sun from beating down on your delicate skin, protecting it from these damages, which sometimes are irreversible.
4. Makes the Skin Healthy
It is not farfetched to say that the skin is healthier when protected from harmful sun rays. Your skin is a delicate organ that needs constant tending and adequate protection from external factors that might damage it. The Sun is one such factor that poses the greatest risk to your skin. Damaging skin cells and sometimes causing skin cancer which can be life-threatening in some people.
Applying sunscreen regularly protects essential proteins such as Keratin present in your skin. These proteins keep the skin healthy and smooth, giving it a certain glow and improving its function.
5. Keeps Your Complexion Even
One of the leading causes of uneven skin tone is sun damage. When the skin is exposed to too much Sun, melanocytes, which are responsible for pigment production, get damaged. This causes the skin to overproduce melanin, causing hyperpigmentation. Exposure to the Sun causes sunspots that you do not really want showing on your pretty skin. It also aggravates the effect some skin condition such as melasma has on the body.
All these damages caused by the Sun lead to an uneven skin tone. Sunscreen helps an even skin tone by protecting the skin against harmful sun rays.
What Are the Types of Sunscreen?
Sunscreens come in two major types, which are:
1. Chemical Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens have become quite a sensation nowadays. This is because they are easy to apply and comes in various forms catering to each skin type. They are made up of compounds like octinoxate or oxybenzone, which functions by converting UV rays to heat when they contact the skin. However, people with sensitive skin might get a reaction from using it.
2. Physical Sunscreen
This type of sunscreen uses mineral ingredients in deflecting UV rays from the skin. It contains active ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. A physical sunscreen is an excellent option for kids and people with sensitive skin. It is also commonly used after procedures like laser treatments.
How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for You?
There are so many sunscreens out there with varying textures. Not all of them will work for your skin type.
In this section, you will find what to look out for when choosing sunscreen.
1. Broad Spectrum
This is an important thing to check when shopping for sunscreens. The Sun’s UV rays come in two forms; UVA and UVB. While some products offer protection against both UV rays, so many others don’t. Sunscreens that will shield you from both rays are labeled “broad spectrum”. So, when picking out the sunscreen, make sure you go for one with a broad spectrum to ensure maximum protection.
2. Water Resistant
As the name implies, such a product will keep water away from your skin for some time. If you plan a vacation to the beach or the weatherman says it is going to rain later, you can consider using this. Ensure you note the specified duration of time the protection lasts.
3. Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
The Sun Protection Factor of a particular sunscreen implies the duration of protection such a product offers. It shows how well the sunscreen will absorb or bounce off sun rays. The SPF is usually written in numerical form.
For instance, if your sunscreen has an SPF of 20, this means it can protect you from the sun rays by increasing the amount of time you can spend in the sun-times 20. If you notice your skin reacts to the Sun after staying outside for 20 minutes, using sunscreen with SPF 20 increases that time to 400 minutes.
The higher SPF your sunscreen has, the more time you can stay in the Sun.
4. Active Ingredients
It is good to note the active ingredients present in your sunscreen. Sunscreens come in two types, physical and chemical.
Chemical sunscreens are made with chemicals that react with the Sun’s UV rays as they hit the skin. However, this type of sunscreen has been known to cause skin irritation in people, especially those with sensitive skin.
Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain active ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They function by reflecting harmful ultraviolet rays from the skin.
How to Wear Sunscreens?
It has been established that sunscreen is an important skincare product. However, its application is also important as misapplying it might reduce its effectiveness.
In this section, you will discover steps you can follow in applying sunscreen to your skin.
1. Use Sunscreen with SPF 30 or Higher
The first step in using sunscreen correctly is ensuring you choose the best. Sunscreens have varying Sun Protection Factor. Ensure you choose one that has an SPF of at least 30. This will guarantee you are protected against the sun rays for a longer period. Also, confirm if the sunscreen has a broad spectrum. Broad Spectrum implies that your sunscreen can protect you against both UVA and UVB.
2. Apply a Thick Layer
When applying sunscreen, ensure you use at least a tablespoon of sunscreen. By doing this, you will get all the protection you need.
3. Apply Directly On Your Face
It is common practice to squeeze sunscreen on your palm before rubbing it on your face. However, your face might not absorb much of the needed product by doing this. Squeeze sunscreen directly on your face and even out with your hand. This will ensure the product is evenly distributed and absorbed into the skin.
4. Use Sunscreen before Moisturizer
When layering skincare products, important ones should come closer to the skin. If you use chemical sunscreen, you should be applying it before layering on other products. However, you can skip this step if you use physical sunscreen.
5. Apply Sunscreen When Going Out
To stay protected from the Sun always, you should apply sunscreen every time you are going out. Even when it does not look sunny outside, do not skip sunscreen. UV rays are ever-present, whether it is cloudy or sunny. Ensure you apply sunscreen at all times.
Sunscreen is an important skincare product you should never skip in your skincare routine. The Sun is associated with most skin damages that lead to premature aging. If you want your skin to stay healthy and young, ensure you use sunscreen regularly. In this article, you have seen how important sunscreen is, the types of sunscreen we have and how to use them properly.
When next you are shopping for sunscreen, keep these details in mind to help you make the best selection.