Hello there! As you can guess from the heading, today we’ll be talking about SPF. Swear on your favourite singer and tell me that you’ve never skipped sunscreen… most of you are guilty, I can tell.
Sunscreen should be an important step in your routine, irrespective of your gender, age or skin colour. A lot of dark-skinned people claim that they don’t need sunscreen because they are blessed with an abundance of melanin.
But times have changed, guys! This is not a climate change blog so we’ll not get into that. Of Course, the case is different when you don’t have any kind of sun exposure (Vitamin D deficiency *ahem*)
Let’s go through a few SPF facts I have discovered over these years of extensive Youtube and blogs bingeing.
1. 80-90% of cases of premature skin ageing and skin cancer is caused due to the unprotected exposure from UV rays.
2. How much SPF do I need?
Anything from SPF 30-50 is enough. You don’t need to go higher than that and definitely not lower. Apart from SPF, you need to check whether it provides broad-spectrum protection or not i.e., it saves from both UVA and UVB rays.
Also, check the PA factor. It means Protection Grade of UVA rays which measures the SPF of a sunscreen. Higher the plus ‘+’ signs, greater is sun protection.
3. UVA rays contribute to ageing while UVB rays contribute to skin burn. Both are likely to cause skin cancer.
You need to protect yourself from both. Also, there are other light rays which cause damage like Infrared rays, visible light; light from your phone and laptop screens.
4. There are 2 types of sunscreen – Physical (also called Mineral) and Chemical Sunscreen.
Physical sunscreen has mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and it sits on top of the skin and deflects and scatter the UVA rays.
Chemical sunscreen has organic compounds such as octinoxate, octisalate, which changes the UV rays into heat and then release it from the skin.
Physical sunscreens are better if you have sensitive skin.
5. How much do I need to apply? Is having SPF in makeup enough?
You need to apply 1 ml of product on your face to stop getting sunburnt. Be generous with your sunscreen application. Makeup with SPF is generally not enough unless,
- They have broad-spectrum protection
- You go generous and apply the same amount as you’d do in sunscreen. And no one uses that much amount of foundation!
6. Applied SPF 15 over SPF 30. Does that equal to SPF 45?
Applying sunscreen and then using products that have SPF in it does increase sun protection. But it doesn’t add up algebraically. SPF15 + SPF 30 is never equal to SPF 45. It would give you the protection of SPF 30 only.
7. Eyes age the earliest!
Don’t forget to use sunscreen on the area around your eyes as that’s where the signs of ageing start showing at its earliest. Also, unprotected sun exposure to UV rays would worsen your undereye circles.
8. Don’t forget your lips!
Lips have no melanin, which makes them more susceptible to sun damage caused by UV exposure. With regular sun exposure, your lips get thinner. You can get a lip balm that has SPF of 30.
9. European Sunscreens are better when it comes to providing UVA protection
This is because the standards there are higher. Not all sunscreens can be sold in Europe, they have specified chemicals that provide stronger protection from UVA rays. These ingredients aren’t approved by FDA to be sold in the USA. And I have no clue about India!
10. Stay clear of vitamin A in your sunscreen
Many sunscreens use vitamin A, which is an antioxidant and a great anti-ageing ingredient. But the vitamin doesn’t interact well with sunlight and may trigger the development of tumours.
Bonus Fact: Always remember we need protection from UV rays and they’re present even during cloudy days and winters, even when the sun isn’t.
Don’t forget to put on some sunscreen!