Sunscreen has become a staple in every person’s closet. Irrespective of gender, in India, sunscreen use has become a routine mainly to avoid tanning and prevent skin darkening. There is an overload of information on the web about how you should be choosing the best sunscreen. Despite this, there are a few key factors that you should take note of to get the maximum benefit from your sunscreen.
USE SUNSCREEN EVEN WHILE INDOORS
A lot of homemakers swear that they do not step into the sun. They may not consider the small amount of sun exposure that they get while hanging clothes on the terrace or walking to a nearby departmental store as significant. There is also sunlight entering our houses through glass windows. This is significant to worsen sun-related skin problems like melasma and freckles. Thus, it becomes vital that you use a sunscreen even while indoors.
USE SUNSCREEN EVEN IF IT IS RAINING
Cloudy weather with a pleasant, cool breeze is everyone’s delight. You may head out to an outdoor café to sip on some coffee with your friends. In such a situation, skipping sunscreen just because it is not sunny is not acceptable. Remember that UV rays of the sun can reach the ground after penetrating the cloud cover. So always use a sunscreen even if it is cloudy or raining.
USE SUNSCREEN EVEN IN WINTERS
Using sunscreen only when you think the weather is hot is the wrong thing to do! Ultraviolet rays of the sun are present even in winters and not just in summers. It is the sun’s infrared rays that determine the temperature and not the UV rays. Using sunscreen during winters is inevitable if you want to avoid tanning.
USE A SUNSCREEN EVEN WHILE TRAVELLING
A lot of people find it silly to apply sunscreen if they are in an AC car! Can you see the sunlight all around your car windows? These rays can obviously penetrate the glass as they are not tinted. Tinted glasses also allow up to 20% of UV rays to enter the car. Do not skip the sunscreen if you are in an AC car or a bus.
USE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SUNSCREEN
You may often feel that you are tanning in spite of using sunscreen religiously and thus keep switching brands. But what you need to check is whether you are applying the right amount of sunscreen. 3 ml (a little more than half a teaspoon) is necessary to cover the face+ neck and each arm. 6 ml (a little more than one teaspoon) is necessary to cover each leg to get the best protection.
CHOOSE A SUNSCREEN BEST SUITED FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE
The common reason why people stop using sunscreen is because they find it too oily and sticky. This is more so in humid weather conditions.
If you have oily skin, choose a matte finish sunscreen with added silicone / dimethicone.
e.g., - La Shield sunscreen, Lotus 3 in 1 matte-look daily sunblock
If you have dry skin, you can use a sunscreen with added moisturizers.
e.g., - Aveeno protect + hydrate sunscreen, Cetaphil Daylong sensitive - gel fluid
If you have normal skin, you can lucky to choose from a whole range of products.
e.g., – Neutrogena ultra-sheer dry-touch sunblock, Photobloc sunscreen
Repeat the sunscreen application every 4-6 hours
You may be using a sunscreen with a high SPF. But what matters more is that you repeat the sunscreen every 4-6 hours to maintain its efficacy. Newer sunscreens claim that their efficacy lasts up to 8 hours. But in hot and sultry Indian conditions, it is always safe to repeat its application every 4 hours. Always repeat the sunscreen if you are swimming or into outdoor activities that involve heavy sweating.
Keeping these small pointers in mind will ensure that no matter which brand you choose, you will get the best results from your sunscreen.
Dr. Preethi Nagaraj is a senior dermatologist, nature lover, and a travel writer. A firm believer that ‘the key to healthy skin is a healthy diet and a fit body’, she is the medical director of Twacha Skin and Hair Clinic, Kochi. She regularly blogs about skin and hair issues on her website www.kochidermatologist.com/blog.
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