The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are one of the biggest causes of skin damage.
Sunrays consist of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth’s surface: ultraviolet A (UVA) rays and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
- UVB rays affect the top layers of the skin and are the primary cause of sunburn.
- UVA rays affect the deeper layers of the skin, triggering increased production of brown pigment which results in tanning of skin. Deep within, the skin cells are continually attacked by UVA rays, this eventually results in premature aging of the skin, causing wrinkles and age spots.
A sunscreen protects the skin from these harmful rays.
Myth: Using makeup with SPF is just like wearing regular facial sunscreen.
Fact: Applying makeup that contains SPF is better than skipping it altogether, but it's not as effective as wearing a sunscreen underneath. Generally, most makeup cracks on the skin, which allows UV rays to pass through the skin. For makeup to provide adequate ultraviolet protection, it would need to be applied in a really thick layer, which most women do not do.
So it is necessary to apply layer of sunscreen first, and then apply makeup.
Myth: Water resistant sunscreen provides “all day protection” and does not need to be reapplied.
Fact: Water resistant products do offer protection in the water, but they lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes of water immersion. Depending on how long one is in the water, the sunscreen may be totally or partially lost; it will be totally removed after towel drying. The only safe advice is to regularly re-apply the sunscreen, after swimming or excessive sweating and especially after towelling.
Myth: Sunscreen blocks the body's ability to make Vitamin D
Fact: One reason many people say they don't use sunscreen is the fear of blocking vitamin D development in the body, a process that requires sun exposure. However, concerned individuals can boost their vitamin D production by taking daily supplements or eating a diet rich in fish, fortified milk, and eggs. In fact, most people get enough sun exposure just by doing everyday outdoor activities, such as walking to the bus stop, even when sunscreen is applied.
Myth: Person with dark skin does not need sunscreen.
Fact: Everybody, regardless of race, ethnic origins and skin type is subject to the damaging effects of exposure to the sun. Dark skinned individuals tan easily and burn rarely and they also should use sunscreen.
Myth: Does sunscreen with SPF-15 provide twice as much protection as SPF-30.
Fact: No. Sunscreen with SPF-15 protects against 93% of UVB rays, while an SPF-30 protects against 97% of UVB rays.
Myth: Sunscreen is unnecessary on cloudy days and inside.
Fact: Sunscreen should be used every day because the sun emits harmful rays all year round. Even on cloudy days, harmful UV rays can penetrate the skin. Up to 80% of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25% of the sun's rays and snow reflects 80% of the sun's rays.
Myth: Applying sunscreen once per day is enough.
Fact: No. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours -- even more if you're swimming or sweating a lot. Even so-called "water-resistant" sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water.
Myth: A little dab of sunscreen works just as well as a lot.
Fact: When it comes to sunscreen, less is not more. The recommended amount to apply is more than full palmful (or shot glass). Make sure to apply it to dry skin 15 to 20 minutes before going outdoors to allow it time to be absorbed into the skin. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2-3 hours.
- Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing. Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen.
- The recommended amount to apply is more than full palmful (or shot glass). Adjust the amount of sunscreen applied depending on your body size.
- Apply the sunscreen to dry skin 15-20 minutes before going outdoors.
- To protect your lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Re-apply sunscreen approximately every two- three hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.
Sunscreen plays an important role in protecting skin from the sun. For additional protection, the following measures should be taken:
- Wear protective clothing, such as long‐sleeved salwar kameezes/shirts and trousers, and use an umbrella/wide‐brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. So, during this period, stay in the shade as far as is possible.
Extra caution should be taken when near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase one’s chances of sunburn and, thereby, skin damage.