The Jakarta Post
Whether it comes in cream, lotion, gel or spray form, any sun protection product is ideally worn every day before leaving the house. (Shutterstock/Sondem)
Whether it comes in cream, lotion, gel or spray form, any sun protection product is ideally worn every day before leaving the house. More than just a protection against sunburn, sunscreen can save us from skin cancer.
Sunlight offers us a range of benefits, and our body needs sunlight to help produce vitamin D and cut the risks of cardiovascular diseases. But long exposure to sunlight without the proper protection can also be detrimental to our skin.
The sun emanates three different types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but only UVA and UVB rays affect the human body.
UVA, also called aging rays, accelerates skin aging, and causes wrinkles and dark spots. Meanwhile, UVB rays, or burning rays are the cause of sunburns. UVA rays are able to penetrate through glass and clouds, but UVB rays have a higher radiation intensity.
Prolonged exposure to both types of sunlight can cause skin cancer, which means it is crucial for us to apply sunscreen before stepping outside. But with so many sunscreen brands on the market, which product is most effective?
Here is a simple guide courtesy of Kompas.com on the five things to consider when purchasing a sun protection product.
1. Go for the broad spectrum
Products that are anti-UVB have always been more popular, but what you really need is broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects the skin from both UVB and UVA rays. These variants contain titanium oxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone for maximum protection against the sun’s radiation.
2. Choose the appropriate SPF rating
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how well the sunscreen protects the skin from UVB rays. It may also indicate how long the product can last against sun exposure, but this also depends on skin type, the intensity of sunlight and amount of sunblock used.
SPF 15 blocks roughly 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent.
3. Should we choose waterproof or sweat-proof sunscreen?
Any sunscreen product will be rinsed off by sweat or water after some time. Whether we choose the waterproof or sweat-proof kind, re-apply it evenly every two hours, or soon after swimming or perspiring.
4. Sunblock or sunscreen?
There are two types of sun protection, namely sunblock and sunscreen. Sunblock sits on top of the skin, acting as a barrier between the skin and UV rays by reflecting or scattering UVB light. Sunscreen, however, penetrates the skin and absorbs UVA rays before they reach and damage the dermal layer.
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5. Identify your skin type
Choose the right sun protection based on your skin type. The lighter the hair and skin a person has, the more sensitive they are to sunlight. People with fair skin will therefore need sun protection with a higher SPF.
For those with dry skin, sun protection cream is an ideal choice. Cream is more water resistant and it usually has the highest SPF.
Meanwhile, those with oily skin may choose gel-based sun protection. If you prefer a product that is light and non-sticky, try a spray or mist. However, apply moisturizer first as sun protection spray might contain alcohol. (mut)