Choosing the right sunscreen is often a tough call when there are so many options available. The process becomes as difficult as climbing a mountain when we barely have any idea of what to look for while making a sunscreen purchase.
If you can relate to the above, then continue reading. You’re about to find out some helpful tricks that’s going to help you find out your ideal sun block.
But first, let’s talk about…
Why choosing the right sunscreen is so important?
Choosing the right sunscreen is crucial to prevent the harmful UV rays from damaging our skin. Because every single day, we have to come in contact with the sun at least for once. Besides this, sunscreen also helps us in:
- Preventing skin cancers
- Reducing risks of hyperpigmentation
- Protecting us from sun sensitivity
- Preventing premature aging
Right Sunscreen Glossaries: SPF, UVA & UVB?
Before looking for the right sunscreen, you need to have a general idea about SPF, UVA and UVB.
SPF indicates “Sun Protection Factor”. In very simple terms, it’s an indicator of the amount of time the sunscreen will protect your skin from the UVB rays.
Let’s say you are using a sunscreen of SPF 30. This means, the sunscreen will give you 30 times extended protection. So, you can now stay 30 times longer in the sun compared to the time when you were without the sunscreen.
As per Food & Drug Administration, sunscreens having SPF of 15 or higher works great in preventing sun burns, slows down premature aging and prevents the risk of skin cancer.
This stands for ultraviolet A. It has a longer wavelength and is responsible for skin aging and wrinkles. Besides, it may also disrupt your immune systems.
This stands for ultraviolet B. Though it has a shorter wavelength but it is highly responsible for sunburns and skin tans.
Right Sunscreen: What to look for in the label?
Be mindful of the followings while looking for the right sunscreen:
SPF of At least 30
According to The American Academy of Dermatology, it’s better to select a sunscreen with 30 or higher SPF. But you must also know this very important fact that SPF works differently for different people. Those who have light skin are easily prone to sunburns. So, it would be much beneficial for them to choose a sunscreen with a bit higher rating than others.
Besides, you need to remember that there’s no such sunscreen that can give you a 100% protection from the sun rays. So, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Also ensure protective wears, such as hats, sunglasses etc.
This is another important thing to look for because not every sunscreen has this on it’s label. A label with “Water Resistant” indicates if it’s going to stay on a sweaty or wet skin for some time or not. Generally, the water resistance lasts up to 40 or 80 minutes.
If you love swimming then it’s a must for you because when you are in the water, you have more chance of rubbing off your sunscreen with water or your own sweat.
Water resistance doesn’t mean waterproof. So, once your swimming is done, don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen!
“Broad Spectrum” indicates the sunscreen will protect you not only from UVB but also from UVA. Thus, your protection will become way more strengthened if you have this in your sunscreen.
Most sunscreens give protection only from UVB rays because they have SPF. But you still remain vulnerable to the UVA rays that you can prevent by having Broad spectrum in your sunscreen. If you are someone who doesn’t have to spend that much time under the sun, then you can skip this.
It needs no mentioning that you must check the expiry date always while purchasing beauty and healthcare products. An expired sunscreen will result in chemical degradations. Thus, it will become less effective in giving you sun protection.
But here’s a fact that you might not know. Sunscreens do not immediately become ineffective after the expiry date. Some experts have claimed that certain sunscreen brands can be used for up to 3 years after the expiration date. However, if you feel any type of irritations or discomfort, toss it in the garbage and get yourself a new one. Because not that every sunscreen brand will work that amazing after they are expired.
Safe & Harmful Ingredients
Try looking for a mineral-based sunscreen that contains ingredients like Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide etc. These minerals create a barrier to the sun rays from penetrating your skin. So, you are well-protected for long.
On the other hand, avoid chemical sunscreens which contain ingredients like Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone etc. These chemicals absorb the sun rays first and then expel from your skin in the form of heat.
Avoid alcohol in the formulas if you have allergies. On the other hand, stay away from greasy creams if you have acne. Try consulting with your dermatologist in case of any type of confusions. Because a wrong sunscreen can make your skin even more sensitive than before.
Look for Moisture if You Have Dry Skin
Moisturizing sunscreens will work better for you in case you have dry skin. Look for ingredients like lanolin, oil, glycerin etc. because they have long lasting hydrating capabilities.
We hope this short guide will be a bit of help to you while choosing the right sunscreen for your skin. So, start enjoying your sunbathing from now onwards!
Also don’t forget to take periodical breaks from the sun. Wishing you a very happy summer!