Sunscreen in summer: Why you need to apply it at home, how often to reapply, its effectiveness & more

We got experts from the field to answer some of the most common questions related to sunscreen, a beauty ingredient that ought to be part of your skincare routine no matter what the season. Check it out!
How to measure the fffectiveness of sunscreen & more How to measure the fffectiveness of sunscreen & more
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One of the most basic beauty products that are part of every person's skincare and beauty routine, has to be sunscreen. Recently dermatologists, makeup experts and beauty bloggers brought back to light the idea of applying sunscreen even while at home. But why? Aren't you already protected from the sun when you're at home?
"When indoors, there are three main things that you need protection from UVA rays, UVB rays and the blue light from devices. While most glasses can block the UVB rays, they don’t offer protection against UVA rays. It is the UVA rays that cause the collagen and elastin to break down and lead to premature ageing. Therefore, unless you are working in a windowless room it is important to be vigilant and apply and reapply sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays," opines Dr Rinky Kapoor, a cosmetic Dermatologist.

While we tend to reapply sunscreen when we're heading out and on the beach, it is equally important to slather the product on even while at home. As a rule of thumb, sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2-3 hours, according to Dr Simal Soin, Chief Dermatologist at AAYNA Clinic. "A high-number SPF does not mean additional protection time outdoors without reapplication. High-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs," she clarifies.

When at home or even heading out, how much sunscreen does one need to apply is yet another thing we keep wondering. "For your face and neck, you would need a Rs 5 coin size or half teaspoon of sunscreen for your face. For exposed parts of your body like arms, legs and shoulders, you will need about one and a half tablespoon of sunscreen," opines Manish Chowdhary, co-founder of Wow Skin Science. Additioally, the expert also reveals how to measure the effectivenes sof sunscreen. "The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. To know how long a sunscreen is going to protect your skin simply multiply the SPF with itself and the result will be time,' Chowdhary says.

While we constantly link sunscreen with tanning, does the application of it actually prevent getting a tan? Your skin responds to sun exposure by becoming inflamed and "As a result of sunburn, your skin adapts by tanning. The more prolonged your exposure, the more severe a burn may be. Tanned skin is also the result of melanin released in the affected area. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with the higher SPF can help minimise this type of damage," says Vishal Gupta of Re'equil. As for picking out a sunscreen based on your skin type, the expert has a solution for that as well! "If you have dry skin that doesn’t do well in the sun, then a sunscreen that doubles up as a moisturiser owing to its list of ingredients is just what you need. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, then a water-based sunscreen gel instead of an oil-based  is recommended for you. If your skin is sensitive and prone to irritation, avoid sunscreens that contain alcohol, preservatives, fragrances, and oxybenzone," Gupta opines.

With the various skin types, another prodding question is whether there are different sunscreens for different skin types. Dr Kapoor recommends an SPF of 30 or more for normal skin. "Oily skin will benefit from physical sunscreen, as they are non-comedogenic. Mineral powder sunscreen of broad-spectrum will also help oily skin. Dry skin emollient sunscreen is the safest bet. Layer the sunscreen with a hydrating moisturising lotion underneath while those with acne-prone skin should always select a non-comedogenic formula with a light moisturiser," she recommends.

Giving us a basic gist of the kind of rays sunscreens are known to tackle, "There are two basic types of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth surface UVB and UVA. UVB= Rays are responsible for producing sunburn in addition and UVA=Rays penetrate more deeply into the skin & play a greater role in premature skin ageing changes including wrinkle formation,"  Nirmala Tiwari Makeup Expert at Swiss Beauty says.

When it comes to what ought to be avoided, "Alcohols and preservatives should be avoided. It is always better to test the product on the skin at the back of the ear lobe to ensure there are no skin irritants in the product," recommends Dr Soin.

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