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The sun is an essential component of life on Earth, providing light and warmth that make life possible. However, the sun also emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can cause significant damage to our skin. UV radiation is a known carcinogen that can cause skin cancer, and it also accelerates the ageing process, causing wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of premature ageing. The good news is that there is a simple way to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun: wearing sunscreen.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a lotion, spray, or cream that contains ingredients that help protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Sunscreens work by absorbing or reflecting the UV radiation that would otherwise penetrate the skin. The two types of UV radiation that can cause damage to our skin are UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are responsible for ageing the skin, causing wrinkles, and age spots. They can also penetrate through clouds and windows, meaning that we are exposed to them even on cloudy days or when we’re indoors. UVB rays, on the other hand, are responsible for sunburn and are the primary cause of skin cancer.
Why is it important to wear sunscreen?
The primary reason to wear sunscreen is to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. When we expose our skin to the sun, our skin cells produce melanin, which is responsible for giving our skin its colour. However, too much UV radiation can damage the DNA in our skin cells, leading to mutations that can cause skin cancer.
Wearing sunscreen can also help prevent premature ageing. As mentioned earlier, UVA rays are responsible for causing wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of premature ageing. By wearing it, you can help slow down the ageing process and keep your skin looking young and healthy.
When should you wear sunscreen?
It’s recommended that you wear sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather. Even on cloudy or overcast days, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds and cause damage to your skin. UV rays can also reflect off surfaces like water, sand, and snow, making it even more important to wear sun protection when you’re near these surfaces.
How do you choose the right sunscreen?
When choosing sun protection, look for one that offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 are recommended for everyday use. However, if you plan on spending extended periods outdoors, consider using sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher.
Understanding your skin type is helpful when choosing a sunscreen to suit your skin. Not sure what your skin type is? Worry not, we have a super quick guide to understanding your skin type.
It’s also important to choose a sunscreen that is water-resistant if you plan on being in or around water. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Suggested sunscreens for different skin types
CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen is an excellent choice for dry skin. It provides broad-spectrum protection while delivering intense hydration. The lightweight, non-greasy formula contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to nourish and moisturise the skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen is perfect for oily skin types. It has a matte finish and a dry-touch texture, which helps to control excess oil and shine throughout the day. The lightweight formula is oil-free and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for acne-prone skin as well.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen is an ideal choice for combination skin. It offers broad-spectrum protection and contains niacinamide, which helps to balance oil production and improve skin texture. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly, leaving a smooth and clear finish without clogging pores.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen is a reliable option for normal skin. It provides high broad-spectrum protection and has a non-greasy, dry-touch formula that absorbs quickly into the skin. This sunscreen feels light on the skin and leaves a matte finish, making it suitable for daily use.
The EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 is an excellent sunscreen option for sensitive skin. It is a mineral-based sunscreen that uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as its active ingredients, providing gentle and effective sun protection without irritating the skin.
Please note that individual preferences and skin sensitivities can vary. It’s always a good idea to patch-test new products and consult with a dermatologist if you have specific concerns or allergies.
Wearing sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. It can help prevent skin cancer, slow down the ageing process, and keep your skin looking young and healthy. When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that offers broad-spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30. Remember to apply sunscreen every day, even on cloudy or overcast days, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect your skin and enjoy the sun safely.
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