The everyday skincare routine you follow must include sunscreen. Applying the correct sunscreen to shield your skin from the sun's damaging rays is essential whether you're spending a day outside or on a beach vacation.
Constant exposure to UV radiation makes your skin more prone to many problems. It could result in sunburn, wrinkles, skin damage, and even skin cancer. Since going outside is unavoidable, it is essential to protect the skin with sunscreen.
Then, how do you choose sunscreen? What should you keep an eye out for while purchasing? We'll aid in your investigation.
What Does Sunscreen Do?
Sunscreen's active ingredients filter UV rays before they reach your skin. Skin cancer and further indications of aging may be brought on by UV rays, which are emitted by the sun and tanning salons.
Sunscreen is available as gels, creams, powders, and sprays that you may use topically. Those that often use sunscreen:
Lower risk of skin cancer: The most common cancer in the United States is skin cancer. You may lower your skin cancer risk by using sunscreen daily with an SPF of 15 or higher. Your chance of developing melanoma may be reduced by 50%. Additionally, you may cut your chance of squamous cell carcinoma, the most prevalent form of skin cancer, by 40%.
Younger-looking skin: UV rays from the sun damage the skin and result in wrinkles, black patches, and sagging. These effects are diminished and prevented by routine sunscreen usage.
How Does Sunscreen Work?
UV rays are primarily blocked and absorbed by various chemical and physical sunscreen particles.
While physical components like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide aid in the skin's ability to deflect UV radiation, the sunscreen's chemical components interact with the radiation before it can get through the skin. Additionally, they take in solar energy and emit it as heat.
As previously said, choosing the right sunscreen may significantly impact your skincare routine. The things you should consider before selecting the best sunscreen for you are outlined in the section below.
How To Choose The Right Sunscreen?
When selecting one, it is crucial to consider any allergies to certain chemicals, the sunscreen's safety, and its possible toxicity. Additionally, you should check that the sunscreen's chemicals won't affect your hormone levels.
1. Consider SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
SPF mainly serves as a measure for the amount of UVB radiation that sunscreen can block out. You may reduce your everyday exposure to UV radiation by using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
Although SPF 15 may only block 93 percent of UV rays, most physicians advise applying an SPF of at least 30 since it blocks roughly 97 percent of UVB radiation.
Make sure you cover all exposed skin with enough sunscreen each day. This is particularly crucial on days when you anticipate spending a lot of time outside.
2. Look for the active ingredients
Your sunscreen is safe if it was authorized by the FDA and is available legally in the US.
The FDA is looking for further safety information on certain sunscreen chemicals before they can be labeled as GRASE, a more strict safety category.
These are the substances in question:
This does not imply that these substances are dangerous or that you should stay away from items that include them. It simply means that before designating them as GRASE, the FDA wants to ensure they have sufficient information.
Choose the sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which carry the GRASE label, if you want to be extra careful.
3. Pick Broad Spectrum SPF
The label of sunscreen includes the sun protection factor (SPF) number. Although this figure is significant, it should not be your sole focus.
UVA and UVB photons are two forms of UV radiation that contact your skin. The sunscreen's SPF rating indicates how much protection it offers against UVB rays, which are the primary cause of sunburn. SPF, however, does not indicate the level of UVA protection you are receiving, which may result in skin damage and skin cancer.
Select a sunscreen that says "wide spectrum" on the label to provide UVA protection. This word denotes that the product offers UVA and UVB protection.
Be generous with your sunscreen application. You can be cheated out of the necessary protection by a bare-bones program. To adequately protect the face, neck, arms, and legs, most people need at least one ounce of sunscreen or roughly the size of a shot glass. Use a dollop roughly the size of a cent for only your face.
4. Sunscreen Formulation
The term "sunscreen formulation" often refers to the method of application of sunscreen, which impacts how it feels and appears on a skin. On the market, there are three main sunscreen formulas. Although each of these varieties has advantages of its own when worn correctly, they may all provide sun protection:
- Sunblock sprays
Sunblock sprays ideal for applying sunscreen to areas of the body that are hard to access. They are a fantastic alternative for someone with a lot of body hair. While applying, be careful not to inhale the spray.
- Sunscreen creams
These are the moisturizing sunscreen formulas that are most often used. They come in a variety of variations to accommodate different skin types.
- Sunblock sticks
These are some of the most lightweight and orderly solutions. Applying and massaging them into your skin will allow you to utilize them. They are a practical choice for travel. The likelihood of leakage is relatively low.
Generally, sunscreens have a three-year shelf life. For optimal results, keep them somewhere dry and cold to store.
5. Consider your level of sun exposure
Your degree of sun exposure is another crucial aspect to consider when picking a sunscreen. Consider the length of time you will be exposed to the sun, its intensity, and the activities you will be engaging in while exposed to the sun.
Typically, the Ultraviolet (UV) Index, which runs from 1 (low) to 11+, is used to gauge the intensity of the sun (extreme). Our unprotected skin may burn in 15 minutes or less when the UV Index is at eight or higher since these UV rays are most intense from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here are the sunscreen options you should choose based on how much sun exposure you receive:
Outdoors: Depending on the color of your skin and how much time you spend outside (at least two hours), choose sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Sports/swimming: Using a sweat- or water-resistant sunscreen is preferable if you want to engage in sports in the open air or on a body of water. Depending on the tone of your skin, choose an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every 40 to 60 minutes.
Each day: Make sure to use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 on frequent days when you will be in both the sun and the shade.
You can take a few more actions to protect your skin from UV damage and choose the correct sunscreen.
Other Ways To Keep Your Skin From The Sunrays
Limit your exposure to the sun
Avoid spending too much time in the sun's direct rays when you're outside by finding shade or cover.
Use proper clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun as much as possible. Put on sunglasses that block dangerous sunlight to shield your eyes.
Carry an umbrella
It is beneficial to bring an umbrella if you must go outside in the sun to ensure your safety from the sun.
Sunscreen Usage Tips
- Regardless matter the season, always use sunscreen.
- Apply two tablespoons of sunscreen to your exposed body if you're wearing swimwear. When using a sunscreen spray, be careful to cover your whole body with an equal layer of protection.
- Apply sunscreen on your face, hands, feet, neck, and other body areas (if your skin is exposed).
- At least 30 minutes before going outside in the sun, apply a base application of SPF 15 or 30 to all exposed skin. Every two hours, reapply.
- Don't forget to reapply sunscreen if you've been swimming, toweling off, or sweating a lot. Always adhere to the reapplication instructions on the label.
Considering your skin type is also crucial while selecting the best sunscreen. The best sunscreen types for sensitive or acne-prone skin are described below.
Which sunscreen to use on sensitive or acne-prone skin?
The pores might get clogged by sunscreens. Therefore, selecting oil-free formulations for the face is crucial. Non-comedogenic sunscreens are available (that do not contain ingredients that block skin pores).
Choose moisturizers containing sunscreen or sunscreens that include moisturizing components if you have dry skin.
Sensitive Skin (Or If You Avoid Chemicals)
When sensitive skin is exposed to the least quantity of ingredients, it stays young and bright. Choose a physical or mineral sunscreen since it has skin-protecting ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two essential ingredients won't hurt or burn your eyes.
The SPF amount you should wear mostly depends on your skin color. For instance, wearing SPF 30 or greater is preferable if you have pale skin and burn easily or often. In contrast, you should use SPF 15 if you have medium to dark skin or often tan but never burn.
One of the most crucial skin care techniques is using sunscreen to protect the skin. When exposed to UV radiation regularly, your skin is more vulnerable to problems like wrinkles, sun damage, sunburn, and cancer. However, choosing the correct sunscreen will assist in resolving and avoiding these problems. You may need to consider many things while selecting a sunscreen, such as skin type, allergies, degree of sun exposure, SPF, formulation, and chemicals. You may be able to choose the best sunscreen by following the above suggestions and recommendations.
What is the best sunscreen type – spray, lotion, stick, or gel?
Your preferences will determine this primarily. Regardless of the above choices, keep in mind that any sunscreen will only be effective if you use it properly by covering every exposed part of your body with an ounce of sunscreen.
What are chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens?
The terms "chemical sunscreens" and "physical sunscreens" relate to their active components. A physical sunscreen includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which lies on top of the skin and deflects the sun's rays, as opposed to chemical sunscreens, which contain active chemicals that rapidly absorb the sunrays and are more easily absorbed into the skin.
Chemical sunscreens are often not advised for everyday usage since they are absorbed into your skin. To efficiently and adequately protect your skin, physical sunscreens are preferable.
How long does sunscreen last?
Sunscreen ultimately degrades and wears off, even if you slap on much of it. For the greatest protection, it's essential to apply often and early.
Give sunscreen time to work before going outside since the active components take around 30 minutes to begin functioning. At least once every two hours, reapply. Always reapply sunscreen after swimming, even if the label claims it is waterproof.