We asked our readers about how particular they are about wearing sunscreen. Clearly, a majority of them are not.
Boys and girls, sorry to destroy any potential Orwellian fantasies, but sunscreen is not a “capitalist lie”. It is, instead, a very important way of protecting your skin against the damage that the sun’s ultraviolet rays can inflict on you. The effects of the damage are revealed over time, after our little fireball in the sky has had years and years to cause changes to the skin.
The sun emits two kinds of UV rays – UVA (those that cause long term damage like ageing) and UVB (those that cause short term damage in the form of burning).
Brownie points if you have realised sunscreen is your new best friend.
When the Sun Sneaks Up On You
Now you may be happy wearing sunscreen when you step out in the blazing sun, but what you don’t know is that the sun can sneak up on you even when you are indoors – on a cloudy day in summers, in winters, and even on days when it snows!
Stressing on the importance of sunscreen in different situations, Dr Sanjiv Grover, Consultant Dermatology, Fortis Shalimar Bagh, says:
Sunscreens over SPF 40 or above are recommended for Indian skin tones. It is very important so as to protect the skin against the UV rays that may filter through the clouds, even though visible sunlight is minimal. Wearing sunscreen indoors is also very important, in order to protect against UV rays emitted from various devices
Different kinds of lights inside the house also emit harmful UV radiation. The potency of these UV radiation might not be too strong, but it’s not non-existent. Regular lights bulbs emit some, while the least emissions come from LEDs. But since we spend most of our time under lights in our offices, it’s best you slap on some sunscreen.
Summer sun means business, so pay extra attention to sunscreen, especially if you are stepping out between 10 am to 3 pm, even on cloudy days. Similarly, if not equally strict, these rules should be followed while stepping out in winters as well.
You are also vulnerable to UV radiations in snowy spaces. More of these radiations reach alpine regions than areas at sea levels. Since the atmosphere is thinner at higher altitudes, the exposure to UV rays becomes higher.
Sunscreen is necessary in snow and mountainous regions as reflected UV rays can adversely affect the skin.Dr Sanjiv Grover
Snow reflects a large amount of UV radiations, sometimes more than water in case of fresh snow.
Before You Pick a Sunscreen...
The rule of thumb here should be a sunscreen labelled ‘Broad Spectrum’. They provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
In case of sensitive skin or acne triggered by sunscreen, switch to a different brand, especially those meant for these specific kinds of skin.
An average consumer can choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 40 or above. This number stands for the amount of time taken to burn skin covered by sunscreen as opposed to unprotected skin.
Ingredients that make a sunscreen unsafe include Vitamin A (it increases skin sensitivity) or Retinol, Retinyl, Retinoic Acid. So read the label!