Sunscreens are products that protect the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiations. Ultraviolet (UV) radiations from the sun, UVA and UVB, are known to damage the skin causing premature aging and even skin cancer. There are different types of sunscreens available in the market and the effectiveness of each of them varies considerably. It goes without saying that all of us should use sunscreen daily. But how can you choose the best sunscreen? To choose the ideal sunscreen you need to know more about the ability of the product in to protect your skin from harmful rays.
The effectiveness of sunscreen, whether lotion, cream, moisturizer, spray, or balm, is measured on the basis of their sun protection factor (SPF). SPF refers to the ability of the product to cut off UVB rays thus protecting the skin from its harmful effects. In general, products containing SPF of or above 15 are very good at guarding the skin against radiation. SPF 15 shows that it filters approximately 93% of the UVB rays from the incoming sunlight. The duration for which the skin is protected is also increased considerably.
Choosing the ideal sunscreen should depend on the degree of exposure for a person. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are good for any type of use. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 are useful for day to day applications if the exposure is only once in a while. If the person spends more time outdoors, a stronger and water resistant type of product is needed for adequate protection. People involved in outdoor sports and work should choose water-resistant sunscreens. Most important is that sunscreens should be reapplied once every two hours to maintain protection. Water-resistant sunscreens are stickier when compared to normal ones and are therefore not suitable with makeup.
One should remember to apply sunscreens at least half an hour before exposure to sunlight for best results. Moreover, one should apply about 1 oz of sunscreen to get the full advantage of the SPF mentioned in the product. Sunscreens should be reapplied, without fail, once in two hours to have continued protection from the harmful radiations. One should avoid applying sunscreen immediately after sweating profusely and swimming. Even on a cloudy day, one should remember to apply this protective cream as 40% of the radiations reach earth when clouds are present. In addition to the protection offered by these products, one should follow normal prevention steps to avoid over exposure of skin to the sun.