No matter the season, sunscreen in your skincare is non-negotiable. Typically, available in the format of a lotion – this formulation shields your skin from harmful UV rays. That’s right. Sunscreen helps prevent sun-induced rashes, burns, and hyperpigmentation and keeps the dermis happy and healthy.
Industry experts suggest that one should apply a generous amount of sunscreen or sunblock, 15 minutes before stepping out. And reapply every two hours on prolonged sun exposure!
Now that we know the sunscreen basics like the back of our hands, let’s delve deeper and expand our knowledge on sunscreens. In this article, we attempt to address all the burning questions related to the varying degrees of sun protection offered, types of sunblock and the different ways to double down on sun protection for the skin. But first, let’s understand what the acronym SPF, scribbled on a sunscreen’s packaging, stands for!
What Is SPF?
SPF is the acronym for Sun Protection Factor —a metric of protection offered to the skin, against UVB rays. Most industry experts direct using an SPF 30 or higher which blocks a staggering 97% of the UVB rays. Alternatively, SPF 50 offers protection against 98% of the harmful UV radiation.
What Should You Look For In A Sunscreen?
There are a couple of parameters against which you ought to test drive your sunscreen for skin formulation. Right from the ease of wearability to formulations which don’t suffocate the skin, keep scrolling for the pointers you need to bear in mind!
- Wearability: Admittedly, applying sunscreens can be a task, especially when you are on the go. This is the reason why sunscreen sticks have become exceptionally popular in the beauty industry. Sunscreen sticks are nifty li’l tubes, compact and easy to use. Furthermore, they even come in handy when you need to top up SPF every 2 hours outside.
- Sunscreen Formulas That Bode Well For Your Skin Type: When you are weaving sunscreen into your routine, ensure to be thorough with the contents of its packaging label. Case in point: If you grapple with acne or oily skin, look for non-comedogenic, breathable and fragrance-free creams. This manoeuvre will prevent the flaring up of existing or medicated conditions. Additionally, sunscreen brewed with alleviating agents like green tea, Centella Asiatica and ice plant reduces episodes of inflammation and redness for sensitive or acne-affected skin. If you have dry skin, you can double down on hydration with a hydrating sunscreen. That’s right, there is no shortage of formulas in the market featuring humectant HA that administers your skin with a dose of hydration while granting it solid sun protection.
- The Feel Of The Product: The sunscreen in your daily skincare routine should be lightweight and non-greasy. Additionally, you must avoid products that make for a splotchy application or leave a white cast on the dermis.
What Are The Different Forms Of Sunscreens Available In The Market?
While we are all privy to the lotion variant of this vanity holy grail, novel formats in the form of powders and sticks have emerged. As discussed earlier, the sunscreen sticks are convenient, frills-free and can be used while you are on the go. Sunscreen powders are known to have a consistency similar to setting powder which easily veils visible creases and does away with the extra shine on the face.
What Are The Two Different Types Of Sunscreen Available In The Market The two categories of sunscreens that have saturated the beauty market are chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens. Let’s understand the basic difference between the two variants.
- Mineral Sunscreens: Mineral sunscreens or physical sunscreens are infused with ingredients like zinc Oxide and titanium dioxide— and form a physical barrier atop the dermis to prevent UV rays from percolating the surface. These variants are often deemed fit for people who grapple with sensitive skin conditions but may not be as inconspicuous on application, as their counterpart. These potent formulations also offer protection against UVA radiations that may lead to the early appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and photoaging.
- Chemical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens boast ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone which serve as filters and absorb harmful UV radiations. These formulations are easy to apply, sit comfy on the skin and don’t leave behind the dreadful white cast. Talk about a win-win-win!
How To Wear Sunscreen The Right Way?
As touched upon briefly in the introduction— you should apply sunscreen roughly 15 to 20 minutes before stepping outdoors and reapply every 2 hours or so. There has been a lot of discussion around the amount of sunscreen one should use for a single wear. To settle all debates, experts recommend the two-finger test to help discern the quantity! The length of sunscreen sitting along your middle and index finger is the perfect amount to cover your face and limbs. Alternatively, the shot glass rule recommends that one shot glass or 44 ml is enough to cover the entire body.
Rain or shine, you cannot skimp on your sun protectant. This holy grail in your vanity prevents sun-induced damage in the form of rashes, burns, pigmentation and rare cases, skin cancer. While a slew of sunscreen lotions are available in the market, newer formats in the form of sunscreen sticks and powder have been slowly gaining popularity on the beauty scene.
This can be attributed to the ease of application, their compactness and other benefits offered by the two. Other than the format, sunscreens can be broadly classified into mineral and chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreen boasts zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in the brew, which prevents harmful UV rays from seeping deep into the dermis.
Additionally, these formulations also protect the skin from year-round issues like dark spots and fine lines. Chemical sunscreens, unlike their counterparts, absorb the UV radiations using filters like oxybenzone, avobenzone and turn them into heat.