How to select sunscreen for your skin type

There is an increasing amount of awareness about the harmful effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun on skin. Exposure to UV rays of the sun has been known to cause skin cancer. The colour of skin is determined by the amount of melanin in the skin. The higher the melanin content, darker is the skin but darker the skin, lesser is the harmful effect on UV rays. Light skinned persons have lower melanin content in the skin, but are at higher risk of skin cancer. Sun screen has now become a healthy option in skin care rather than being a beauty aid.


Sunscreen lotions and creams are special formulations designed to protect the skin from UV radiation.  The UV rays are of types A and B and sun screen lotions are formulated to protect skin from either or both types of harmful rays. The strength of the sunscreen is designated in terms of it sun protection factor, commonly termed as SPF. Dermatologists recommend that you should apply sunscreen if your exposure to the sun is for a period of 20 minutes or more. UV radiation is more in areas of sand and snow- hence even on a holiday, on the beach or on snow covered slopes, sunscreen is a must. Sunscreen must be applied 20 minutes before going outside. If you plan on going into the water, use waterproof sunscreen and renew application every hour.


There is an overwhelming choice of sunscreens with SPF of 2-50. A sunscreen of SPF 30 screens 97% of harmful UVB rays while a SPF 15 sunscreen 93 % of UVB rays. There is no cream which provides 100 % protection. Dermatologists recommend sensible tanning while on a holiday. With the use of sunscreen, using of sunglasses, a cap or parasol lip protection creams and sun protective clothing can help prevent skin cancer.  Drinking plenty of water is also a good way to keep the whole body hydrated which includes the skin. Sun screen lotions with higher SPF are needed for long hours of exposure to sun.


Tips on Selecting Sunscreen



Oily Skin: A gel based sunscreen which spreads evenly but does not clog the pores of the skin is best for oily skin. Avoid mineral oil based sunscreens as these may result in acne outbreaks.


Dry Skin: Alcohol based sunscreens should be avoided as these dry the skin. Sunscreens in which aloe Vera, glycerin or other hydrating ingredients have been added are right for dry skin. Spray on sunscreens contain alcohol and should be avoided.


Uses of fragrance free and hypoallergenic sunscreens are recommended for use on sensitive skins.

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