The next time you are asked to apply sunscreen, don’t look at the weather outside. Come rain or shine, summer or winter, every day of the year is when you should apply sunblock. Why?
Clouds do not block UVB rays
When it comes to ultraviolet rays, cloud cover means nothing. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 80% of the sun’s UVB rays can pass through clouds. Only visible rays from the sun are blocked. You should know that ultraviolet rays are able to pass through windows as well if they are not tinted, which makes it important for you to slather sunblock indoors too!
Snow, Sand, Water and Altitude
How many times have our mothers reminded us to pack sunblock ahead of a beach vacation? It’s true, mothers do know everything. Water, sand and snow reflect sun rays, increasing our exposure to it. UV rays are also stronger at higher elevations.
The glowing skin you are after
We apply brightening creams, anti-ageing serums and pore cleansers to look radiant and younger. But know that none of this is of any real use if you don’t have a strong base. A sunblock is that; the very foundation of skin-care. Everything else is just added benefit.
Keep in mind that more than anything else, it is the rays of the sun that set the ball rolling for brown spots, discolouration and acne appearance on the face. Tanning is secondary and a side effect that can be removed. But not sun-induced damage to skin that takes place at a cellular level. That takes a painfully long time to reverse.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says 90% of visible signs of ageing come from the number of hours you have spent under the sun. One of the most overlooked secrets to looking young is sunscreen!
How much sun-screen should I apply?
Most people get the very first rule of applying sun-screen wrong! When you are applying sunblock, the operative word is LIBERAL. Most people end up applying only 25% of the suggested amount. What you need is about an ounce – or enough to fill a shot of glass – to cover your body and a teaspoon for the face.
What should I look for in a sunscreen?
- Broad-spectrum; meaning a sunblock that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
- SPF 30 or higher
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests:
- For acne-prone skin and oily skin: Look for ‘non-comedogenic’ sunblocks, or simply those that will not clog pores
- For dry skin: Labels with ‘moisturizing’ are your go-to
- For allergy-prone or sensitive skin: Avoid sunscreens with fragrance, parabens or oxybenzone.
When and how many times should I apply sunscreen in a day?
Apply it 15 minutes before you step out of the house; that gives time to your skin to absorb all of it. A lot of folks disregard reapplying but you should know sunscreens work for only two-three hours (depending upon the SPF number). It is crucial you reapply it after every couple of hours and immediately after swimming or sweating.
What does SPF mean?
The SPF number, or Sun Protection Factor number denotes the number of minutes your skin is protected before you begin to burn. If your skin – in the absence of sunblock – shows signs of reddening under the sun after five minutes, applying a sunblock of 15 SPF would protect you for 15*5 = 75 minutes.
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