I know, I know, the name of the blog post probably hints to it being a boring read. Fret not, in order to ensure that you don’t fall asleep mid-reading, I have covered the topic of sunscreens as answers to questions that normally hound us about them. It doesn’t matter whether you are a ‘Religiously following 10 step skincare regimen every single day skincare junkie’ or ‘Dab vaseline on lips and I am done skincare enthusiast’, sunscreen is the non-negotiable step in both the scenarios.
1. Why should we apply sunscreen?
– Sunscreens protect our skin from harmful UV rays.
– Regular use of sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer.
– Sunlight will not be kind to you if you decide to forgo wearing sunscreen so as to get a tan, because you will end up with uneven discoloration and dark spots.
– And, if none of the above reasons convinces you to make sunscreen an essential part of your skincare regimen, please know that people who regularly use sunscreen show signs of aging later than people who don’t and who participate in ‘Aaj kuch daring karenge‘ (Let’s do something daring today!) campaign every day by not wearing sunscreen as they step out of the house.
2. Types of sunscreens and which ones to choose?
– There are two types of sunscreens. Mineral/Physical and Chemical. Though both have their own pros and cons, studies have shown that mineral sunscreens are better than chemical sunscreens. But FDA hasn’t labeled either type of sunscreen as unsafe. You can know which is which by looking at the ingredients list. Mineral sunscreens have Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide in their ingredients list, whereas chemical sunscreens have Oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, octisalate as few of their ingredients.
3. What should you look for in your sunscreen before buying?
A) Whether it’s Broadspectrum– Broadspectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If UVB causes sunburn then UVA is responsible for tanning and premature aging. So sunscreens which offer protection against both are most effective.
B) Check the SPF– SPF (sun protection factor) is a measure of sunscreen’s ability to protect your skin from the UVB rays. That is, if you use an SPF 30 sunscreen properly, it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you had used no sunscreen. An SPF product of 15 or higher is recommended if you are staying indoors but an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended if you are planning on being outdoors for a long time.
C) Whether you want water resistant or very water resistant– No sunscreen is WATERPROOF (they will eventually wash off). But, if you are planning on swimming or doing intense exercises outside, then water resistant sunscreens which are effective for upto 40 minutes of swimming is recommended. The very water resistant sunscreens are effective for upto 80 minutes in the water.
4. Which formulation of sunscreen is most effective?
– Sunscreens these days come in various formulations. Lotions, cream, clear gels, sticks, powders and sprays. Honestly, the best formulation is the one that works for you and which is comfortable for you. If we force ourselves to use a certain formulation just because we have seen others use it — even if we find it uncomfortable — then we are not gonna stick with it for a long time.
5. When to apply, how much to apply and how frequently should you apply?
– WHEN – If we are using mineral sunscreen, no waiting time is required. But if we are using chemical sunscreen, a waiting time of 20-30 minutes is preferred before we venture outside.
– HOW MUCH – the common mistake we tend to make when it comes to sunscreens is being stingy with the application thinking that the high SPF would make up for it. It does not! If we are using for face alone, a nickel sized dollop is recommended and if it’s for face and exposed areas of body, then the recommended quantity is 2 tablespoons. If using a spray, apply till an even sheen appears on skin.
– HOW FREQUENTLY – I can’t stress enough how important this point is. Our job is not done just by choosing an effective sunscreen and applying it liberally, because it doesn’t matter whether we are using mineral or chemical sunscreen, sunscreens have to be reapplied every 2 hours regardless of the formulation if we are spending a long time outdoors or sweating a lot.
6. Other sun protection measures
– And, as we all are aware, sunscreens alone are not enough to protect our skin from the harsh sun. Using umbrellas and wide brimmed hats, and wearing sunglasses that offer UV blocking and not just style are a few other important steps that we can take towards ensuring our skin protection.
For a long time, I abhorred the use of sunscreen. I knew about the benefits, but even the risk of skin cancer couldn’t keep me from detesting the white cast look (like, we had unsuccessfully tried to wipe out the frosting from our faces after someone smashed our faces into the cake) and clogged pores that using them resulted in. But, two years ago, by a total coincidence, I came across the sunscreen by Neogen Dermalogy that I truly believe is a miracle product, as I actually enjoy using my sunscreen now. Not only does this product tick off all the required boxes, but amazingly — who am I kidding, miraculously — manages to disappear into the skin leaving no white cast trace whatsoever. It’s very light and doesn’t clog the pores either. Not surprisingly, this sunscreen which sports rave reviews on Sephora always manages to be out of stock. I have linked the other websites where you can find this product, here and here. It’s also there in Amazon but I am not sure if it’s authentic though as I have never bought the product from there. If you live in New York, there’s a Korean store on Mott street called ‘oo35mm’, where you can always be ensured to find this sunscreen.
I hope that I have managed to answer few of the common queries about sunscreens and sun protection.
Moving onto the outfit…
TOP– Austin Reed. SKIRT– Ted Baker. Sharing a few of my favourite flowy skirt styles with you guys below.
EARRINGS– Kate Spade. Been using this one for over 2 years now and still not tired of it. If I am ever in doubt of how to accessorize an outfit, I just choose this. Honestly, this delicate drop earring goes with everything.
Let them dazzle!
HEELS– Valentino Rockstud heels. The most comfortable pair of heels on the surface of this planet, hands down! It’s no exaggeration. I have very low tolerance for pain from heels and blisters, but if I can spend an entire day wearing these beauties with no blisters and no heel pain whatsoever, then you can trust that these are actually the real deal. Though the heel height comes to around 2.5 inches, the 3 straps clasping your heel secure it firmly so that your feet remain very sturdy while walking despite the height. These go as well with your jeans and T-shirt on a day out with your friends as with your dress/gown attending a gala, they are that versatile! TIP– always go for 1/2 a size larger when buying this style.
Rockstuds all the way.
And that concludes today’s post. If you have any queries about today’s post, please mention in the comment section below.