Sunscreen is one of the most important skincare products you’ll use during your lifetime. Now that summer is about to peak, so will harmful UV radiation that can lead to burning, tanning, exaggerated signs of aging and so on. To make sure you’re prepared to enjoy the summer sunshine safely, here are some important must-know facts about sunscreen!
Ultraviolet rays are what we try to protect our skin from. They can be UV-A, B or C (but UV-C hardly ever reaches us so we’re mostly concerned by A and B). UV-A penetrates deep and passes through everything including your glass window pane – so it’s important to apply sunscreen whenever it’s sunny outside. The actual anti-ageing happens from UV-A protection and is marked by a “+” (plus) sign on your bottle (or you can also look for a “broad spectrum” sunscreen.)
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The protection graph goes up steeply until SPF 30, after which it pretty much plateaus. So sunscreen between 30 and 50 SPF is more than enough to get the best protection. Anything further adds only around 0.5% more protection. SPF however only means that you will burn less, and therefore develop less redness and less pigment – it won’t protect you completely from these.
You actually get what the sunscreen tube says in terms of SPF but only if you apply an adequately thick layer. So please be generous and repeatedly apply through the sunny hours. Check out the photo-stability of your sunscreen ingredients, which determines how long they remain active under harsh sunlight.
Anti-oxidants in sunscreen or applied separately as moisturizing lotion also helps the effort to control damage. Ingesting them as an oral supplement works particularly well.
A good post-sun care treatment is washing your face with cold water and using a calming and soothing agent like a simple calamine lotion (or kailashjeevan), or an ayurvedic cream which may have calming effects on the skin.
And there you have it – now go out and enjoy the sunshine!