Skincare alert: Expert shares tips to choose the right sunscreen

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LifeStyle

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The summer sun is not only harmful to health, but also to the skin. Many dermatologists have linked premature ageing of the skin, pigmentation, and even skin cancer as a result of not wearing sunscreen often. The American Academy of Dermatology 2019 recommends everyone to use a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays), has an SPF of 30 or higher, and is water-resistant, to protect your skin. Thus, it is imperative to apply sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

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“While you understand the importance of using sunscreen, it is also significant to understand which sunscreen is ideal for your skin. When you stroll through the sunscreen aisle, there are a plethora of options to choose from—different SPF levels, ingredients, and water-resistance ratings to a variety of textures and scents,” said Dr Malavika Kohli MD, DVD, DNB, Director, Skin Secrets and Consultant Dermatologist at Jaslok and Breach Candy Hospital, as she shared five ways to choose the best sunscreen for your skin:

Look for SPF level: SPF (sun protection factor) is the measure of how much UVB light sunscreen can filter out or how much UV radiation is required to cause a sunburn – the higher the SPF, the less likely your skin will burn. However, it is necessary to understand that SPF doesn’t relate to time spent in the sun but rather refers to the amount of solar energy; so, the application depends on the intensity of the sun, meaning you must apply sunscreen often during the day when the sun is at its peak.

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Check the label for broad-spectrum protection: Make sure to use a sunscreen that is labelled broad-spectrum or indicates that it provides coverage against both UVA and UVB, as they are the major contributor to skin cancer and ageing.

Look out for water-resistant sunscreen: Opt for a water-resistant sunscreen, especially if you are under the sun most of the time. Generally, water-resistance typically lasts for 80 – 120 minutes, so you need to keep reapplying sunscreen often.

Know your skin type: People with dry skin must choose a sunscreen with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. Those with oily skin can opt for sunscreens that are oil-free, lightweight and, quick-absorbing so that it does not clog pores and cause breakouts. People with sensitive skin can choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they are less irritating. Also, avoid products that have fragrance or other additives as they might be harsh on the skin

Consider vitamin D factor: It’s no secret that vitamin D is critical for over health – from bone to the immune system, and our body produces vitamin D when exposed to UVB rays. So, choose a sunscreen that not only protects the skin from UV rays but also enables maximum vitamin D formation.

Also, here are some vital tips to ensure you are getting the most protection from your sunscreen:

*Make using sunscreen a daily habit
*Use the right amount: 1 fingertip unit each time
*Spread it evenly and reapply
*If you are layering products, sunscreen should be the last
*A dedicated broad-spectrum sunscreen is more efficient and protects better than combination products with SPF

“These are certain factors that you can keep in mind while selecting the sunscreen that best suits your requirement and tips to ensure maximum protection. So, find one and stick with it!” said Dr Malavika Kohli

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