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Sunny side up

india Updated: Apr 23, 2010 14:32 IST
Rochelle Pinto
Rochelle Pinto
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Forget the advertisment and bold claims that bombard you. We get skin experts to give you the real dope on complete sun protection.

Myth: Herbal sunscreen is better for your skin.
According to Dr Rohini Wadhwani of Skin Essentials, herbal products may not necessarily be chemical free. “Products only need a certain percentage of natural ingredients to be classified as herbal. Pure organic ones need to be certified.”

Wadhwani also explains that despite the inclusion of ingredients that have protective qualities, they get diluted in the final product and are not as effective. “The percentage and concentration of the sun-protective ingredient used is important. When it is mixed with other ingredients, it loses its potency,” she reveals.

Myth: Sunblock and sunscreen are different words for the same product.
Wadhwani insists that while sunscreen is a filter, sun block is a complete protective cover. “It is ideal for athletes and people who spend lots of time in the sun or who tan quickly. You don’t need sun block for minimum activity in the sun,” she assures.

Those with sensitive skin should test various products to find one that suits their skin the best. If your product causes rashes or burning sensations, change it. Those who have acne-prone skin could opt for gel-based sunscreens, which are water-based and lighter.

Myth: It is enough to use cosmetics with SPF levels.
Dr Abhijeet Desai of Evolve Medispa doesn’t believe in using cosmetic products that claim to have SPF properties. “Sunscreens need to be properly medicated and certified by the Indian FDA. They have prescribed amounts that you can trust,” he insists.

Those who are exposed to intense or prolonged sunlight cannot rely only on cosmetic products like compact or foundation that claim to have sun protection qualities. “These can be used by those who spend most of their time indoors, or on top of a good sunscreen,” he recommends.

Myth: Products with high SPF are too harsh for the skin.
“The SPF number denotes the time for which the sunscreen is active,” Desai explains. “The number makes the dosage higher and the cream thicker, but does not make it too harsh for the skin.” These products are recommended for places where the sun is really harsh.

He also advises parents to choose specially formulated sunscreens for their children, which won’t damage their sensitive skin. “Highly concentrated sunscreens may only cause skin irritation if you have acne-prone oily skin. You need to test different products before settling on one that’s convenient for you.”