Stay Sun Safe: 5 Sunscreen Basics That You Should Know


Ultraviolet radiation emanating from the sun is the primary cause of sunburn, eye damage and skin damage. The UV rays can also cause skin cancer. The UV rays which are invisible to the human eyes and which form a very little part of the sun’s rays can cause extensive damage to your skin. Also different skin types react differently to sun rays. It therefore becomes very essential that you choose your sunscreen wisely.

Here are some basics that you should remember when choosing a sunscreen:

1 . Why Should You Apply A Sunscreen?

-Sun exposure for even a couple of minutes may result in your skin becoming red, hot and slightly painful.

-People with very sensitive skins may experience blistering or even peeling.

-Sun exposure for prolonged time without the use of a sunscreen may also cause skin cancer.

-Using the right sunscreen product is your first step in lowering the chances for sunburn and prevention of skin cancer or malignant melanoma.

2 . What Are The Types Of Sunscreens?

-Sunscreens today come in forms of lotion, gels, ointments or even sprays.

-PABA (para-amino benzoic acid) and cinnamates are chemical sunscreen ingredients which tend to absorb UV rays and convert the sun’s radiation into heat energy.

-The other types are the physical sunscreens (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide).

-These chemicals usually deflect the rays before they penetrate and harm your skin.

-But the challenge is to find the right type of sunscreen depending upon your age, skin sensitivity and exposure to the sun.

3 . How To Choose The Right SPF?

-For short time sun exposure, say if you are outside only for few minutes, choose a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.This will filters out about 93 percent of UV radiation.

-If your sunscreen is SPF 20 that means your skin, which would burn in the sun after 10 minutes, is protected for 200 minutes.

-SPF 30 filters out up to 97 percent of the sun’s UV radiation; SPF 50 filters out up to 98 percent.

-Dermatologists usually recommend using a SPF15 or SPF30 sunscreen. Higher SPFs do not always ensure more protection.

4 . Which Sunscreen Suits Your Skin Type?

-Sunscreens contain moisturizers and people with dry skin can readily benefit from them.

-People with oily skin should opt for gel based sunscreens as they are less sticky and less greasy.

-People with skin allergies should avoid sun screens or use them as suggested by their doctor.

-People with very fair skin should always choose SPF of 30+.

-Darker skinned people may not feel the need to use sunscreens. However they should still use it since it prevents sun damage, wrinkling and risk of skin cancer.

5 . Do Kids Need A Sunscreen?

-Kids require sun protection as much as the adults do or even more, since they play outdoors for longer hours.

– It is usually advised not to use sunscreens for babies less than 6 months of age.

-For older children, you should always use a sunscreen.

-Use the milder sun screens from a reputed brand and go for those not containing zinc-oxide.

-Always look for a sunscreen with SPF 30 which will block both UVA and UVB rays

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In a tropical country like India which is full of pollution and hot sun in the summers, sunblock is a necessity. Even if it’s cold or cloudy outside, you still need sunscreen because up to 40 % of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. We also know that a beach holiday might leave you with a bad sun tan. So use the right type of sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful effects of sun.Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!

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