How to choose sunscreen based on season, skin type and SPF content
Dry skin is a resultant of the skin not retaining sufficient moisture to keep it soft and supple. This might happen as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, or certain medical conditions. In the case of colder climates, dry skin can also stem from the cold, dry winter air.
Moisturisers, which rehydrate the top layer of the skin and seal in the water, are one of the most effective ways to treat dry skin. According to health.harvard.edu, “In general, the thicker and greasier a product, the more effectively it will moisturize your skin. Some of the most effective and least expensive are petroleum jelly and its vegetable-based alternatives, and moisturizing oils, including vegetable oils. Because they contain no water, they’re best used while the skin is still damp from bathing, to seal in the moisture. Lotions designed to moisturize your skin contain water as well as oil, in varying proportions. They usually include both humectants and emollients and can be applied to skin throughout the day.”
Should you use moisturisers and sunscreens separately, or a moisturiser with SPF works well?
A regular moisturiser’s consistency is not as thick as that of a sunscreen, which tends to cut down on its effectiveness. Many moisturisers also claim to protect from sun damage do not contain the requisite UVA protection and hence won’t be able to protect against UV ageing and other issues pertaining to sun damage. UVA and UVB rays of the sun are responsible for skin issues, ageing, sunburn and other issues caused by prolonged exposure to the sun without proper protection.
Matthew Gass of the British Association of Dermatologists, says in the report: “Unfortunately, moisturiser with SPF just doesn’t perform particularly well in real world situations compared to sunscreen. Although it may say factor 30 on the box, this study is just further evidence that lab testing conditions for these products don’t reflect how they are used.”
This video by Ted-Ed explains how sunscreen helps the skin and the SPF content you must use for your skin:
Identify if your skin is allergic to certain sunscreen types as different sunscreens have different ingredients. Test the product on your skin at the back of your ear lobe to ensure there are no skin irritants in the product. In case of sensitive skin, avoid sunscreens with aphelia ingredients, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic sunscreen.
If you have dry skin, choose a sunscreen with suitable oil-based content that moisturises your skin but doesn’t make it overtly greasy too, giving rise to zits and other ailments.
In case of oily skin, use a gel-based sunscreen or sun foundations that range from soufflé-based, mousse-based, water-based and other variants.
Be aware of the protection you will get from your sunscreen as a sunscreen with SPF 15 provides a 94% to 95% UVB rays coverage and SPF 28 gives you up to 96% coverage.
Ensure to purchase a sunscreen marked ‘broad-spectrum’ to shield against both UVA (ultraviolet-A) and UVB (ultraviolet-B) rays.
Dolly Kumar, Founder and Director at Cosmic Nutracos Solutions Pvt. Ltd. says, “While choosing a sunscreen that is perfect for you, you should first select the right SPF. Ideally, any sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) between 15 to 25+ will help protect you from daily sun exposure. However, if you are staying outdoors for a longer period of time, then opt for a higher SPF. Also, choose a sunscreen which is non-sticky or non-greasy, as this will not make your skin too sweaty. Opt for a sunscreen whose active ingredient is natural or a superfood, and contains no harsh chemicals. Also, for ethical buying check for claims like cruelty-free and vegan, or certified by PETA.”
Sunscreen in the monsoons
As monsoon showers have begun playing peek-a-boo, don’t discount your summer skincare regime already. Even in the monsoons, you need the right dose of sunscreen with the onset of the unrelenting sun. Here’s helping you with what to keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen as per your skin type.
Go for waterproof products for the external care of your skin, while ensuring to keep yourself well-hydrated, well-nourished and well-rested, regardless of the season we’re in so you can feel happy and healthy throughout.
Are sunscreens bad for the environment?
According to the TED-Ed video ‘Which sunscreen should you choose?’, mineral-based sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are more suited and does not irritate the skin, unlike carbon-based sunscreens. Mineral-based sunscreens are good for the environment too especially if you plan on catching the rays on a beach vacay and decide to go for a swim in the sea. Carbon-based sunscreens harm marine life like coral reefs, that are home to nearly 25% of all fish species making them the most diverse and protective ecosystems. Oxybenzone, Butylparaben, Octinoxate, and 4MBC are some ingredients that contribute to stressful conditions like coral bleaching on the reefs, which can lead up to the death of the reef, followed by the ecosystem.