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Sunscreen : Do's & Don'ts

Dr. Archhana Gullur 90% (47 ratings)
MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Bangalore  •  12 years experience
Sunscreen : Do's & Don'ts

Studies have shown that those who inculcate a habit of wearing sunscreen at all times while stepping out during the day have younger and healthier looking skin than those who don't. Sunscreen acts as a layer of defense against sun radiation and keeps it from causing any damage. Skin is, thus, protected from accelerated aging.

These are the do's and don'ts you need to follow before you apply sunscreen the next time:

Do: Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors - For the product to be most effective, it needs to be fully absorbed by the skin before exposure to the sun; the reason why applying approximately 30 minutes before you step out of home is a must.

Don't: DON'T buy sunscreens with ridiculously high SPFs - SPF means the number of times the skin will be protected against the minimal damage to skin by UV rays. SPF of 30 and above is good for Indian skin. Sunscreen should have broad spectrum coverage to protect against UVA UVB and visible spectrum. Sunscreens with an SPF of 100 can cost about twice as much as the same brand with an SPF of 30, but it doesn't provide three times the protection. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of harmful UV rays, while SPF 100 blocks 99%. While it is a difference, it might not be enough to warrant the extra cost. 

Do: Use sunscreen every day of the year - The sun's harmful rays persist in all seasons, whether it's summer or winter. Even on cloudy days, it's advisable to apply sunscreen to protect the skin as UV rays are still able to penetrate through thick covers of cloud, thereby harming your skin.

Do: Test a small amount of the product on yourself before application - Apply a small amount of sunscreen on your wrist first and check for allergic reactions if you're trying it for the first time or are switching over to a new brand.
In case it causes an allergic reaction, discontinue use at once and consult a dermatologist regarding, which sunscreen you should use.

Don't: Forget to reapply - Sunscreens rub off quite easily due to sweating or contact with water. Reapply as often as you can, ideally every 2 hours.Keep in mind that apart from the application of sunscreen, it is also necessary to keep the skin covered as much as possible to protect yourself against skin ailments caused by exposure to the sun.

Don't: Apply sunscreen only on the face - Make sure you apply it to every part of your body, especially the hands, forearms, thighs and ears, which are commonly exposed to the sun. Not only are these more prone to skin ageing, but the risk of melanoma (skin cancer) is also tremendously high in these portions of the body.

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