Summer is the best time of year for fun outdoor activities with kids. But when having in the sun, never forget to have adequate sun protection. Sunscreens are designed to protect the skin from the sun’s damaging rays, and in fact, you should always wear one, regardless of the weather. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s harmful rays can still penetrate your skin. The presence of snow, sand and water requires that you use this valuable product because they’re all reflective surfaces and can raise up the intensity of the sun’s rays.
With the ozone layer depletion (which acts as a shield protecting the earth from the sun by absorbing some of the harmful UVB rays) UVB exposure is increasing. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to wear proper SPF to protect your skin. Before we list all the reasons why these products are so important, let’s first see what is the best type of sunscreen.
Available sunblock options include lotions, creams, gels, ointment and sprays. The kind of sunscreen you use is a matter of personal choice and can vary depending on the area of the body you need to protect. The best type is definitely the one you will like to use again and again. Here are some requirements to look for when buying skin sunscreen:
- Make sure it offers broad-spectrum protection which means that it protects from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin on deeper levels causing long-term skin damage, aging and wrinkles. Don’t neglect the fact that they can pass through window glass. UVB rays can cause surface level discomfort like sunburn and, in severe cases, blistering. UVB rays are directly connected to the SPF factor on labels of sunscreen products.
- Always buy a sunblock rated SPF 30 or higher – the SPF number explains how long the sun radiation would take to colour/redden your skin when using that product. Creams with SPF values between 30 and 50 will provide you with adequate sunburn protection, even if you’re very sensitive to sunburn.
- Water-resistant creams with SPF are the best option for activities around water as their power will not diminish after getting wet.
According to the active ingredients found in the sunscreen, there are two types – chemical and mineral. Each type uses a different mechanism for filtering UV rays and protecting skin damage. Chemical SPF creams are a good choice as they get absorbed into the skin and sit in deeper layers. They provide good protection to UVB rays but might not protect against all UVA rays. They usually contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate homosalate or the combination of them. You’ll need to put chemical SPF cream evenly 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply at least every two hours, or 40 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating, and immediately after you dry with a towel.
Mineral options like natural zinc oxide sunscreen have a whitish cast to them and can be visible on the skin. They sit on the skin’s surface and can be easily rubbed or sweated away, so you need to reapply them frequently.
Here are a few reasons why sun care products are so important:
Reduce the Risk of Developing Skin Cancer
Applying SPF cream is essential when it comes to reducing the risks of skin cancer. There are numerous skin cancers, but some, like melanoma (the most deadly type of skin cancer) is directly caused by extreme sun exposure and harmful UV rays. Skin cancer is very aggressive and can be life-threatening especially for women. Luckily, using sun cream daily has been found to decreasing the risk of contracting skin cancers by half. It’s best to apply your sun cream whenever you go out, even when it’s rainy or cloudy outside.
Keep Your Skin Tone Even
Uneven skin tone makes your face look dull, tired and boring. Sun protectant formulas prevent skin discolouration and dark spots that can be caused by the sun. In addition, some ingredients found in sunscreen can help with the fading of existing dark spots on the face. Wearing sun cream is helpful maintaining an even tone of all skin types, but it’s a must product for people with lighter skin.
Fight Against Premature Skin Aging
In the long run, increased exposure to harmful UV rays can prematurely age your skin – called photoaging. Photoaging is associated with discoloured skin and z thick, leathery look and a breakdown of collagen. Collagen loss causes the skin to lose its elasticity and become prone to wrinkles and sagging. According to studies, people younger than 55 who apply sun cream regularly have a 24% less chance of developing prematurely aging skin than those who don’t.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
Suncare products attempt to preserve essential proteins in your skin like keratin. As proteins are known for maintaining the protective barrier and enhancing the smoothness and freshness the skin, applying sun protective products can ensure an overall healthier skin.
On top of using the proper SPF lotion or moisturiser with sunscreen, there are several other ways to protect your skin from sun damage:
- Get enough amount of Vitamin D from food and supplements;
- Have yearly check-ups at your dermatologist;
- Wear protective clothing whenever you can – thin long-sleeve shirts, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and more.