I learned my lesson. And you should too! The sooner the better.
Sun and sensitive skin do not share a happy equation. I learned this after spending an hour and half in the pool on a sunny day. This is when my face was no less than a bruised tomato! (I know this is a harsh metaphor, but it's relatively true). I had burning sensations, and swelling all over my face and was wondering what went wrong! My mother immediately iced my face to relieve the pain. It did calm down but later when I went in the sun for shopping, the rashes resurfaced!
Without ignoring it like before, I rushed to see a dermatologist. And that is where I found the missing piece of the skincare puzzle– Sunscreen.
To explain to me the right solution, he began from the root cause of the problem.
Major Concerns of Sensitive and Dry Skin
Until now, I was ignorant of my skin type. The following list of questions enlightened me-
“Does your skin react when you wear any fragrances?
Do you feel your skin tight and dry often?
Does your skin find it difficult to adapt to any new skincare products?
In the changing weather/ season, do you notice any signs of uneasiness on your skin like breakouts, rashes, redness or inflammation?” He asked.
And to my surprise, the answer to all the questions asked was a big yes!
This is how I discovered my skin type – a combination of sensitive and dry. And that the UV rays from the sun tend to be extremely harmful for the sensitive skin due to broken skin barrier and also, for all other skin types as well for that matter. The dermatologist told me that it is crucial to be aware of the importance of a safe sunscreen.
“What do you mean by ‘safe’ sunscreen? And how shall I find one?” I enquired.
Ingredients to go for in sunscreen for dry & sensitive skin prone to acne breakouts
“For a sunscreen to be safe, it should be free from harmful chemicals like Oxybenzone, Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) and Octocrylene that can damage the already sensitive skin.”
“Then what ingredients should I look for?” I asked all clueless and he explained me a list of ingredients-
As complex as it sounds, this ingredient is cherry blossom leaf extract!
This natural component exhibits amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Since sensitive and dry skin type is easily prone to allergic reactions to various things, it needs a calming agent. Research also shows that Prunus Yedoensis Leaf Extract has a soothing effect on the irritated skin and helps inhibit melanogenesis.
“Now since you like to indulge in outdoor activities like swimming, the next two ingredients I’m going to elaborate can really help you prevent the harsh reactions / allergies on the skin from the harmful UV rays.” The dermatologist gave me a kind of assurance!
This is an advanced sunscreen filter to shield your skin from the sun. It is famous for being photostable in nature. In simple words, when in combination with other sunscreen ingredients, it avoids the chemical reactions due to harmful UV rays. This amazing characteristic - photostability- amplifies the effectiveness of the sunscreen in protecting the skin.
Most of the sunscreen filters can only protect you from either UVA or UVB rays. However, Tinosorb® M gives twice the effort and provides an advanced broad spectrum protection to sensitive skin against both UVA (both UVA-1 and UVA-2), UVB.
It is one of the most stable filters out there. It also possesses the qualities of mineral filters by absorbing the UV rays and converting them into the least damaging form of energy and later reflects them away. This is how it protects the sensitive skin.
I was amazed to know about all these ingredients that could benefit my skin and protect it from the extremities of the UV rays at all cost!
Also, apart from the ingredients, the dermat gave me a checklist of characteristics to look for in a sunscreen for sensitive skin and dry skin.
Things to look for while choosing sunscreen
- Make sure it is ‘non-comedogenic’ in nature; does not clog pores.
- It is non-fragrant; to avoid any allergies from scents due to broken skin barrier.
- Check for zero white cast; it will ease the blending process.
- Go for a hydrating and non-greasy texture; to avoid oiliness.
- Get yourself a lightweight formula; heavy formulation will be difficult to wear on sensitive skin.
- SPF 50 or higher
- Pa +++ or more
I was impressed with all the particulars to buy a safe sunscreen! At last, I was left with one final query i.e., “Except for sunscreen, how do I protect skin from sun exposure?”
Tips to follow to protect skin from sun damage
- Apply sunscreen liberally covering all exposed areas at least 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply after heavy sweating and swimming.
- Make sunscreen a 365 day ritual; even on rainy and winter days.
- Wear a hat or use an umbrella to cover up your face, neck and ears.
- Go for sunglasses with UV protection to protect the eyes.
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure during peak hours.
- If you are using retinol the night before ensure that you apply sunscreen the next morning.