It is 33 degrees outside and you are thinking of heading out. Things you might do include:
- You don’t wear sunscreen. Because you are lazy/can’t be bothered.
- You look for some sun protection and find several products on your table. You don’t know which one to put. So you put a bit of the product with the highest SPF.
- You’ve already put on makeup with SPF protection. You head out.
- You cover up with cap and umbrella and long sleeves. (You might regret this later)
Do any of these sound like something you do every day? What could you do for your kind of lifestyle? We break down the basics of sun protection for your skin into quick points for you.
What is SPF?
Sun Protection Factor. To calculate an estimate of how long you can be in the sun without burning, you take:
Time it takes to get sunburn X SPF number of product = Time you can stay out in the sun without the burn
Source: Banana Boat
UVA and UVB?
UV stands for UV radiation. UVA rays have long wavelengths and are responsible for premature skin aging. These rays can also penetrate glass windows.
UVB rays are shorter than UVA, and are responsible for the reddening and sunburn of your superficial skin layer. A quick hack to remember this is ‘A’ for aging and ‘B’ for burning.
Sunblock VS Sunscreen
Sunblock is a physical form of protective lotion whereas Sunscreen is a chemical kind. Some might respectively classify them as ‘mineral’ and ‘classic’ sunscreens instead.
What’s the difference?
The physical/mineral version acts as a layer of barrier to scatter or deflect UV rays and is thicker in consistency. Essential ingredients include zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which is less irritable for sensitive skin. I used to apply Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock for normal day use, but it sometimes leaves a shiny layer. For camps outdoor, I would slather a generous amount of Mentholatum’s Sunplay Super Block. Although you might look white as a sheet for a while, I swear it helps to keep the sunburn at bay!
Chemical sun protection interacts with your skin, and helps absorbs UV rays before they reach the vulnerable dermal layer. I currently use Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen and it works well without the shine or the grease. Many people recommend Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen too.
Source: CAL Pharma
Apply sunscreen as you do with your moisturizer, and sunblock as the last step to your skincare routine.
*Bonus Tip: If you notice products that say ‘broad spectrum‘, it means they promise to provide protection against both UVB and UVA. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sun Cream is a good investment that offers such.
But if you are not going to be in the sun for long/don’t burn easily then a basic sunscreen will suffice. Additionally, try to get sunscreen with extra antioxidant properties to more effectively fight against free radical damage.
How long prior to outdoor exposure should you apply sun protection? And how much?
15-30 minutes, and remember to reapply especially if you are going to sweat or swim. You should apply up to a shot glass worth of sunscreen/block daily.