In my opinion, sunny days are one of the best days. A day with sleeves out, a little bit of shoulder, and above all the glow that the sun brings, magnificent. There is nothing better than a day out in the sun with family or friends at the beach or on a picnic.
Sunlight is also an essential factor in the production of Vitamin D on the skin. Vitamin D is fundamentally a hormone and not a vitamin. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation is absorbed into the epidermis, primarily in keratinocytes of the stratum basale and stratum spinosum, where pro-vitamin D3 is converted to pre-vitamin D3. The pre-vitamin D3 formed can either be isomerized to Vitamin D3 or photolyzed to tachysterol or lymisterol. Vitamin D is important in the calcium reabsorption cycle that maintains bone health.
However, as mentioned in the article on the importance of sunscreen, the skin only requires 15 to 30 minutes for light-skinned people and 30 minutes to three hours for dark-skinned people to manufacture vitamin D. Overexposure of the skin to the sun majorly cause more harm than good. This is why having a bottle of sunscreen that ‘listens’ to your skin needs is imperative.
Types of sunscreen
Sunscreen is a product containing active ingredients that protect the skin against sun damage. Sunscreens work by creating a filter that keeps ultraviolet rays from causing damage to the skin. There are two types of sunscreens; that is a physical or mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen. The two types of sunscreens basically differ in their modes of preventing sun damage.
Physical/ Mineral sunscreens
Physical sunscreens feature titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as their active ingredients. These ingredients are mild and generally won’t burn or sting the eyes. When mineral sunscreens are applied, they sit on the skin surface as a physical blocker that deflects and scatter Ultraviolet rays from the skin like a minute mirror. The zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are capable of protecting against both the UVA and the UVB and are effective as soon as they are applied so there is no need to wait.
The major cons of this type of sunscreen are that they leave a white cast that can easily be rubbed, sweated, or rinsed off which makes frequent and liberal application crucial. Mineral sunscreens also contain nanoparticles that should not be inhaled. It is best to avoid spray and powder formulations to minimize lung exposure.
Chemical sunscreens are the ones that contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate, or a mixture of some as active ingredients. The active ingredients absorb ultraviolet radiations ad sit in deep layers of the skin. The absorbed rays are converted into heat which is released from the skin. After application, it takes about 20 minutes for chemical sunscreens to be effective, so reapplication should be more frequent under direct light. Since UV rays have to penetrate the skin to reach these chemicals, this type of sunscreen may not protect against all UVA rays which cause deeper layers of tissues damage
One of the cons of this type of sunscreen is that its heat-releasing nature can be unfavorable for sensitive, hyper-pigmented, and rosacea-prone skin. Chemical sunscreens may also clog pores leading to more acne for acne-prone skin.
Well, with that piece of knowledge, let’s dive in on how to choose the best sunscreen for your skin.
How to choose the *perfect *sunscreen
Choosing an appropriate sunscreen for your skin can be an unnerving job due to the so much influence put on products that are deemed to work for most skin types. In the mix of trying out these products, we get caught up with products that do not work for us. Sunscreens may also be goopy, sticky, and harshly white on top of your skin. However, remember that the best sunscreen is one that you can use over and over again. Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing an appropriate sunscreen.
A sunscreen labeled broad-spectrum means that it can protect the skin against both UVA and UVB rays. It is very important that we look for such labels when choosing sunscreen to avoid the risk of skin damage by either of the harmful ultraviolet rays. In most cases, all sunscreens can protect against UVB rays but UVA rays protection is indicated by a broad spectrum.
- Sun Protection Factor(SPF)
Dermatologists harp on SPF 30 and above over and over because it is one of the best ways, if not the best, to protect your skin, regardless of the tone. SPF indicates the level of protection in which a product offers from the harmful sun rays. Having a sunscreen that has its SPF within the range of the needed protection is key. SPF 15 only filters about 93% of UV rays which are mostly UVB rays. This is the amount of SPF normally found in makeup products and moisturizers. SPF 30 filters out 96.7% while SPF 50 filters out 98%. As there is no sunscreen that can completely protect the skin against harmful rays, purchasing a sunscreen of SPF higher than 50 makes a very tiny difference in the risk of sun damage and can be very costly.
- Skin type This should be the first thing to consider when choosing a sunscreen because even if the sunscreen is broad-spectrum and a good SPF if it does not react well to your skin type then it might not just be the right sunscreen for you. With knowledge on which is your skin type, you would be able to identify what might just work out for you. For dry skin, choosing a sunscreen with hydrating factors such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid can be an added advantage.
For those with oily skin types, sunscreens with a matte finish and labeled as non-comedogenic might just be the way to go. Also, finding a lighter formulation for chemical sunscreen will prevent the clogging associated with chemical sunscreen for acne-prone skin. Sensitive-skinned people are advised to stay off chemical sunscreen since oxybenzone may cause irritation on the skin.
Dermatologists all round the world recommend that if there is only one thing you have to apply on a daily is sunscreen. A major bonus of having sunscreen on daily is that it keeps your skin looking youthful and reverses signs of skin damage such as reducing the appearances of dark spots, improving texture and boosting brightness. With that said and proven, you can lazily get immersed in nature without worrying about the harmful effects of sun exposure.