Soak up the sun
Heading out to the great outdoors? VARUN KATYAL tells you everything you need to know about your sunscreen.
How do I know what SPF is appropriate for me? Does it depend on my skin tone?
SPF or Sun Protection Factor refers to the amount of time you can stay out in the sun without getting tanned or sunburnt. For instance, an SPF of 10 will allow you to stay out 10 times longer than you can without sun protection. A higher SPF blocks out more rays — while a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters out 93 per cent of rays, a product with an SPF of 30 filters out approximately 97 per cent of UV rays. On a regular basis, you should choose an SPF between 15 and 30 and look for a PA++ or PA+++ rankings, which refer to the amount of protection the sunscreen offers from the UVA rays. You may also opt for a higher SPF if you’re fairskinned or under the sun for long hours.
Sunscreen products include lotions, creams and sprays. Which one should I opt for?
While creams and lotions work best for individuals with dry skin, gels are suitable for oily skin. Sprays are convenient, feel good on the skin and can be easily used for all other body parts such as your back. Creams typically yield a thicker application than lotions and can be applied on the face. More than the texture, make sure you pick the product that suits your skin type.
How many times do I need to reapply the sunscreen?
The effectiveness of the sunblock is washed off when exposed to water or sweat, leaving parts of your skin vulnerable to UV rays. Slather the product evenly on parts of your body that are exposed 30 minutes before you step out and reapply every two hours.
In what quantities do I need to apply the product?
Your skin is effectively protected if a 2 mg/cm2 layer of sunscreen has been applied. This literally means around 1/2 teaspoon (~3ml) to each arm, face and neck area. One ounce, which is enough to fill a shot glass, is usually considered the amount needed to evenly cover the exposed areas of the body.
How important is it to remove the sunscreen before going to bed?
While chemical-based sunscreens will lose their effectiveness after being broken down by the sun over time, activities such as swimming, toweling and sweating will also facilitate its removal. Clean your face thoroughly with warm water before hitting the sack to remove the last traces of the product from your skin.
Could you list the best sunscreens available in the market?
Popular brands such as Lakmé, Lotus, Nivea, Shahnaz Hussain and Neutrogena have launched sun protection creams, which suit the Indian skin. You could very well choose the one that suits your skin type. You can also try fairness and BB creams that are infused with sun blocking properties.