Published on March 29th, 2017 | by Yashodhara Ghosh
All About SPF
While John Denver’s dulcet voice recurrently dupes us into believing that sunshine on our shoulders is actually a good thing, the return of the Great Indian Summer brings the beginnings of that indelible tan.
While the dusty summer is a motley experience for all, it can only spell one thing for your skin: doom. Now more than ever is it a cardinal sin to step out of home without a reasonably thick coat of sunscreen pasted on your face. Now more than ever is it imperative for you to replenish that coat every few hours, each time sweat wipes it off. So if you’ve been cheating on your sunscreen routine out of ignorance or sheer laziness, here’s what you need to know. If Baz Luhrman made it fashionable to wear sunscreen in the 90’s (remember Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen?), studies linking the notorious UVA and UVB rays to skin cancer have practically elevated sunscreen to a religion in the next decade. And with good reason too: the rays – even if they don’t give you cancer – are the chief causes for sun damage, manifested as sun spots, leathery aged skin and freckles.
Learn your rays
Ultraviolet radiations are of different two wavelengths: referred to as UVA and UVB rays. Both cause permanent, irreversible damage to your skin. UVA rays are relatively less potent, but they are all-pervasive: no matter what the time of day or month of year, these invisible rays are bearing down on you, penetrating your skin. Windows and clothes fail to shield you from them. Studies have shown that they damage keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where skin cancer originates. UVB rays aren’t present in all the sun’s radiation, but they are biologically more active, and the chief cause of sunburn and skin cancer. They are present in the sun’s radiation at specific times of day and year, depending on your latitude. In high altitudes or near reflective surfaces like snow and ice, these rays hit your skin harder.
- So while UVB rays are more potent, UVA rays are attacking your skin incessantly. Together, they spell damage with a capital D. And your only weapon against them is sunscreen, or good old sunblock. Blocks contain ingredients like Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide. They create a protective sheathe around your skin, which deflect the rays right back into the atmosphere. Sunscreens contain chemicals like benzophenones, cinnamates and walicylates, which neutralise and absorb the harmful rays. Both functions are equally important and these days you’ll find that a single product contains both these categories of chemicals.
- Now that you sunscreen agnostics have (hopefully) been converted to believers, the next stumbling block is the word SPF. If you’ve been ambushed by salesmen trying to lure you with higher SPFs, keep calm and don’t be fooled. Sun protection factor gives an indication of the relative time for which the product will protect your skin from sun damage. So if you’re wearing SPF20, it will take your skin 20 times longer to be damaged by the UVA and UVB rays, than if you hadn’t bothered to apply any.
- It is crucial that you understand this: SPF 100 does NOT give double the protection as SPF 50. Beyond say SPF 30, higher SPFs make negligible difference. An SPF 15 gives you 93 % protection, while SPF 30 gives only 4 % more. SPF 50 improves only a measly 1 % more, at 98. So instead of spending hundreds more on high SPF sunscreens, we suggest you opt for anything between SPF 20 and 30, and make sure that you keep re-applying it every 2 hours or so. And always give your skin 10-15 minutes to absorb the sunscreen before stepping out.
FAB SUMMER PICKS
Natural Bath & Body Sunscreen SPF 30 : This true broad-spectrum bio-activ sunscreen, uses an elegant formula of uncoated, non-nano Zinc Oxide for the safest sun protection from UVA and UVB exposure. Additionally, Ascorbyl Glucoside combines with antioxidant-rich botanicals and UVA/UVB protecting actives to delay signs of ageing caused by sun and environmental agents. Light and soothing, it gets easily absorbs leaving no visible residue on the skin. CLICK HERE to view product
Kaya Daily Use Sunscreen + Spf 15 : UV-A MV-B Protection.v Daily Use Sunscreen r with SPF 15 not only protects your skin from harmful UV-A and UV-B rays but also hydrates the skin without making it feel sticky. With Ultra Bootstar rating of 5, it offers the highest possible UV-A protection against tanning and ageing duo to sun exposure. CLICK HERE to view product
Johara Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 : Johara® Broad Spectrum Sunscreen with SPF 30 is a lightweight moisturiser that hydrates skin & enriched with Galanga extract from the roots of Kaempferia galanga and other sunscreen ingredients those are shown to provide protection against skin-damaging sun’s UVA and UVB rays of Sun. Sulphate, Paraben, Formaldehyde & Synthetic Dye free. CLICK HERE to view product