It is summer and time for pool parties and water sports fun but before you even head outdoors, make sure that you have the right sunscreen for your skin.
Did you know that even if you are just staying indoors at work or shopping in the shopping malls, you should remember to put on your sunscreen diligently? Even though UVB rays are blocked by the glass windows, UVA rays can still reach you from the indoor lighting.
So what should we look out while shopping for a suitable sunscreen? Firstly, we should decide on the SPF required. When I mention “SPF”, I am referring to “Sun Protection Factor”. You can do a rough estimation of how much SPF you need with some simple calculations.
A very simple example would be: SPF 30 x 10 = 300 minutes of sun (5 hours)
However, that is if you do not perspire or stay out of the water. That is why sunscreen bottles always have a print that recommends that you reapply your sunscreen every 30 minutes especially if you are participating in outdoor activities. In fact, even when you are indoors, your clothing or hands could also rub off your sunscreen. Hence, if possible, do re-apply every one to two hours. This is true for chemical sunscreens, however, if you are using natural organic sunscreen then no reapplication is required.
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It was once widely believed that SPF15 was sufficient for sun protection but in recent years, this has however changed and a higher SPF is desired. Your skin tone also affects the recommended SPF required. Darker skin contains more of the pigment Melanin, which helps block out damaging UV rays up to a certain point. This is why the fairer you are, the easier you would burn under the sun due to the lack of melanin, as compared to someone who is darker skinned.
When purchasing sunscreen, make sure that you also get one which is labelled “Broad Spectrum”, because this means it covers both UVA & UVB rays. UVA rays account for up to 95% of the UV radiation reaching the surface of the earth. Though less intense than UVB rays, they are the cause of wrinkles and skin aging. UVB rays are the ones between 10 am to 4 pm, and the reason behind sun burnt and reddening of your skin. It is also a culprit in causing skin cancer.
There are a few different forms of sunscreens available in the market. Cream and lotion based sunscreens are the most common ones being sold nowadays. Some, however, might prefer a spray-on sunscreen because it is handy in reaching places where your hands are unable to reach.
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And since there is a greater move towards all things natural and green nowadays, organic sunscreens, some of which only uses Zinc Oxide as their main ingredient, are getting increasingly popular especially with those who have sensitive skin.
A few reasons as to why one should switch to natural sunscreens include not needing to reapply as it sits on top of the skin rather than being absorbed, and it also acts as a barrier which blocks UV rays due to its mineral composition. Chemical sunscreens usually contain toxic ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Research has shown that oxybenzone is considered an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it can reduce sperm count in men and may contribute to endometriosis in women.
Therefore, if possible, try to get yourself an organic sunscreen that is broad spectrum and comes in an SPF which suits your daily needs.