Sunscreen is commonly perceived as something that acts as a shield to protect your skin from damage due to ultraviolet radiation of the sun. At times, we don’t even realize the degree to which our skin may get damaged and prolonged accumulation of sun damage may also lead to something as dangerous as skin cancer! Here, sunscreens act as a saving grace by limiting this damaging exposure as they offer an eclectic blend of multiple ingredients that have the potential to safeguard your skin.
Understanding UV rays
There are dominantly two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and accelerate the ageing process by causingwrinkling, leathering, sagging and aggravate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays too. However, UVB rays are the chief culprit behind terrible sun burns that lead to problems like skin cancer too.
Type of Sunscreens
Broadly there are two types of sunscreens, physical blockers and chemical absorbers. The ones that act as a shield to reflect back UVA and UVB rays by using mild ingredients like zinc oxide & titanium dioxide are physical sunscreens. They are suitable for people with sensitive skin as the chemical absorbers are rich in avobenzone and benzophenone. However, they rank high in terms of effectiveness. Gel sunscreen, sunscreen lotions, coloured sunscreen, sunscreen wipe, cream sunscreen, spray sunscreen, and powder sunscreen are some common versions that are available.
Active Ingredients of a Sunscreen
While looking across the sunscreen aisle of a drugstore, we can see multiple options that chiefly vary on the basis of SPF factor. For a layman, SFP can be understood as the degree of effectiveness of a sunscreen to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. The higher the SPF value of a sunscreen, the better is its expediency. A Fine blend of chemical absorbers and physical blockers help to create a broad spectrum sunscreen. Avabenzone, Cinnamates, Ecamsule, Salicylates, Benzophenones, Zinc Oxide and titanium dioxide are some of its staple ingredients.
Suitability and Uses of Sunscreens
People have different skin types and sunscreen demands great caution in terms of usage:
Children - As their skin is a little sensitive, sunscreens with chemicals should be avoided. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are a safe-bet for them.
For Elderly People – During the old years of life, the skin becomes more vulnerable to skin cancers and using a sunscreen that blends both, physical and chemical components is advisable. A spray-on version is easy to use for them.
Problematic Skin – People with acne or allergy prone skin should refrain from products containing PABA or oxybenzone.
General Usage – In general, it is advisable to choose a sunscreen with minimum SPF 15 to stay protected from any potential sun damage.
With the alarming growth of sun damaging diseases, it is important to make sunscreens an indispensable part of our daily routine. It is never too late to get started, all you need to do is wear sun protective clothing and a good sunscreen before stepping out in the blazing sun!