15 tips for choosing the correct sun screen for your skin
Although the sun is necessary for life, too much sun exposure can lead to adverse effects.
UV radiation can have a number of harmful effects on the skin.
The 2 types of UV radiation can affect the skin- UVA and UVB – have been linked to skin cancer and weakening of the immune system in addition to premature aging of the skin.
UVA penetrate deep into the skin and up to 90% of the visible skin changes commonly attribute to aging are caused by UVA exposure.
UVB mostly affect the surface of the skin and are the primary cause of skin burn.
You cannot stop yourself from moving out of house but you can use sunscreen cream to shield yourself from the damaging effects of the sun rays.
What are sunscreens?
In the broadest term, sunscreens are agents that block ultraviolet radiation absorption by the skin.
Sunscreens can be in the form of clothing, hats, sunglasses, chemical or physical agents. which also includes lotions, creams, pastes and gels.
The effectiveness of sunscreens is expressed as the SPF. The SPF is defined as the ratio of the least amount of UVB energy (minimum erythema dose) required to produce a minimum erythema reaction through a sunscreen product film to the amount of energy required to produce the same erythema without any sunscreen application.
For an individual who wears a sunscreen with an SPF of 8 , it takes him 8 times longer than usual to develop erythema.
To choose a perfect sunscreen cream is a big deal as loads of brands are available in the market.
So here are some quick tips to pick the best sunscreen cream that will suit your skin:
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors
- Don’t apply a thick layer of the sun screen
- The sunscreen should block both UVB and UVA and have a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 or greater.
- Avoid sunscreens that contain fragrance, as this can be a source of contact dermatitis or photodermatitis.
- Sunscreens should be reapplied after sweating or swimming ( every 30 minutes) and reapplied hourly if you are going to be exposed for along time to the sun
- Stay out of the sun between 9am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Wear a sunscreen with a minimum of 15 SPF, even on cloudy days and use higher SPF if the weather is sunny.
- Wear sunscreen under your clothing; a standard T-shirt only provides SPF protection of 5 to 8.
- Be sure your sunglasses have UVA and UVB protections, which should filter at least 80% of the sun’s rays.
- Sunscreen is only a part of a good program, which includes a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, a long-sleeved shirt and pants.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your lips and ears!!
- If you want to use sunscreen while in water, then choose a sunscreen that is water resistant or water proof.
- Look for a sunscreen cream with at least SPF 15. If you have fair skin you should use cream with SPF 30 or more as fair skinned people require more protection.
- If you are allergic to skin products, you can go for fragrance free and hypo allergic sunscreen cream. To verify the sunscreen take a patch test on your skin and see that it is non-allergic.
- Chose your sun screen according to your skin type:
- For sensitive skin, look for something hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (physical sunblocks that sit on top of skin instead of being absorbed into it) are less sensitizing and deflect both UVA and UVB rays. “As a general rule, zinc is lighter under makeup, so it’s better for everyday wear, and titanium has stronger photo protection for beach days.
- If you’re acne-prone, your skin may be highly reactive to sunscreens. Some physical sunblocks have textures that can be too heavy or sticky. Instead, look for a light, oil-free lotion.
- If you’ve got dry skin, choose a lotion or cream with added hydrating ingredients like glycerin and aloe. You may want to avoid sprays and gels laden with alcohol; you’ll probably feel their drying effects with repeated use.
- If you’re oily, avoid mineral oil on the ingredients list. Look for a greaseless formula instead to keep from exacerbating shine on skin.
Swimmers and outdoor-sports enthusiasts require a “water-resistant” or “very water-resistant” sunscreen, meaning it binds to wet skin for up to 40 minutes or 80 minutes, respectivly
About the author:
Dr Randa Mohamed Saad
Masters degree in Dermatology, Venereollogy and Andrology- Faculty of medicine- Alexandria University.
Specialist in chemical peel, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal and aesthetics.
Fellow of Duplin University, Irland.
Founder and publisher of her facebook page which is becoming one of the largest, and fastest growing skin care and beauty facebook pages on the social networks