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Best Sunscreens: Understand Myths and Truths to ensure Sun Protection

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The author enjoys exploring skin care options and provide relevant information about available skin care products.

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Sunscreen depending upon its type and form has different impact on the human skin and environment. There are so many sunscreens available in the market which confuses people when it comes to knowing which sunscreen is best for them.

How Sunscreens Work?

To figure out which sunscreen is the best for you, first you have to understand how it works. Sunlight is made up of electromagnetic waves and ultraviolet radiations which depending on their wavelength are classified into UVA, UVB, and UVC. Only UVA and UVB reaches the earth. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin than UVB rays.

However, not only UVB but even the long exposure to UVA rays can cause skin cancer, premature aging in human body. Sunscreen protect either by creating a physical barrier on the surface of the skin with the help of Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide or chemically by the help of compounds like Dioxybenzone to absorb UV photons into the skin to prevent sun damage.

Which Sunscreen is Best for You?

These two different types of sunscreens open up a discussion about which sunscreen is the best. Well, this choice can be made by comparing ingredients of the sunscreens, their SPF amount, and their application methods to check whether it’s safe, easy to apply or not, or will it give you full protection.

Cream or Spray

In case of cream based sunscreens, because most people don’t apply the enough layer, one can be susceptible to unwanted sun exposure but they are safe to apply. On the other hand, spray applicators are easy to use but they can cause inhaling of toxic compounds from the sunscreen which are not for oral consumption.

SPF

SPF is a scale which tells you about the solar exposure one needs to have sun burn and the quantity of UVB rays required to cause skin damage. Higher percentage of SPF is great when it comes to protect yourself from UVB rays but UVA rays are damaging as well so it is better to look for Broad spectrum UVA/UVB- protecting sunscreens.

  • SPF 15: Blocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30: Blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50: Blocks 98% of UVB rays

Myths About Sun Burn

How long a person can stay in sunlight without getting sun burn?

Well, it is not only about sunscreen but also based on factors like genetics, place, time and how one is exposed to the sun.

It is not necessarily true that the risk of sunburn is greater when sun is hottest in the day because it only shows the accumulation of sun heat not the intensity of its harmful rays. So, when you are out at 10 a.m. and feel like it’s the early morning and the sun is not that hot well this is the time when UV rays are the strongest.

However, according to dermatologists between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. sun is at its highest point and UVB/UVA rays are the strongest and most damaging.

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It is a myth that you only need sunscreen when you are going outside.

No matter whether you are sitting in your house by the window or even away from it or you are driving a car, you are directly exposed to UVA rays so you do need sunscreen even indoors.

Is Sunscreen Safe to Apply?

Most of the sunscreens ingredients are considered safe but there is still some research going on to know the effects of some chemical based active ingredients.

When it comes to playing safe it is advised to look for mineral based sunscreens which with the help of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide work as physical barrier to protect your skin.

They do feel a bit thicker and have tint but they are less irritating than carbon based/chemical sunscreens which absorb sunlight as a sponge to give you protection.

About 16 ingredients are approved by FDA for sun protection but only 2 (Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide) are considered safe and other 14 are up for review.

Chemical Sunscreens

Ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Avobenzone and some other are not viewed as safe to use and are up for debate

.Some of these chemical are associated with hormonal problems and in some cases they are linked to baby weight fluctuations based on whether mother was using Oxybenzone based sunscreen or not during pregnancy.

Carbon based sunscreens are harmful for environment as well because they are strong molecules which do not breakdown in the water easily and creates a layer which affects coral reefs which ultimately harms fishes and other marine life.

Conclusion

Now you have all the information and you are ready to pick the best sunscreen for you.

Make an informed decision about buying a particular sunscreen, to not only protect your skin but also the environment.

Check SPF which is mentioned on the front of the bottle and see active ingredients at the back of the product.

© 2022 iffi

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