Sunscreen should be a vital part of our skincare routine.
In fact, it is a rule that you should not leave the house without wearing sunscreen first. This rule is much more important for us who are living in a very hot and sunny climate.
But the sad news is, most of us do not wear sunscreen. Some of us do not see it as necessary. Others do not even know what it is.
So, today, we will talk about the essential things you need to know about sunscreen and how to pick the right sunscreen for you.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a skincare product that protects your skin from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. These radiations damage your skin, promote premature aging signs, and they increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
There are two kinds of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. We have UVA and UVB.
UVB rays are responsible for causing skin burns. They also play a significant role in causing skin cancer.
UVA, on the other hand, can also trigger skin cancer. But they do more harm because they penetrate deeply into the skin. So, they cause aging signs like wrinkles, sagging skin, etc., to form prematurely.
The effects of UVA are more noticeable because there are more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB rays.
Sunscreen helps to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun rays.
What is SPF?
SPF is known as Sun Protection Factor. It is a measure of how well the sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB rays of the sun.
This is how it works.
An SPF 15 sunscreen allows you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you usually would. An SPF 30 sunscreen will enable you to stay in the sun 30 times longer than you normally would.
So. If you can stay under the sun for 10 minutes before you burn, an SPF 15 sunscreen will enable you to stay for 150 minutes under the sun before having a skin burn.
But you should note that the higher the SPF goes, the smaller the difference becomes.
- SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays,
- SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays and
- SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays
You will notice that the difference between SPF 30 and 50 (1 percent) is smaller than the difference between SPF 15 and SPF 30 (4 percent).
Normally, without sunscreen, your skin absorbs 100 photons. But with SPF 15 protection, only 7 out of 100 photons are absorbed into your skin.
With SPF 30, only 3 out of 100 protons get into your skin.
What are the benefits of using sunscreen?
Like I said earlier, Sunscreen keeps your skin protected from the harmful sun rays, but it does more than that.
Here are other benefits of using sunscreen:
It prevents the appearance of premature aging signs
We all know that as we grow older, our skin loses collagen and skin elasticity, so aging signs begin to occur.
But thanks to the harmful rays of the sun, your skin can begin to develop aging signs even while you are still young.
Sunscreen helps to keep your skin looking young and youthful despite your age.
Sunscreen can help you achieve that – especially if you use it alongside a complete skincare regimen.
It lowers the risk of having skin cancer
Apart from its beauty benefits, it also has health benefits. Do you remember I said earlier that UVB could trigger skin cancer?
If you apply sunscreen daily, it reduces your risk of developing skin cancer, even Melanoma, which is considered the worst kind of skin cancer because it is life-threatening.
It Improves your skin health
Sunscreen protects these proteins from the harmful rays of the sun, and in turn, your skin stays healthy and glowing.
Also, constant exposure to sunlight can make your skin weak and easily susceptible to skin diseases and disorders.
Your skin might suffer repeated occurrence of redness, swellings, itching, hives, and even peeling.
But what if you have them already?
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It prevents skin discoloration
Sunscreen helps to preserve your skin tone and keep it even.
It prevents the appearance of brown spots or dark skin patches caused by sun exposure, so you stop having different skin shades on your skin. It also keeps your skin complexion clear and glowing.
It is a convenient cosmetic option
Sunscreen is convenient to use.
All you have to do is apply it on your skin, and you can go out doing your daily activities without worrying that your skin might get damaged.
How to get the right sunscreen for your skin?
Make sure your sunscreen is labeled “broad spectrum”
Most sunscreens only protect your skin against UVB rays and not UVA rays.
Those that are not broad spectrum only protect your skin from sunburns and not skin cancers or skin aging.
Sunscreens that are labeled “broad spectrum” protect your skin against both UVB and UVA rays.
Watch out for ingredients used in making the sunscreen
Before buying your sunscreen, check out the ingredients. Buy sunscreens with ingredients that provide broad-spectrum protection, like:
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium dioxide
- Avobenzone; can also be written as Parsol 1789
- Ecamsule; can also be written as meroxyl SX
- Cinnamates; can also be written as octylmethyl, cinnamate or cinoxate
You should avoid ingredients such as
Use a sunscreen that has SPF 30 protection or at most SPF 50
For great protection, you should use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
But when you are buying sunscreen with a higher SPF, you do not have to buy SPF 75 or 100 at more expensive prices, believing it offers maximum protection. There is no evidence to prove that SPF higher than 50 work any better.
Just as I explained earlier, the additional protection sunscreen gives reduces as the SPF increases. If you can get SPF 30, at most 50, your skin will still be adequately protected.
If you are fair-skinned and burn easily, I advise you to buy a sunscreen with SPF 50.
Get a water-resistant sunscreen
Water-resistant sunscreens become useful when going swimming or when you are sweating. Usually, water-resistant sunscreen can last up to 40-80 minutes while you are sweating or swimming.
Do not be fooled by “waterproof or sweatproof” labels. No sunscreen is waterproof.
Consider your skin type
Just like when buying any skincare product, you should put your skin type into consideration.
If you have an acne-prone or oily skin, look out for words like “non-comedogenic” that is, it will not clog skin pores. This way, you can be sure it will not lead to breakouts.
If you have sensitive skin, you can buy a sunscreen made solely for sensitive skin. You should look out for labels such as “hypoallergenic” or “fragrance-free.”
If you have dry skin, look out for ingredients like glycerin, oils, lanolin, and aloe. Avoid sunscreens with alcohol.
How often should you use sunscreen?
You should use your sunscreen every day.
To keep your skin fully protected from the sun, reapply your sunscreen every two hours. If you are swimming or sweating, you can reapply more often than that.
Good Sunscreens You Can Buy in Nigeria
Now you know the basics to guide when buying your sunscreen. It’s time to go shopping. If you are looking for sunscreens to buy in Nigeria, here are some you can try out:
Sun Bum Original Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 50 Lotion
Image credit: lifejacketadvisor.com
It is a broad-spectrum sunscreen made with reef-friendly and vegan ingredients. Not only is it hypoallergenic, it is also water-resistant, paraben-free, non-comedogenic, and PABA-free.
Active ingredients: Avobenzone 3.00%, Homosalate 5.00%, Octisalate 3.00%, and Octocrylene 10.00%.
Availability: You can purchase it on major online stores like Amazon, Jumia, etc.
Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
Image credit: dermstore.com
This is a broad-spectrum sunscreen made with a lightweight formula that protects your skin from harmful sun rays while absorbing quickly for a non-greasy finish. It also helps to prevent skin cancer and premature aging.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 10.5%.
Availability: You can get it on major online stores like Amazon, Dermstore, etc.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
Image credit: neutrogena.com
This is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection from aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays. It is non-comedogenic, it is PABA-free, it is non-greasy, and it quickly absorbs into your skin.
Ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (Sunscreen) Homosalate 10% (Sunscreen) Octisalate 5% (Sunscreen) Octocrylene 2.8% (Sunscreen) Oxybenzone 6% (Sunscreen).
Availability: It can be found on major online stress like Amazon, Jumia, etc.
Anthelios Cooling Water Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60
Image credit: amazon.com
Not only is this a broad-spectrum sunscreen, but it is also water-resistant, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and it is non-comedogenic.
It also absorbs easily without leaving a greasy feel.
Active Ingredients: avobenzone 3%, homosalate 10.72%, octisalate 3.21%, octocrylene 6% and oxybenzone 3.86%
Availability: It can be purchased on major online stores.
Getting sunscreen is very important. If you have not gotten one, then you should.
Also, do not stop at just getting a sunscreen, make sure to get a full regimen, and strictly follow a skincare routine.
Read through this article carefully. It should serve as a guide for buying a good sunscreen fit for you.