While propagating the idea that prolonged exposure to the sun can be damaging, we forget that exposure to sunlight for an appropriate period can work wonders. Vitamin D, commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, is essential for a healthy body.
As most people know, the sun is an excellent source of vitamin D along with a few food items. It also happens to be the easiest source of getting Vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure to sunlight can result in long-term skin damage, early ageing, suppressed immune system, and skin issues amidst others.
Today, the harsh rays of the sun necessitate regular use of sunscreen not just to prevent tanning or discolouration of skin but to keep a ton of other issues at bay. Prevention is better than cure, and a sunscreen lotion will do that for you.
In this article, we will be unfolding the benefits of sunscreen lotions and helping you choose the perfect sunscreen with the help of a well-articulated buying guide.
Why is Sunscreen a Necessity?
Including sunscreen in your daily routine is the wisest thing to do to protect your skin from the harsh sun rays. An important thing to consider is that sun care is not just limited to adults. Sunscreen matters for kids the same as well!
The sun gives off ultraviolet rays capable of damaging collagen and elastin, two of the key proteins found in our skin. It is vital to note that the sun produces a spectrum of UV rays, namely UVA, UVB, and UVC. While UVA is the most common type of UV rays reaching us, more intense UVB makes up for the lesser part of the sun rays and is responsible for producing vitamin C. Lastly, the UVC rays that are the most intense type of rays do not reach us because the ozone layer blocks them. These rays penetrate deep into our skin and kill the cells, causing permanent damage. Unfortunately, the ozone layer is depleting because of several reasons. Hence, it is always better to take care than to regret it later.
There are several reasons to befriend sunscreen. Using sunscreen reduces the signs of ageing by protecting the tissues of your skin, ensuring that its elasticity is intact. Furthermore, it puts a cap on the appearance of spots due to overexposure to the sunlight.
6 Skin conditions which can be prevented with sunscreen
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that causes a few patches of the skin to become darker than the surrounding skin. Commonly known as dark patches or spots, hyperpigmentation is caused due to an increase in melanin levels. Melanin is the pigment responsible for the color of your skin, hair, and eyes.
Since melanin is your skin’s natural sunscreen, on prolonged exposure to sunlight (UV rays), the cells of your skin, as a self-protective mechanism, produce more melanin, in turn, tanning a few patches of the skin more than the rest.
A sunscreen lotion is crucial in preventing hyperpigmentation because it protects the skin from harmful UV rays and prevents photodamage, which causes brown spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Dry skin is no less than a nightmare for most individuals. Our fast-paced routines, unhealthy lifestyles, and pollution are already making lives difficult, and no one wants their time out in the sun to make it worse.
Prolonged exposure to the sun damages the skin's protective barriers and increases the rate at which your skin loses moisture. As a result, your skin looks flaky and shows signs of premature wrinkles.
Furthermore, harsh sun rays also affect your skin’s natural oils, essential to maintain hydration. It also damages the collagen component of your skin. Collagen is responsible for maintaining the skin’s elasticity, keeping your skin hydrated, and improving the overall skin structure. Although one cannot swap sunscreen for a moisturizer, it provides your skin with a protective barrier, reducing the overall damage caused by the harmful UV rays.
It is a common belief that sunscreen causes acne. Well, let us debunk the myth. In reality, it is the other way round. Not using a sunscreen lotion can aggravate your acne. Prolonged exposure to the harmful rays of the sun can cause sunburn. This, in turn, causes inflammation of the skin. A sunscreen will create a barrier, protecting your skin from inflammation. While opting for a sunscreen, ensure that it is non-pore-clogging to prevent blocked pores.
When exposed to UV radiation from the sun, skin cells go into protective mode. Melanin gets transported from melanocytes to keratinocytes, skin's surface cells. The melanin pigment acts as a protective mechanism, preventing additional cell damage from UV exposure.
Tanning is the process by which the melanin in the skin rises following sun exposure, resulting in a darker coloration. This is our body's natural defense mechanism on exposure to sunlight. It acts as a shield to protect your skin from the sun.
Due to the depletion of the ozone layer, UV rays are easily passing through it. Sunscreens prevent or reduce the influence of the sun's damaging rays. The SPF number on a sunscreen, on the other hand, indicates the level of UVB protection it may provide. Sunscreens with a higher SPF rating offer more protection against UV radiation.
5. Skin allergies
Have you heard about sun poisoning? Sun poisoning, scientifically known as polymorphic light eruption, is the most common type of sun allergy caused due to overexposure to sunlight. Simply put, sun allergy is an umbrella term for a group of conditions that cause red, itchy rashes on the skin on exposure to the sun.
The signs and symptoms vary greatly depending on the causal factor. A few symptoms are redness, itching, pain, scaling, crusting, blisters, bleeding, or small bumps that may coalesce to form elevated patches. Sun cream will form a protective barrier over your skin, protecting the underlying skin cells from temporary or permanent damage.
6. Early Ageing Signs
UV radiation from the sun destroys the elastin and collagen fibers in our skin, causing age spots, spider veins, pigmentation, premature lines, wrinkles, redness, dullness, skin thinning, blotchiness, and yellowing. As mentioned before, sunscreen products prevent the sun from damaging the skin’s protective barrier and do not allow the UV rays to penetrate deep into the skin.
Types of sunscreens - Physical, Hybrid, and Chemical
Sunscreens are formulated using different sunscreen filters and other active ingredients to protect your skin from the sun
We are here to make you understand that these sunscreens have different mechanisms to filter the UV rays and protect your skin against sun damage.
1. Physical sunscreens
- Also called mineral sunscreens.
- They sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the sun rays.
- Zinc oxides and titanium dioxides are the key ingredients.
- Less likely to irritate the skin, great for sensitive skin types.
- Since mineral sunscreen forms a physical barrier on your skin, hence requires a little more effort to remove.
2. Hybrid sunscreens
- Combines the benefits of both physical and chemical sunscreens.
- Offers excellent sun protection.
- Silicone based hybrid sunscreens offer long lasting protection for outdoor activities like swimming, playing etc.
3. Chemical sunscreens
- Also called organic sunscreens.
- Contain the chemical filters that penetrate into the skin to absorb the UV rays. They convert the UV rays into heat and finally release them from skin.
- Spreads easily on skin and is also easier to wash off.
- Sunscreens that are free of Oxybenzone & OMC filters even work for acne prone skin types.
Understanding Your Sunscreen
The composition of your sunscreen lotion and your skin type will determine the effectiveness of your sunscreen. Today, the skincare market is flooded with sunscreen products, and hence it is vital to understand your sunscreen.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It denotes how much UVB light protection a product provides and is typically represented by a number such as SPF15, SPF30, SPF50 etc. It compares the time it takes for UVB rays to penetrate a sunscreen and cause the skin to turn red to the time it takes when there is no sunscreen. A product with a higher SPF rating will provide more protection.
It is important to note here that SPF does not rely on the time of exposure but rather depends on the amount of solar exposure. For example, the amount of exposure to sunlight for 1 hour at 9 AM will be more or less equal to exposure for 15 mins at 1 PM. Because the sun is harsher at mid-day compared to early morning or late evening, it takes less time to be exposed to the same quantity of solar radiation at midday.
Different types of SPF and which one is best
Different types of SPF offer different levels of protection. Take a look.
SPF less than 15 provides low protection
SPF 15 to 29 gives medium protection
SPF 30 to 49 offers high sun protection
SPF 50 offers excellent protection
Another way to look at SPF is by considering the percentage of UV rays it can block.
- SPF 15 blocks around 93% of all UVB radiation.
- SPF 30 protects against 97% of UV rays.
- At 98 percent, SPF 50 provides nearly total UVB protection.
Out of all the SPF, SPF 50 is the best since it offers maximum coverage from UV protection.
However, SPF is just one factor that determines the effectiveness of sunscreen and the protection it offers. Other factors are - skin type, time of the day, frequency of reapplication, weather conditions, the quantity of use, and other environmental factors.
UVA and UVB are the two main forms of UV light that can harm your skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will shield you against both. Not all normal/regular sunscreens provide this level of protection against UVA and UVB radiation. UVA and UVB radiation work together to cause sunburns, premature ageing, and protecting against both are critical for healthy skin. For this reason alone, it is best to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen to ensure total sun protection.
PA is an abbreviation for "UVA Protection Grade." SPF (sun protection factor) only measures UVB protection, whereas PA only measures UVA protection. UVB rays cause our skin to turn red and burn, while UVA rays do the majority of the damage to our skin's genes. UVA rays also happen to be the rays that make up for most of the sun’s energy. More the number of pluses, the higher the protection it offers. You can refer to the following chart to decode your sunscreens PA levels -
- PA+ - Mild protection
- PA++ - Moderate protection
- PA+++ - High protection
- PA++++ - Extremely High protection
Type of sunscreens for different skin types
1. For acne-prone and oily skin type
Individuals with oily or acne-prone skin often skip applying sunscreen, believing that it might cause or aggravate acne. However, it is only a myth. All you need is sunscreen with the right ingredients. It is best to use a dermatologically tested sunscreen lotion developed by scientists with clinically proven ingredients.
One must avoid sun protection creams containing chemicals like oxybenzone, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) etc. These individuals must also ensure that their sunscreens are non-Comedogenic, lightweight, and non-greasy. Re’equil’s Oxybenzone Free Sunscreen is an ideal choice. It is specially designed for acne-prone and oily skin and provides everything a sunscreen should.
2. For dry skin types
Sunscreens that include a moisturizer (cream form) or that have nourishing ingredients like Physalis Angulata Extract will work best if you have dry skin. The Hydrate & Sun Protect Bundle For Dry Skin by Re’equil is a perfect combination of products if you have dry skin.
3. For normal to combination skin types
While choosing a sunscreen for normal to combination skin type, check for physical filters that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The Ultra Matte Dry Touch Sunscreen Gel is suitable for all skin types and hence can be an ideal choice for daily wear.
Sunscreen products are a small, everyday investment that will bless you with healthy-looking, youthful skin. They not only maintain the quality of your skin but protect it from possible dangers.
Re’equil offers a wide range of sunscreen suitable to all skin types. Re’equil sunscreens offer a broad-spectrum UVA, UVB, and IR protection with SPF 50 and up to 4 plus PA ratings. They do not contain oxybenzone and come in chemical, hybrid, and 100 % physical formulations.
While the Ultra Matte Dry Touch Sunscreen Gel is suitable for outdoor activities and has no white cast on application, the Oxybenzone Free Sunscreen is perfect for acne-prone and oily skin. Similarly, the Sheer Zinc Tinted Mineral Sunscreen is uniquely formulated to blend into every skin tone and leave no white cast. Re’equil also offers a benefitting bundle of sunscreen and moisturizer that will provide extra hydration to your skin, leaving it tight and supple.
With Re’equil sunscreens, you can happily bid goodbye to worries about sun damage and enjoy your time out in the sun!