Skincare in Summers: We all know how crucial it is to apply sunscreen before stepping outside, but did you know that it’s just as important to do so indoors, if not more so? Or that you ought to be applying sunscreen every two hours or so? We consulted an expert to learn the facts about sunscreen, including when to use it, how much to apply, and how long to leave it on. This is because the clear guidelines for UV protection are sometimes misunderstood.
Zee English spoke to Dr Rohit Batra, Dermatologist, DermaWorld Skin & Hair Clinic, New Delhi about the skin’s protective barrier in summer- Sunscreens, skin types and more.
Sunscreen protects and prevents your skin from premature ageing, skin cancers, pigmentation, and sunburns. But, there is a lot of hype about the SPF of sunscreen. Dr Rohit clarifies, “SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF only indicates the level of protection against the sun’s ultraviolet B rays, also known as UVBs.”
Is Higher SPF Better During Hot Weather?
“If you go to a supermarket, you will see a plethora of sunscreen that ranges from SPF 30+ SPF 50+, and so on… Most of these sunscreens are giving you protection from UVB. UVB is that spectrum of sunlight that causes skin cancer etc. which is not very common in India. So for the Indian population, any sunscreen between SPF 20 to 50 is good enough. Therefore, if you use sunscreen of 20-30 SPF plus it’s good, and if you have something 50+ it’s very good,” says Dr Rohit.
For the Indian population, your sunscreen must have UVA protection. UVA will protect your skin from tanning. So look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which offers UVB and UVA protection. Just as there is SPF for UVB protection you have a boot-star rating for UVA protection and a sunscreen with a boot-star rating of 4 to 5 is considered to be a good UVA protector.
When to Apply Sunscreen?
“If there is light, you need sunscreen. For those who spend most of their time in front of mobile, laptop, and TV screens, wearing sunscreen is highly recommended. Therefore, to protect the skin use sunscreen that has Infrared protection and visible light protection. So if your sunscreen has UVA, UVB, and IR protection, it’s best for you,” says an expert dermatologist on what is the right time to apply sunscreen for skin protection.
Sunscreen needs to be applied frequently during the day and on a daily basis. Therefore, sunscreen should be a product that both suits and protects your skin. Sunscreen guards against freckles while also maintaining the moisture your skin needs to prevent tanning and ageing.
How to Apply Sunscreen?
Dermatologist recommends, “If you are going outside, apply one teaspoon of sunscreen (or use sunscreen in a quantity of 50 or 1 Rupee coin) to your face 30 minutes before stepping out & reapply it again every two hours.”
There is no need to wash your face every time you apply sunscreen. You can apply a second layer over and above without washing when you are out. So, be sure to pick a sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type, offers complete protection, and is also reasonably priced.
There are a great number of sunscreens available in the market today with products ranging from traditional sunscreens (cream based), stick, spray and lotion or tinted or untinted.
How to Choose Between Stick Vs Spray Vs Lotion Sunscreen?
Stick sunscreen is good for small areas like under-eyes, cheeks, nose, etc. Whereas, Spray sunscreen is convenient to use on body parts such as shoulders, back, etc where your hands can’t reach easily. No doubt, stick and spray sunscreen are convenient to use, unlike lotion which can be messy and difficult to apply. But with spray and stick, you can’t calculate the amount of sunscreen used.
As stated earlier, using a teaspoon quantity of sunscreen on the face can give better protection from the sun’s rays. It doesn’t matter how expensive your sunscreen is or how high the SPF is, if the coverage and quantity are not enough or appropriate, the sunscreen will not fulfil its purpose i.e. protecting and preventing skin from harmful rays of the sun or any other form of light. So, applying it correctly and adequately is the key!
Dr Rohit explained the difference between the usage of tinted vs untinted sunscreen for Indian skin type and how a tinted sunscreen can be more beneficial. “Talking about tinted SPF, contains iron oxide which makes it more effective than untinted SPF since it blocks both UV and blue light. Additionally, tinted sunscreens can be used in place of foundation, to achieve a natural-looking glow without needing to wear a lot of makeup. And since it comes in various shades, you can match your skin tone without worrying about white streaks,” he says.
How to Choose The Right Sunscreen?
Make sure you choose a sunscreen base as per your skin type. Those with dry skin should choose a sunscreen that is cream or lotion-based, and Gel-based sunscreen is advised for people with oily or acne-prone skin because they are non-comedogenic.
Although people forget to protect their lips and so everyone should use a lip balm with SPF in it as well for better overall skin protection from the sun’s harmful rays.