India has a warm climate throughout the year in most regions. The exposure of skin to sunlight is a certainty for most Indians who may face much harsher temperatures in summer months. With increasing awareness about the ill effects of prolonged sun exposure, sunscreens are becoming an essential part of our cosmetic array. Taking care of skin protects our skin from tanning, drying, premature ageing and skin cancer.
The proportion of melanin present in skin is responsible for the amount of sunlight absorbed or deflected by the skin. The higher the melanin content, the darker the skins tone. Fair skins with the lowest melanin content tend to be the most affected by sunlight.
The misnomer is that only fair skinned people need sun protection. In reality people of all races require sun protection.
How Do Sunscreens Protect the Skin
Sunscreens are formulations with chemicals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which spread in a layer on skin, forming a shield through which the sun’s UV A and B rays cannot penetrate. The protective strength of the sunscreen is denoted as its “sun protection factor or SPF as it is commonly known. Scientists estimate that sunscreens with SPF 15-30 are sufficient to protect normal skin.
Sunscreens should be applied at least 30 minutes before going out in the sun for maximum effectiveness. In case of excessive sweating, frequent reapplication of sun screen every 2 hours may be required.
Ideal Sunscreen for Indian Skins
India lies in the Torrid Zone and is exposed to strong sunlight for 90 per cent of the year. Indians are brown skinned and through centuries of sun exposure, have evolved to be less susceptible to sun cancer. It is the fear of premature ageing due to excessive sun exposure that prompts modern Indians to reach for sun screen lotion.
Sunscreens with SPF 20-30 are necessary during the torrid summers in India.
Based Upon Skin Type, Sunscreens Recommended for Indian Skins are:
Normal skin: Normal skin types are even toned and neither excessively dry nor oily. Cream based sun blocks work best on normal skin
Oily skin: Oily skin is prone to acne outbreaks and enlarged pores. Gel or water based light sun screens are recommended for oily skins.
Dry skin: Dry skins are sensitive and prone to reddening and peeling upon exposure to the sun. Sun screens with built in moisturisers work best on dry skin.