Everything about Sunscreen

What is a Sunscreen ?

Sunscreen, also known as sun block or sun cream is usually a lotion, spray, gel that absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation and thus helps protect against sun-damage.It is the front-line protection against skin cancers.

What is the sunscreen made of?

The Sunscreens or sun-blocks contain filters that reflect or absorb UV rays.

There are two types of sunscreens:

Organic – Also called chemical sunscreens, organic sunscreens absorb UV radiation and convert it to a small amount of heat. This group of active ingredients is the most widely used in sunscreens.

Organic sunscreens might contain avobenzone, cinoxate, octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate, oxybenzone.

Inorganic – Also called physical sunscreens,inorganic sunscreens reflect and scatter UV radiation.

Inorganic sunscreens might contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Sunscreens also might contain Vitamins. Vitamin E can protect against UV-induced DNA damage. Vitamin C helps protect skin from sunburn.

What are the types of sun rays ?

Sunlight consists of two types of rays that reach the earth

  • UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.
  • UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.

A Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

What is SPF or Sun Protection Factor ?
Imagine that your skin normally begins to burn after 10 minutes in full sun without any protection. A 30 SPF sunscreen would provide 30 times the protection of no sunscreen. That means 30 times longer before you start to burn, or in this case, 300 minutes. Sunscreen with SPF of at least 30, blocks 97 percent of the UVB rays.

Is a Sunscreen with higher SPF better ?

  • Sunscreen with SPF of at least 30, blocks 97 percent of the UVB rays.
  • Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s rays.
  • High-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs.
  • A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication

Does SPF 60+ provide double the protection of  SPF 30 ?

No. Double SPF does not mean double or longer protection. SPF 30 provides skin with 97% protection, whereas SPF 60 provides skin with 98 – 98.6% protection.

What is a waterproof or sweat proof Sunscreen?

  • Water/sweat/perspiration resistant”  sunscreen means it offers Sun  protection after 40 minutes of water exposure. A sunscreen labeled “very water resistant” gives up-to 80 minutes of protection after water exposure.
  • Remember to also use water resistant sunscreen while doing an activity that causes you to sweat a lot.
  • The key is to apply the sunscreen again and again.

What sunscreen should I use?

You should use a sunscreen that offers the following:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher
  • Water resistant.

When should I use sunscreen?

Everyday. Even on cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate your skin.

How should I use sunscreen ?

  • Apply sunscreen generously on all skin that will be not be covered by clothing.
  • Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
  • Reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating,
  • Sand, water, snow and concrete reflect sunlight and make it even more important to use sunscreen.
  • Since UV light can pass through clouds, use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy.

What type of sunscreen should I use if my skin is oily and acne prone ?

If you have acne-prone skin, you should use a water-based sunscreen.

Will applying Sunscreen all over the body, prevent my body from absorbing Vitamin D and make me deficient in Vitamin D?

No. Using sunscreen does not block the body’s ability to make vitamin D.

Does my child or toddler need sunscreen ?

  • If possible, avoid sunscreens in babies younger than 6 months.
  • For infants and toddlers 6 months and older use a broad-spectrum,water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of  30 or higher.
  • Sunscreens that use the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, generally cause less irritation to sensitive skin.

pic credit-www.skincancer.org

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