Sunscreens are protective skin applications that keep your skin protected from harmful ultraviolet rays present in the sunlight and other sources
Using Sunscreens Effectively
- Apply a sunscreen daily, irrespective of the fact whether it is cloudy or rainy or you are going to stay indoors for the day. (The clouds, shades, and solar films do not filter the ultraviolet rays to significant levels)
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you expect it to start protecting your skin. (It needs that much time to get activated)
- Cover all exposed areas like face, neck, upper back and chest, forearms, hands and legs.
- Everyone except infants under the age of six months needs sunscreens.
- People with all types of skin complexion need a sunscreen
- Sun Protective Factor or SPF is a type of rating which is used to compare the efficacy of sunscreens. For most Indian, a sunscreen with SPF of 30-35 provides sufficient protection. Please remember that the fairer you are, the greater is the SPF required.
- You must wear a sunscreen at least between 10.30 Am to 3.30 PM because UV rays inflict most skin damage during this period. (The sun and the earth are closest to each other in this time band)
- Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin only.
- The amount of sunscreen to be used can be easily calculated using a rough guide that one ounce of lotion is sufficient to coat an average sized individual.
- If you are a sweat profusely or swim, then you need water resistant sunscreen.
- Snow, sand, and water reflect the UV rays, so the need for a sunscreen is greater when you are in the vicinity of any of these.
- Lips too are amenable to the effects of UV rays. Therefore, use appropriate sunscreens to protect them.
- Do not use sunscreens for babies under six months of age. It is best to keep infants indoors or cover their skin by garments or clothing.
- Using a sunscreen can result in reduced production of Vitamin D. This deficiency can be made up with dietary supplements or medication. Please talk to your medical specialist about such concerns.
That the sunscreens are meant to protect your skin from the ultraviolet rays and there is no substitute to actual barriers or physical blockage to the sunrays.
That no sunscreen offers a fool-proof protection. In general, sunscreens with an SPF of 30 block UV rays to the extent of 96.7% while those with an SPF of 40 provide protection to the tune of 98%.
Therefore, it is good policy to go for an SPF 30-35 sunscreen and repeat the applications if necessary rather than spending on more expensive sunscreens with a higher SPF
That sunscreens remain effective for a limited duration after application. Therefore, it is a good idea to reapply the preparation after two hours so that one gets adequate protection for the period of
the day when the ultraviolet rays are most harmful.
That the sun emits harmful rays all the year round. That explains why a sunscreen should be worn every day, whether in doors or not.
That the physical form of the sunscreen like gel, cream, ointment, lotion, or spray does not impact their efficiency.
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Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
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