Sunscreens, a.k.a. suncreams are products available in the form of lotion, cream, gel, spray, lip balms etc., are combination of various ingredients which help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin, and therefore protecting the skin from any kind of sunburn. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation – UVA and UVB that are responsible for damaging the skin, premature aging and also escalate the risk of skin cancer. There are a few skin-lightening products which consist of sunscreen to safeguard the lightened skin, since light skin is more vulnerable to sun damage than darker skin. Different types of sunscreens vary in their respective ability to protect against the harmful UVA and UVB. Also, most of the sunscreens come along with SPF i.e., Sun Protection Factor.
What are UVA and UVB?
Well, UVB is the key culprit that causes sunburn, whereas UVA rays penetrate through the skin more deeply and are responsible for wrinkles, sagging of skin, leathering and many other light-induced effects of aging. UVA is the longer wave UV rays which results lasting skin damage and UVB is shorter wave UV rays which causes more severe damage to the skin. Also, they aggravate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays and are constantly rising and witnessing as a cause of skin cancer. Contingent upon the mode of action required, sunscreens are usually classified into chemical sunscreens – which absorb UV light and physical sunscreens – which reflects the sunlight.
What to look for while buying a sunscreen?
According to The American Academy of Dermatology recommends, every individual must use a sunscreen which renders the following factors:
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or more
- Broad-spectrum protection (especially protects against UVA and UVB)
- Water resistant
Who needs Sunscreen?
According to a survey conducted on the sunscreen market, it clearly states that every individual irrespective of the age, gender, skin type, or race must use sunscreen in all seasons. As a matter of fact, it is predicted that every one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their entire lifetime.
What is an SPF?
SPF is actually a measure of the sunscreen’s capability to prevent UVB from causing damage to the skin. For instance, if it takes around 15-20 minutes for the unprotected skin to begin reddening, by using a sunscreen with SPF 15 tentatively prevent the ‘turning red’ factor 15 times longer, say nearly for five hours. Most of the sunscreens which have an SPF of 15 or more are sufficient enough to protect against the UVB.