Does Wearing Sunscreen Really Help?
For the longest time, sunscreens have been seen less as self-care products and more as beauty products by people who remain aloof from their true purpose and how it works. However, in recent years, the perception of sunscreen has changed. People are now becoming more aware of why sunscreens are important, but they also have questions of their own.
What kind of sunscreen should I choose?
What is SPF, and how does the number succeeding it matter?
How often should I apply sunscreen?
What are its benefits?
Well, don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered. In this article, we highlight the benefits of using sunscreen and help you understand how it works, how to choose the right one, and how to apply it. Allow us to take you through all this and more. Let’s jump right in.
How to Choose the Right Sunscreen?
Before you choose a sunscreen, you must look at a few standard factors but also take into account the type of skin you have. Broadly there are two types of sunscreen ingredients that protect your skin:
Physical Sunscreen Ingredients: These comprise minerals such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide which block the rays and scatter them before they reach your skin. In a way, these act like a shield.
Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients: These have chemicals such as avobenzone and octisalate, which absorb the rays like a sponge before they harm your skin.
While choosing any sunscreen, three things you must ensure are:
Broad Spectrum: The sunscreen must have the label broad spectrum. This means that it will protect you from different kinds of effects caused by UVA and UVB rays. While UVB rays are filtered by the ozone, UVA is not. The latter is also a major cause of skin darkening and aging. So, look for the two most important words on any sunscreen – broad spectrum.
SPF 30 or Higher: The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher. The higher the number, the better the sunscreen can protect your skin from the effects of UVB light.
Water Resistance: Ensure you buy sunscreen which is water resistant. This is for the sunscreen to be functional even when you’re sweaty or go swimming at the beach.
Now that you know the basic details, let’s understand what suits your skin type.
Dry Skin: If you have dry skin, use sunscreen with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
Oily Skin: If you have oily skin, choose sunscreens that absorb quickly and have a matte finish. Look out for labels such as oil-free and non-comedogenic. This way, your pores won’t get blocked, and your skin wouldn’t look greasy.
Sensitive Skin: If you have sensitive skin, choose sunscreens that do not have additives for fragrance or other harmful chemicals.
Overall, these are a few things you must consider before selecting a sunscreen. Ensure you do not experiment too much. Find a sunscreen that works for you and stick to that product.
How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen?
Applying sunscreen daily is necessary. Contrary to popular opinion, wearing sunscreen daily isn’t about vanity but good skin health. Whether it’s summer or winter, applying sunscreen on exposed areas of your skin is the first step toward maintaining good skin health.
Benefits of Wearing Sunscreen
Numerous benefits come with using sunscreen. Although you might not see its effects daily, in the long term, you’ll understand how a small routine before you head out has positively impacted your skin health.
Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer
UVA and UVB light are responsible for causing various kinds of skin cancer. Some of these, melanoma and non-melanoma, are quite harmful to your skin and body and can be life-threatening. Thus, wearing sunscreen can reduce your chances of skin cancer.
Usually, exposing your skin to the sun during any climate can cause sunburn. Your skin might start to peel, and you’ll feel a constant burning sensation on your shoulders, upper back, cheeks, and arms. A simple solution can be applying the right sunscreen for your skin and ensuring you use enough on all exposed areas. Usually, an ounce for your entire body’s exposed places must suffice.
Reduce Signs of Aging
According to a study, people under the age of 55 who use sunscreen regularly have a 24% lesser chance of developing signs of premature aging than those who apply sunscreen occasionally or don’t use it all. This is because you might develop several signs, such as skin wrinkling, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and other such issues. The best way to prevent this is by using sunscreen.
Doubles Up as a Moisturizer
In recent times, cosmetic companies and beauty brands have become mindful of how people are not as much into vanity. Thus, they have started creating sunscreens that double up as moisturizers and creams. So, you can use them not just to prevent the effects of sun rays but also to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. However, you must ensure that such sunscreens do not have chemicals or additives that might harm your skin.
Prevents Damage from Sun Rays
Besides aging and sunburn, the sun can affect your skin in several ways. For instance, your blood vessels in the areas exposed to the sun might become thin and bruise your skin. Your skin might also become blotched in a few areas, and the rays might also irritate your skin. To mitigate such issues, you must use sunscreen on a daily basis.
To summarize, sunscreens are necessary to maintain your skin health. However, it’s not a foolproof way of protecting your skin. Wear covered clothing, seek shade whenever possible, and ensure you do not overexpose yourself. After all, sunscreen is merely the first step toward maintaining good skin health.
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