Despite the torrential rain the past few days, most of the Sri Lankan year is pretty sunshine-y. Which is also why it’s pretty sad that we underestimate and underplay the value and benefit of sunscreen use. Keep in mind, exposure to UVA and UVB rays causes skin cancers and skin damage. Since there’s general ignorance about sunscreen related info, here are the basics you should know.
Choosing A Sunscreen
● Look at the SPF. This refers to the “sun protective factor” or how long it blocks UVB rays. While sunscreens don’t necessarily block UVB rays 100% an SPF of at least 30 is recommended.
● Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen. SPF refers to the ability to block UVB rays. A broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. It is also important since UVA rays cause skin damage, such as signs of aging, wrinkles and dark or light spots. If your sunscreen does not state “broad Spectrum” fret not, and instead look for protection against UVB and UVA rays, which is the same thing.
● Water resistant. If you’re going to be very active, or if you’ll be in the water, use water resistant sunscreen, especially considering that your body expels water through sweat.
● Test. Always test your skin for allergies. Apply a small patch on your wrist and leave it on for a few minutes. If itching or irritation occurs, discontinue use.
● Expiry date. Always check the expiry date of any product before use, and ditch it if it has expired.Observe any changes in consistency, color changes etc which indicate expiration.
● When to apply. Apply it before you go out into the sun as opposed to applying after you’re already outside. Sunscreen takes time to bind to your skin and become fully protective. So make sure to apply about 30 minutes before you head out.
● Quantity. Most people tend to use insufficient amounts of sunscreen - Adults need at least a palmful of sunscreen to cover exposed skin. Remember to cover ears, neck, the tops of your feet and hands.
● Reapply. You will need to reapply sunscreen as directed on the label of your sunscreen or after spending time in the water.
By Rihaab Mowlana