IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT SPF AND SUNSCREEN. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPF SUNSCREEN FOR SKIN.
Due to ozone layer depletion. Nowadays the use of sunscreen products has been so mandatory so as to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. To meet the growing demand, several brands of sunscreen lotions and creams are Available in the market with variable quality. It is therefore important to choose sunscreen cream wisely. Here in this article, we will discuss common facts about SPF sunscreen and how to choose the right SPF sunscreen for the skin.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT SPF AND SUNSCREEN:
WHAT IS SPF?
Sun protection factor is commonly known as SPF. How sunscreen protects our skin from harmful ultraviolet rays (UVB) of the sun is measured by SPF. The harmful rays of the sun lead to many skin problems such as tanning, premature ageing, sunburn, skin cancer etc.
DOES SPF PROTECT OUR SKIN FROM UVA?
It should be noted that SPF cannot protect our skin from UVA rays of the sun. It can only protect our skin from the harmful effects of UVB rays. UVA rays are stronger than UVB rays but UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer.
HOW IS SPF CALCULATED?
When we don’t take any protection and spend at least 20 minutes under the sun, the sun rays normally burn the skin and produce redness of the skin. We can calculate the normal duration that our skin should be exposed to the sun by simply multiplying the time that takes our skin to burn in the sunlight by the SPF of the sunscreen product. For example, with an SPF-15*20min of sun time = 300 min. Hence 300 min is the minimum duration we can be allowed to stay under the sun if the duration requires for our skin to burn is 20 min.
COMPARISION BETWEEN SPF-15, SPF-30 and SPF-50. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPF SUNSCREEN.
SPF-MEASURE: PERCENTAGE OF BLOCKING UVB RAYS:
- SPF-15 BLOCKS 93% OF UVB RAYS
- SPF-30 BLOCKS 97% OF UVB RAYS
- SPF-50 BLOCKS 98% OF UVB RAYS
So, it is clear that SPF-30 will give us 4% more protection than SPF-15 whereas SPF-50 will give us just one extra percentage of protection from suns UVB rays. So we choose either SPF-30 or SPF-50 as both have an almost the same capacity for protection. In other words, we can say that SPF-15 allows 7 out of 100 photons to enter our skin while SPF-30 allows 3 out of 100 photons to enter our skin.
DOES HIGH SPF SUNSCREEN GIVE BETTER PROTECTION?
The high SPF sunscreen like SPF-75 or SPF-100 will not give better protection to the skin as compared to SPF-30. It’s a misconception that higher the SPF value better is the sun protection activity. We should know the fact that high SPF products may not really have high SPF, they might have a greater risk to health. Sellers usually misguide us with higher SPF sunscreens, they have a poor balance of protection etc.
WHY IS SPF-15 MOSTLY RECOMMENDED SUNSCREEN AND HOW TO USE IT?
We should notice, how much time is taken by our skin to get burned in the sun? If our skin is burnt in just 10mins in the sun then we can apply SPF-15 sunscreen which allows us to stay in the sun for an about 150 mins. But this is not the same for every individual.
Experts recommend that we should apply SPF-15 sunscreen 100 ounces for full body coverage and need to reapply it after every 2hours for better protection from UVB rays of the sun.
HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD WE APPLY SUNSCREEN?
We should reapply the sunscreen if we want to spend some additional time outdoors. It is not recommended that a high number of SPF allows us to spend more time in the sun with only one application. We should reapply sunscreen every two hours or more according to the given time on the label. Even on cloudy days and after sweating and swimming also we should reapply sunscreen.
WHEN SHOULD WE APPLY SUNSCREEN BEFORE OR AFTER APPLYING MOISTURIZER?
We should apply moisturizer 15mins prior to applying sunscreen on our skin. And after that, if someone wants to use makeup then it’s ok. So at first, you should apply moisturizer, then after 15 mains apply sunscreen properly and then go for any makeup if you want.
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HOW DOES A SUNSCREEN WORK TO PROTECT OUR SKIN:
Whenever we go for a vacation on sea beaches, hiking up a mountain or taking swimming in a pool, we are affected by the UV rays of the sun.
These harmful radiations can also damage the DNA of cells and leads to a genetic mutation which can ultimately cause skin cancer. But there is a weapon known as sunscreen which can protect us from these harmful rays.
There are many types of sunscreens present in the market such as gel-based, lotion-based or cream-based sunscreens. These sunscreens are generally made-up of the mixture of some chemicals.
There are some inorganic chemicals present in the sunscreen which are responsible for reflecting or scattering the sun rays away from the skin. Moreover, there are some organic chemicals present in the sunscreen which absorb the harmful sun’s rays and thus prevent the skin from absorbing those rays.
WHAT IS BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN?
Broad spectrum sunscreen is sunscreen that is capable to protect our skin from both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF values of Broad-spectrum sunscreens indicate the magnitude of overall protection.
BENEFITS OF BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREENS:
A full-spectrum or broad-spectrum sunscreen protects our skin from both UVA and UVB rays.UVA rays give our skin premature signs of ageing like wrinkles and age spots. On the other hand, UVB rays give sunburns. Moreover, too much exposure to UVA and UVB rays may lead to skin cancer. And the broad spectrum sunscreen gives protection from these two harmful rays.
WHAT IS PA AND ROLE OF PA++ IN SUNSCREENS:
PA means the protective grade of sunscreen which is often levelled as PA+, PA++, PA+++ on the sunscreen tubes or bottles. The more + signs the more protection from the harmful radiation of the sun. PA+ means the sunscreen provides UVA protection.
SHOULD WE APPLY SUNSCREEN IN CLOUDY DAYS?
The answer is yes. The clouds can block only 20% of the sun rays but what about the rest 80%? Still, 80% of UV rays reach on the earth surface in cloudy days. Moreover, the clouds reflect the sun rays and thus maximize their harmful effects. So we need sunscreen not only on sunny days but also on cloudy days too.
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ARE DARKER SKINNED TONED PEOPLE NEED NOT TO APPLY SUNSCREEN?
Melanin- a pigment present in the skin is responsible for the complexion of people. Darker skin tanned people have the greater amount of melanin than lighter skinned toned people. It is true that melanin to some extent can absorb UV radiation but this natural shield is not enough to block the most damaging UVA rays. So it should be remembered that skin complexion does not matter much for applying sunscreen. Whether it is dark or light coloured skin everyone should use sunscreen.
IS THERE ANY ACTUAL WATERPROOF/SWEAT-PROOF SUNSCREEN AVAILABLE?
There is no such type of sunscreen present in the market which remains intact on the skin while swimming or sweating. They all are false rumours spread by the sellers.
IS THERE ANY COMPLETELY SUNBLOCK SUNSCREEN AVAILABLE?
There is not a single product available in the market which can block the sun’s harmful UV rays fully. The sunscreen can protect our skin from the UV rays partially and for the better result, we need to reapply it when required.
CHEMICAL FREE (ORGANIC) SUNSCREEN:
There is no such sunscreen like organic sunscreen which is free of any chemical. Almost all the sunscreen contains some portion of mineral or synthetic chemicals present in it.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HARMFUL SUN RADIATION?
- We should choose the proper time to go out. We should avoid the mid-day (10am-4pm) sun if it is possible.
- We should try to wear clothes which cover our body parts fully in the daytime and also put on a hat and use an umbrella.
- Try to choose a sunscreen which gives better protection and have a minimum adverse effect on the
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