If you only put one thing on your face today, make it sunscreen. Dermatologists emphasize this repeatedly because it is one of the best ways to protect your skin, regardless of tone. Of course, your first priority is to avoid getting a sunburn, which can increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen has the added benefit of keeping your skin looking young. According to a study, a good SPF can protect your skin from the harmful UV rays that cause premature aging and even help reverse signs of damage by reducing dark spots, improving texture, and boosting brightness. What’s the issue? Finding a sunscreen that isn’t goopy, sticky, or harshly white on top of your skin can be difficult. As a result, using a sunscreen designed specifically for your face can produce better results. In this guide, you will learn how to apply sunscreen and how does sunscreen work, also we will discuss about sunscreen vs sunblock.
Sun protection is essential in climates with a high risk of sun damage, which increases during the hot summer months. Up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate cloud cover, which means you don’t get a pass for your winter sunscreen habits. However, many face sunscreens contain ingredients such as antioxidants or skin-brightening botanicals that provide additional benefits beyond sunscreen. As weather and time of year can influence the likelihood of burning, summer isn’t the only season in which sun damage occurs. It doesn’t have to be warm or sunny outside for UV rays to wreak havoc on your skin, so wear SPF all year.
How does sunscreen work?
As you walk down the aisles of your pharmacy or supermarket, you may notice some products labeled “sunscreen” and others labeled “sunblock” – and you may wonder, “Is there a difference between sunscreen and sunblock?” And, if so, which one should I go with? You might be surprised to learn that there is a distinction between the two. Here’s what you need to know to decide which type to buy. Many people confuse sunscreen vs sunblock, but they are two completely different types of sun protection.
Sunscreen: The most common type of sun protectant is sunscreen. It filters or screens the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It keeps the majority of rays out while allowing some in. It is also known as a chemical sunscreen.
Sunblock: On the other hand, sunblock reflects the sun’s rays off the skin, preventing them from penetrating the skin. It could be referred to as a physical sunscreen.
So, to understand how does sunscreen work or how to apply sunscreen, you must know firstly that what the types of sunscreens are.
Types of sunscreen
Sunscreen is a great way to protect your skin if you’re going to be out in the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet radiation harms skin cells. Sunburn, aging, and even skin cancer can result from this. Sunscreens contain a variety of ingredients that work together to protect your skin from UV rays. Physical blockers are minerals that have been ground into fine particles, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They sit on the skin’s surface and reflect UV rays away from your skin, much like a shield or mirror. However, the chemical sunscreen ingredients form a thin protective film that absorbs UV radiation before it penetrates the skin. Sunscreen protects the skin from the sun’s rays by combining organic and inorganic active ingredients. Sunscreen comes in many different forms, including sprays, liquids, lotions, powders, and creams. There are two types of sunscreens:
- Physical sunscreen
- Chemical sunscreen
Understanding how these sunscreens are made and the ingredients they contain can assist you in selecting the best face sunscreens for your skin type.
Physical sunscreen, also known as “mineral” sunscreen, is made up of inorganic physical UV filters that reflect, scatter, and block the sun’s rays before they enter the skin. These active mineral ingredients, also known as physical blockers, are intended to sit on top of the epidermis rather than be absorbed. Physical sunscreen has the advantage of naturally providing broad spectrum protection. It is less likely to cause skin irritation. Because it reflects heat, physical sunscreens are an excellent choice for those suffering from rosacea and other skin conditions characterized by excessive redness. Most physical sunscreens are non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog your pores. Physical sunscreen, on the other hand, can quickly rub off, so if you’re doing activities that involve perspiration or contact with water, you may need to reapply more frequently. Some physical sunscreens leave a white film on the skin.
Chemical sunscreens work in a different way; these sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) active ingredients that absorb UV radiation on contact. Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that, when exposed to sunlight, catalyze a chemical reaction that converts UV rays into heat, which is then released from the skin. Physical UV filters block both UVA and UVB rays, whereas chemical UV filters frequently only protect against one or the other. Chemical sunscreen formulas are typically thinner, making them easier to apply evenly to the skin. Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin and leave less residue. Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, must be applied at least 20 minutes before sun exposure because it is not immediately effective. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that can cause skin irritation. Moreover, chemical sunscreens may clog pores more easily, making breakouts more common in people with oily skin.
Physical Vs. Chemical: Which sunscreen is best?
While both physical and chemical sunscreens can be effective at blocking UV rays from the sun, sunscreens containing a large number of chemical ingredients can cause skin irritation and redness. Sunscreens with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide as active ingredients (physical sunscreens), such as Colorescience Sunforgettable Sunscreen, provide the necessary protection without exposing your skin to harmful side effects.
In fact, many sunscreens sold in stores are a hybrid of the two types. In general, physical sunscreens do not cause irritation, stinging, or allergic reactions. They can, however, be white and greasy. Chemical sunscreen ingredients are typically clear and simple to apply. These, on the other hand, are more likely to cause irritation and allergic reactions. As a result, many sunscreens contain a combination of the two to maximize the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks. Many broad-spectrum sunscreens require a combination of ingredients to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which cause skin damage.
How to apply sunscreen?
Even when people apply sunscreen, they frequently apply insufficient amounts or incorrectly. This limits its utility. Follow the following guidelines to apply sunscreen:
- To apply sunscreen, cover all exposed skin areas that will not be protected by clothing.
- Cover exposed areas with at least 1 ounce of sunscreen (enough to fill a shot glass). An ounce should be enough to cover the entire body. However, depending on your body size, you may need to adjust the amount.
- Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. This allows it to be absorbed.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, or more frequently if you’ve been swimming or sweating.
- Apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your lips.
- Shake strongly before use to dislodge any particles that may have clumped in the container. Consider using a sunscreen that is spray-on or stick-on.
- Make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen. As a general rule, one ounce (a handful) should be enough to cover your entire body.
- Apply to all sun-exposed areas of your skin, including the ears, back, shoulders, and the backs of your knees and legs.
- To apply sunscreen around the eyes, use caution.
- Remember that children, too, require sun protection. Sunscreen is advised for anyone over the age of six months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sunscreen for babies younger than 6 months only if adequate clothing and shade are not available. Parents should still try to limit their children’s exposure to the sun, especially in direct sunlight. Dress a baby in light clothing that covers the majority of the skin’s surface. Parents should also apply sunscreen to exposed areas such as their baby’s face and the back of their hands.
How long does sunscreen last?
To determine how long does sunscreen last on your skin, you must first understand its ratings. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and this measurement indicates how well and how long your sunscreen will protect your skin from UVB radiation from the sun, as opposed to PA ratings, which are intended to measure a product’s level of UVA radiation protection. The length of time that SPF can protect you from UV rays is affected by your skin’s photosensitivity, with skin tone being the deciding factor.
To apply sunscreen, one must know its SPF. A person with very fair skin should wear at least SPF30 every time they go outside, whether they’re going to be out for 15 minutes or two hours. However, SPF50 would be required to protect their skin from three or four hours of sun exposure. A person with very dark skin, on the other hand, is less likely to burn and may only need SPF15 to protect their skin for up to four hours. Reapplication is the only way to keep your skin consistently protected, whether you’re out in the sun for an hour or four hours. Consider your skin tone to determine how frequently you should reapply different SPF ratings.
Although this chart highlights how sunscreen works over specific time periods, it’s also important to consider how your activity level and lifestyle habits influence its efficacy. If you’re sweating profusely, your sunscreen may wear off faster. Similarly, if you spend time in the pool, your sunscreen will be easier to wash or rub off. Remember that even the best face sunscreens that are even waterproof cannot be completely water- or sweat-proof; your formula may be water-resistant and sweat-resistant, but you’ll still need to reapply.
On a sunscreen label, the sun protection factor (SPF) indicates how well the sunscreen protects against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Higher SPF numbers indicate greater UVB ray protection. However, no sunscreen can completely block UVB rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30, for example, blocks approximately 97 percent of UVB rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will block approximately 98 percent of UVB rays.