Sunscreen is the most important part of any skincare routine. Seriously sunscreen is right up there with consistency and patience. In this post I’ll be telling you everything you need to know about sunscreens and why you should start wearing one.
Sunscreen or sunblock is any topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, preventing and protecting the skin against sunburn. A sun cream or sunblock or sunscreen can be in the form of lotion, gelspray, stick, powder and depending on their mode of action, they can be physical or chemical.
Physical sunscreen mostly stay on the surface of the skin to block and deflect the sun rays before they penetrate the skin. While chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays before they can damage the skin. But that’s not everything you need to know about sunscreens.
There are two different kinds of UV rays; (3 if you count UVC rays which do not reach us because they are absorbed by the ozone layer). The other 2 are UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays cause the most damage between the two. They penetrate not only the epidermis but the dermis too leaving lasting damage in their wake. They darken hyperpigmentation and are linked to skin cancer. They penetrate thick glass windows which is why the application of sunscreen year round is advised. UVA rays are present regardless of season unlike UVB rays. They also cause premature aging of the skin.
UVB rays are responsible for burning the skin. When you stay out in the sun and your skin turn red and peels, UVB rays are the culprit. However they don’t do further damage. They don’t have the ability to penetrate through windows like their evil counterpart. They are at their most intense between 10am-4pm.
What to look for in a sunscreen
A good sunscreen should offer broad spectrum protection to the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re active, you’ll find you need a water-resistant sunscreen. All sunscreens eventually wash off but good water-resistant sunscreens are effective for up to 80 minutes in the water.
Broad-spectrum sunscreens in the US and EU are labelled “Broad Spectrum”. In Japan, the PA rating is used to rank sunscreen based on how much UVA rating they provide while in Australia the PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening)method is used.
Why you should use a sunscreen
I honestly believe sunscreen is the answer to all skincare problems. It’s the one thing everyone should use; old, young, man, woman, child. Trying to fade hyperpigmentation? add sunscreen to your routine, Battling acne? Use sunscreen, psoriasis? Yeah sunscreen.
Whether you have normal, oily, or dry skin you should be using one and I’ll tell you why. When used as directed, sunscreen can:
- Reduce your risk if developing squamous cell carcinoma by up to 40%.
- Lower the risk of melanoma by 50%.
- Prevent premature skin aging caused by the sun.
- Reduce age spots and prevent sagging.
When to apply sunscreen
Every single day. Every season. Indoor and outdoor. Rainfall or sunshine. Once it’s daybreak and even when you can’t see the sun still go ahead and use your sunscreen because UVA rays are the devil: sneaky and full of deceit. They are there even when you think they are not. Especially when you think they’re not. And the thing about Skin memory is that it doesn’t matter how good you look now in your 20s, your skin will remember every mistreatment and treat you accordingly. Then you know the debt is paid.
Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure and after every 2 hours. Reapply immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
How much sunscreen to apply
Everything you need to know about sunscreens basically boils down to how much you need to wear. To get maximum protection out of your sunscreen, you should apply one ounce (about a shot glass full) to the entire body. This translates to a quarter of a teaspoon for the fave only. Studies have shown that most people don’t even use half of this required amount. That means most of us are out there thinking we are well protected when we’re not.
The Best Sunscreens for Face
The biggest challenge when it comes to wearing sunscreen is that most sunscreen are heavy and greasy. For the dark skinned folks, they may even leave white casts. A recent study showed that a good number of people do not wear sunscreen because they found them to be cosmetically inelegant. That is to say that as much as most people want to wear sunscreens, they don’t because most sunscreen simply don’t feel nice on the skin.
While there are lots of sunscreens that can be worn on the face, there is no sunscreen that is regarded as the best per se. The best sunscreen is the one you wear. Sunscreens should be chosen based on skin needs.
Best Sunscreen for acne-prone skin
Best Sunscreen For Dry Skin
Best Sunscreen For Oily Skin
Best Sunscreen For Normal Skin