Hello sunshine!

Summer's here! So I thought I'd make a post about sunscreen.

Honestly, I don't know much about sunscreen before. I just always try to get the highest SPF I can find. But later I became a bit more conscious about my skin and aging. I went on and researched about it, I found out that there's so much more about sunscreen than SPF. And today, I'd like to share some things I learned.

According to Wikipedia:
"Sunscreen, also commonly known as sun block, sun lotion or suncream,[1] is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn."

If there's one thing I've learned from all my research, it's that sunscreen is probably the most important thing for our skin, aside from being moisturized. It protects our skin from the sun's harmful rays that could cause sunburn, early aging and even skin cancer.

I'm no science genius but I will try to answer the most common questions about sunscreen, from what I know and what I understand.

What is UVA/UVB?
UVA rays are the one responsible for accelerating aging. It can also cause skin cancer. They can penetrate deep into our skin that causes damaged collagen which causes early aging. These rays are always present, even on a cloudy day. So it's important to always apply sunscreen all year round. Cloudy or sunny. Whatever the weather is.

UVB rays causes sunburn and also skin cancer. It can also cause early aging, but not as much as UVA rays.

What is SPF?
SPF is the rating that shows how long your sunscreen protects from UVB rays (which causes sunburn). From what I read, multiply the SPF rating to 10 and that's how long you are protected from the sun's UVB rays in minutes. If the sunscreen is applied correctly.

SPF 15 x 10 = 150 mins. (so the higher SPF, the better)

I guess it still depends if there's sweat and water involved. And if you also put the right amount or thickness of sunscreen.

What is PA+++?
I'm only used to seeing the SPF rating on sunscreen before. But now, more and more sunscreen products are including the PA rating. This PA rating actually shows how much protection you're getting against UVA rays (which causes aging). The more plus (+) sign rating, the better. I think the highest rating for PA is PA+++.

What's the difference between a chemical and physical sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreen absorbs UV rays before they can harm the skin. Some common ingredient of chemical sunscreen: avobenzone (butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane) and octyl methoxycinnamate.

Physical sunscreen blocks or reflects UV rays. Most commonly known physical blockers are titanium dioxide that protects from UVB rays, and zinc dioxide that protects from both UVA and UVB rays.

- Apply sunscreen everyday. Rain or shine.
- When purchasing a sunscreen, choose a product that protects you from both UVA and UVB. Or look for the "broad spectrum" label.
- Higher SPF is better, but it still depends on your preference. I noticed higher SPFs are thicker in texture. I always choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50. I prefer lightweight and oil-free ones that don't have that sunscreeny smell.
- Higher PA is better to protect your skin from early aging.
- Some sunscreen can cause yellow stains on your clothing! It happened to me before. I read a long time ago that chemical sunscreen can cause this (when the ingredient avobenzone is washed in water that contains iron). This is one reason why I prefer physical sunscreen. But I recently read that zinc oxide (which is a physical sunscreen) can also cause stains. I'm not so sure, though. But so far I haven't got any problems with it.
- Don't mix your sunscreen with anything. Not your body lotion, not your moisturizer, not even with another sunscreen. The ingredients could counter each other and weaken your sunscreen making it less effective.
- Sunscreen should be the last step of your skin regimen. Wait for your skin to absorb your moisturizer before you apply your sunscreen.

I think we're lucky these days. We have so many sunscreen to choose from: Lightweight, non-greasy, oil-free, no horrid smell, better protection... Gone are the days when most (if not all) sunscreens were so thick and heavy, that awful smell that makes you think "beach", and of course that obvious white cast!

So I guess that's all. I hope this post helps.

Sunscreen everyday keeps the harmful UV rays away!


Aya said...

Very helpful post! :) I seriously need to use sunscreen now. Hehe

sugar sugar said...

this post is really helpful! i have just recently started using sun screens because i want to take better care of my skin. :)

and you're right, we are lucky. it is such a pain to have something sticky and gooey sitting on our faces. :/ LOL!

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