How to apply sunscreen
We all know the importance of applying sun block lotion before we step out. The cosmetic market is flooded with myriad no. of companies that manufacture various types of sunscreen lotions. Sunscreen is one of the most important things for skin health because almost 90% of the symptoms of skins like premature skin aging, wrinkles and even skin cancer are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light emitted from the sun. The rays can now easily reach the earth because of the holes in ozone layer caused due to pollution. These rays are the primary cause of skin diseases and fatal skin cancers. Long term exposure to UV rays can cause severe skin diseases whereas short term exposure may cause skin aging, dryness etc. Many people often have the misconception that sunscreen should only be used while stepping out on a sunny day. It is a myth. On darker winter days and on rainy days as well sunscreen is imperative. As the temperature is lower on such days the rays prove to be even more harmful on such days. While exposure to sunlight for a smaller duration might not cause skin cancer, it can increase the production of melanin which can cause skin tanning.
Sunscreen is such a commonplace thing these days that we all think we know how to use it. But there are certain things to be kept in mind while using a sunscreen that will ensure that it is completely effective. The sunscreen should be effective for a broad range of spectrum. Also, the frequency and the amount of sunscreen applied should be carefully considered.
The UV rays are categorized into three categories i.e. UV-A, UV-B and UV- C. The UVC rays are not harmful as they do not reach the earth. UVB rays cannot penetrate the glass but they cause sunburns. UVA rays are more constant in their penetration and go deeper in to the skin. Their intensity does not vary and is consistent.
The sunscreen should be chosen based on the ingredients and the Sun Protection Factor it provides. The ingredients in a sunscreen can be of two types, one which absorb radiation and one which block radiation. Ingredient like zinc oxide are more opaque while micronium titanium oxide is less opaque but still provides wide protection.
The correct method of applying sunscreen is to apply it half an hour before stepping out in the sun. It should be applied liberally on all exposed body parts. A very important point to remember is to apply sunscreen on top of other makeup products. The sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours in the sun. Sunscreen should also be applied after exercising, swimming etc. Sunscreen should be applied daily and regularly.
A lesser commonly known fact is about the use of sunscreen and insect repellants together. Insect repellants decrease the potency of sunscreens and while using them together a higher SPF sunscreen should be used.
So, to summarize a few points to be kept in mind, to ensure full effectiveness of sunscreen are:-
- Sunscreen should be used daily and not intermittently.
- Use a sunscreen with a SPF of minimum 30 or higher.
- Use sunscreen liberally and should cover all body parts exposed to sun.
- It should be replied every two hours to ensure maximum protection.
- For those who have jobs that involve more exposure to the sun, such as pilots, frequent fliers, sales agents etc. sunscreen should be used strictly and not intermittently.
- A sunscreen with a broader range of spectrum that provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.