Sunscreen: Top 6 Facts You Should Know
Be sure of what you lather your skin with. Your sunscreen can be both a hero and a big, fat, evil villain. These are the things you should know, to help you choose better.Once upon a time, in 1889, there was a man called Johan Widmark, who proved that it was mainly the ultraviolet rays, a part of the various rays (with different wavelengths and frequencies) that make up sunlight, that caused the redness of sunburned skin. His findings led to the first medical recommendations of protection against sunlight, an advice that continues to this date. A good sunscreen lotion will protect you against early ageing, skin damage, skin cancer (melanoma), and sunburn, which is known to be a risk factor for melanoma development. And if that isn’t enough to make you a die-hard SPF fan, maybe these facts will.
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1. Sun protection factor 30 or higher, always:
SPF 30 blocks out about 97 per cent of the sun’s harmful radiation, while SPF 15 blocks only 93 per cent. It is safe to say that anything lower than 15 is absolutely useless. The most recommended is SPF 50, that is known to block out around 98 per cent of UV rays.
2. Broad spectrum in the label:
There are a number of different radiations that make up sunlight – there’s UVA, UVB, UVC, and infrared radiation. All sunscreens are made differently, and not all will provide protection against all kinds of radiations (UVC and infrared are more or less harmless). Check the label before you buy a sunscreen/sunblock, and if you see ‘broad spectrum’ on it, then know that it is made to protect you against both UVA and UVB radiations. Say aye for broad spectrum!
3. Sunscreen without discrimination:
Don’t use your skin tone as an excuse to skip the sunscreen, y’all. Even the darkest of skins will need protection against long-term sun exposure to keep skin ageing, burning, and damage at bay. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate between skin colours, so buy a sunscreen already.
4. No sunscreen is ‘waterproof’ or ‘sweat-proof’:
Labels like ‘sweat-proof’ and ‘waterproof’ are a total sham; sweat-resistant and water-resistant, however, are acceptable scenarios. Nowadays, sunscreen brands with ‘sweat/water-resistant’ qualities are asked to specify the time period their product will provide optimum protection for, after a water or sweat-related activity.
5. No sunscreen for babies:
The skin of an infant and an adult are vastly different, and it is asked of parents to keep the baby’s sun exposure to a minimum, instead of applying sunscreen on their skin, because sunscreens contain a number of products that their skin may react differently to, and it may do more harm than good.
6. The Goldilocks approach:
Now, this is interesting. Go the Goldilocks way when it comes to buying a sunscreen. Don’t buy the first one you see, instead choose the one that is just right. Avoid ingredients like oxybenzone, which can enter the bloodstream and increase the production of harmful free radicals, or trigger allergic skin reactions and disrupt the hormonal balance in our body; and retinyl palmitate, which may speed development of skin cancer and lesions. Instead, look for products that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients.
These are both natural, stable compounds that have shown zero penetration, and ensure safe broad-spectrum protection.
Happy sunshine to you!