Summer skincare: Beauty experts list what to look for and avoid in a sunscreen
Looking for a guide on finding the perfect sunscreen for you this summer? Check out this list by beauty experts on what you should look for in a sunscreen and what to avoid
It is no secret that having an appropriate daily skincare regime of cleansing, moisturising, applying sunscreen and using skincare products suitable to you skin type is crucial to maintaining a youthful skin and beauty experts are of the view that 2022 will be the year of damage control more than damage repair, given that more people are drawn towards skincare and understanding its importance. With the mercury soaring by the day and the summer sun breathing down on us, using a sunscreen daily is essential if you want to preserve your skin elasticity and fight sun damage.
Though there is no home alternative to sunscreen, experts suggest investing in a good SPF 50 sunscreen to use while hybrid sunscreens too have been popular for their dual-action features. They are your usual sunscreen combined with a range of active ingredients to treat your skin conditions and not only protect your skin against UVA and UVB damage but also correct skin conditions like redness, hyperpigmentation, dryness, dehydration and fine lines.
What to look for in a sunscreen:
Since it already feels like peak summer with the sun out and wild and pollution is at an all-time rise, we'll skip the list of other stressors that bombard our skin daily and directly get to the task of choosing a sunscreen from a thousand options which all look the same. Sorting our woes in an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Gagan Bhatia, Founder of Uniqaya, listed a 5-step guide to finding the perfect sunscreen:
1. Broad Spectrum - All sunscreens protect us from UVB rays which are the main cause of sunburns, skin cancers but there are UVA rays too which can also cause skin cancers and premature ageing. Not all sunscreens protect us from all of this. Only some sunscreens pass this test and are allowed to be labelled as ‘broad-spectrum.
2. Sun Protection Factor aka SPF - Make sure the one you buy is at least 30 or higher. The higher the number, the better its protection against UVB rays.
3. Non-White Cast, moisturizing, non-sticky - Let’s face it. Won’t you want a sunscreen that doesn’t make your face all dry, sticky and most of all make you look like a vampire out of the twilight series? Luckily there are sunscreens that manage to be non-greasy, non-chalky and non-white casting.
4. Non-comedogenic and harmful chemical free - It’s simple. You want a sunscreen that lets your skin breathe instead of choking it. As for the chemicals, all sunscreens have chemicals. You just need to watch out for the harmful ones like Avobenzone, Homosalates, Methylisothiazolinone, etc.
5. Blue light protection - Now, this is something that 90% of sunscreens miss. The rays from our screens and devices are equally harmful if not more. So when you’re looking for your next SPF, make sure it protects you from the blue-light rays as well.
Adding to the list of what to look for in a sunscreen, Ritika Jayaswal, Founder and CEO of Nourish Mantra, suggested:
1. While buying sunscreen, look for these 2 most important things on the label - ‘broad spectrum’ as it signifies that your sunscreen offers protection against both UV A and UV B and ‘SPF rating’ and go for a sunscreen that has a rating of at least 30 SPF and above.
2. Look for a water-resistant sunscreen. They protect your skin in case of heavy perspiration.
3. If your moisturizer has an SPF of 15 and your foundation has an SPF of 15, your SPF levels still remain 15. This means you shouldn't be skipping sunscreen even if your moisturizer or foundation has SPF.
4. Spray sunscreens are in trend. However, you may miss some areas of your body while spraying. You can also risk inhaling harmful chemicals. It is recommended to use a cream or gel-based sunscreen formulation.
5. While it is recommended that you re-apply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours, how would you do it if you have makeup on? The question is whether to keep reapplying it over your makeup or wash your face and start from the moisturization step again. To sort out this problem, it is recommended to use a makeup spray with SPF. It resets your makeup while also adding on to your SPF.
It is very important to keep our faces looking alive in summer and while most of us are following a skincare routine for summers, many do not have SPF in it. According to dermatologist Dr Jyoti Kasana, “The most important reason to wear SPF is that it reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. Daily use of sunscreen, along with sunglasses and other protective wear like scarfs will minimise the harmful effect of UV rays.”
1. Start using sunscreen from SPF-30 and go on higher range till SPF-50. They both protect from UVA and UVB, which causes wrinkles and sunburn respectively. It’s proven that SPF-30 protects against 97% of sun rays. And it’s also proven that no sunscreen protects against 100% sun rays.
2. Key ingredients to look for are - Broad Spectrum - as this label ensures to have both UVA & UVB protection Mineral (or physical) sunscreen works by using natural minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to reflect the sun’s rays from your skin. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens use chemical compounds like bemotrizinol, avobenzone and biscotizole—all of which provide broad-spectrum protection.
3. Consider skin type- For dry skin look for glycerin, lanolin, oils, silicones (like dimethicone) and aloe and avoid sunscreen sprays or gels with alcohol. For oily skin, lightweight or gel lotions with ingredients like silica or isododecane are best. For sensitive skin, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free are good bets, as are mineral sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
What to avoid in a sunscreen:
Highlighting ingredients that should be avoided in sunscreen, Ritika Jayaswal listed the preservative methylisothiazolinone and oxybenzone. She said, “You can instead go for sunscreens that contain Vitamin E that nourishes your skin’s barrier along with providing protection.”
Adding to the list, dermatologist Dr Jyoti Kasana shared:
1. Avoid certain ingredients like oxybenzone, which, can cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones. The preservative methylisothiazolinone can also cause issues.
2. Alcohols and preservatives should also be avoided.
3. People who have rosacea or are prone to allergies should avoid sunscreens with alcohol, but that “patients with acne, however, may find gel formulas, which usually contain alcohol, less likely to aggravate acne.
3. Don’t go for one application for the whole day if you’re out. Always reapply an ounce of it.