The importance of sunscreen can never be understated as it is extremely necessary that we don’t go a day without it. Just like our daily routine of brushing our teeth, so should the application of sunscreen become a vital part of our day-to-day life. Making it a habit might take some getting used to, especially if skin care is something you forgo. But sunscreen is more than just a skincare product. It prevents numerous harmful diseases and other health-related issues which will all be discussed.
Here, we will talk about the importance of sunscreen for summer and every other season which will enlighten you on why it is something that you shouldn’t go a day without. But to begin, let’s start from the basics.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a product that comes in different forms with the sole purpose of protecting our skin from the sun. It acts as a barrier that prevents us from all the damaging effects of the sun which are numerous. These damaging effects are things like sunburn, premature ageing, and even as perilous as cancer.
Types of Sunscreen
Sunscreen was known to come in the form of white cream or lotion, but recently there have been a few advancements for different reasons. The tinted sunscreen was made as a way to resolve the problem of a white cast that the white cream used to leave on the face. This problem was soon sorted in all white cream/lotion sunscreens where they no longer leave a white cast.
The other form of sunscreen is the serum which everyone is pivoting towards because of the ease of application and no white cast problem. Even some makeup products and skincare products nowadays contain some amount of SPF. Although, it is still mandatory to use actual sunscreen because the SPF in these products is not nearly enough. They can be a way to top-up sun protection but aren’t enough to be the only form of protection you have.
So, if you use a lot of makeup and skincare products that contain SPF, make sure you also apply actual sunscreen.
SPF vs. PA: What it means
We’ve all seen it on the sunscreen packets and containers, but what do they actually mean? While some people know what SPF and PA mean as well as their differences, other people aren’t aware of what they are.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how much protection from UVB rays your skin is getting. UVB rays are the type of radiation that causes sunburn and skin cancer. Although it is not deeply penetrating as UVA, it is just as damaging (1).
SPF comes in different ratings from SPF 15 to SPF 100. The higher the SPF, the higher the protection from UVB rays the sunscreen is. This SPF rating means:
- SPF 15: Blocks 93% of UVB rays.
- SPF 30: Blocks 97%. of UVB rays.
- SPF 50: Blocks 98% of UVB rays.
- SPF 100: blocks 99% of UVB rays.
Protection Grade of UVA (PA), on the other hand, is a measure of how much protection from UVA rays your skin is getting. UVA rays are the type of radiation that causes tanning, generates and increases free radicals, and damages elastin and collagen in the skin which causes ageing. It is deeply penetrating as it can pass through glass and the skin.
PA in sunscreen comes in different rating levels that were developed in Japan. This grading system starts from PA+ to PA++++ and it shows how effective or high the UVA protection in the sunscreen is. This PA rating means:
- PA+ = Low UVA protection.
- PA++ = Moderate UVA protection.
- PA+++ = High UVA protection.
- PA++++ = Extremely High UVA protection.
So, SPF and PA work hand-in-hand to give your skin full protection from all of the negative effects of UVA and UVB radiations.
6 Reasons Sunscreen Is Important In Every Season
Now that you know more about sunscreen, let’s have a look at the importance of sunscreen on face and body for every season, all year round.
Protection from the sun:
Sunscreen protects you from the damage of the sun rays which are UVA and UVB rays. Even when the sun isn’t out on a cloudy day, these radiations penetrate through the clouds and can cause physical and health-related damage to us.
Low risk of sunburn:
With sunscreen on, you can be sure that you won’t be getting sunburned. This happens when you stay for long hours in the sun without sunscreen on. Continuous and consistent sunburn can lead to skin cancer.
Prevents premature ageing:
UVA rays are known to penetrate the skin and generate free radicals as well as damaged collagen which are known to cause fine lines and wrinkles which are signs of ageing. Hence, it is important to wear sunscreen.
Lower cancer risk and other diseases:
Sunscreen has reduced the incidence of skin cancer (2). But it is important to wear it both indoors and outdoors as sun rays can penetrate through the glass into our homes.
Prevents more/needless tanning:
Sunscreen prevents tanning and the higher the PA, the stronger the protection against UVA rays is, which causes tanning among other things. Although it cannot protect you 100%, PA++++ can give you 99% protection.
Evens out your skin tone:
Sunscreen prevents dark spots and discoloration which is otherwise known as sun spots. They can appear anywhere on your body if you skip out on applying sunscreen and are exposed to the sun.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of sunscreen you’re probably wondering how much sunscreen you should use, how much is enough, and how often you should reapply it.
Well, there are different rules on how much sunscreen you should apply. There is the two-finger rule, the three-finger rule, and one ounce/one-shot glass rule. While your face and exposed areas of your body need more sunscreen, it is best to apply sunscreen all over your body using about 50 g to 60 g.
Also, remember to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours on exposed areas to double up on protection.
Q. Is sunscreen for summer only?
A: No, it isn’t. Sunscreen is an important product that should be included in your daily skincare routine in all seasons. It is vital that you use it all year round so as not to risk the chance of getting affected by the damaging effects of the sun. Summer or winter, indoors or outdoors, sunscreen should be used every day for utmost protection.
Q. Can we use sunscreen in any season?
A: Yes, you can and should. You need protection from the sun whether you are indoors or outdoors. Clear clouds or thick clouds, UV rays can penetrate through the clouds (3) and have the same negative effects it has on a sunny day. So, it is best to be prepared day in and day out with a generous coat of sunscreen.
Q. Is sunscreen OK to use every day?
A: Yes, it is advised to use your sunscreen every day, all year round. This is because UV can permeate through glass windows and into your home. Hence, if you’re without sunscreen, you expose yourself to the harmful effects of the sun. Therefore, you should use sunscreen in any and every season.