Woman smiling and holding sunscreen

Sunscreen Facts You Need to Know

Medical experts have long emphasised the importance of sunscreens. With regular and proper sunscreen application, it’s now straightforward to keep your skin safe from cancer and other related conditions. Although the guidelines on how to use sunscreens have changed significantly in the past couple of years, many people still don’t pay attention to them. Singapore, for example, has a UVI score (a measure of an area’s UV radiation level) of 11.5, which is one of the highest UVI scores worldwide. But many people still don’t do enough to protect their skin. Here are some facts about sunscreens you should know:

Sunscreens Have Different Ingredients

Choose products that have titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as active ingredients, especially if you have underlying skin conditions and very sensitive or irritated skin. Stay away from sunscreens with potentially toxic ingredients, such as retinyl palmitate, as these might speed up the development of lesions and skin tumours. Oxybenzone could also trigger an allergic reaction or enter your bloodstream. Use creams like cherub rubs that are gentle on the skin.

SPF or Sun Protection Factor Matters a Lot

Go for a sunscreen that offers an SPF of 30 or higher. SPF 15 only blocks about 93% of ultraviolet rays, while SPF 30 blocks around 97%. If you’re planning on sunbathing or walking around midday when the sun is at its mightiest, choose SPF 50, as this will block out 98% of ultraviolet rays. When choosing between various SPF, be mindful of various factors such as the UV rays’ intensity level, which is typically the highest between 10 am and 4 pm, how much you’ll be exposed to the sun, how much you’ll apply, and whether or not you are going to get wet.

Reapply Your Sunscreen At Least Every Two Hours

Sunscreen can easily fade or rub off after two hours, faster if you’re sweating or swimming. So, don’t hesitate to reapply as often as needed. Additionally, when you apply sunscreen, make sure to cover the areas that will be exposed to the sun, including the often-neglected areas such as the ears, back of the neck, and back of the hands. Also, choose sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection. This can protect your skin against both UVB and UVA rays, and not just one or the other.

There’s No Such Thing as Sweatproof or Waterproof Sunscreen

Woman putting sunscreen

Sunscreen manufacturers are not allowed to claim that their sunscreens are sweatproof or waterproof. Instead, they can only market them as water-resistant. Also, they should specify if their products safeguard the skin for 40 or 80 minutes while sweating or swimming according to standard testing guidelines.

The bottom line is, regardless of your age and where you live, you need to wear sunscreen. Choose one with ingredients that are safe for you and the environment. Select one with SPF 30 or higher and offers broad-spectrum protection. Lastly, don’t forget to apply the product when you know you’ll be exposed to the sun’s rays for a long time, and reapply as needed. Doing these really simple steps will help you maintain healthy, glowing skin.

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