What? “Just SPF 30?” “No, apply this one, it also helps cast a white glow on the face or simply get a sunscreen with SPF above 50”.
I am sure, we all get such unsolicited advice and unwanted suggestions from people who know little but look like an ocean of knowledge.
Chuck it! If you are a person with questions like, “Is sunscreen good for skin” or don’t know the difference between sunscreen and sunblock or sun protection factor then this blog will be your ultimate guide and explain why “Apply sunscreen even on a “rainy day”, is a RULE not meant to be broken!
Importance Of Sun Protection And The Role Of Sunscreen In Maintaining Healthy Skin
Seeing people with an umbrella during winter is somewhat practical, probably that’s why umbrellas were made, but have you ever wondered why people use them in summer as well?
You must also have seen people covering their entire faces while out in the sun, why??? To prevent sun tan, I know, right?
Well nope, Hell no! People do think the same and somewhere slightly even know about it.
Here’s the thing, the sun is a source of all things bright, be it, the mood or a day. While it helps in the creation of Vitamin D, it also tends to give off something harmful called ultraviolet rays that cause:
- Premature ageing.
- Skin cancer if prolonged UV exposure.
Need I say more?
Sun protection is not just for sunny days, but for cloudy and rainy days as well. While clouds can provide some level of sunblock, they don't entirely shield us from UV rays. Some UV rays can still penetrate through the cloud cover and reach our skin. So, how do you protect yourself? “Sunscreen”, you guys!
Sunscreen helps protect our skin from the sun's harmful rays by either blocking or absorbing them. It forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface, preventing UV rays from penetrating and causing damage. Applying sunscreen regularly will not only help in protecting your skin but will also keep it healthy.
What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock sun protection factor?
- Sunscreen: Absorbs UV radiation and converts it into heat energy using organic compounds.
- Sunblock: Physically blocks or reflects UV radiation away from the skin using inorganic ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF): Indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, with higher SPF numbers providing greater protection.
What are the effects of UV radiation?
Let’s understand what UV radiation is; It is radiation from the sun or the energy produced by it that reaches the earth and provides some health benefits like the creation of vitamin D but also has some harmful factors up its sleeve.
Based on the wavelength size, ultraviolet radiation is classified into three types:
- UVA: It causes wrinkles, tanning, and/or burning of the skin.
- UVB: It causes damage to the skin's outermost layers. It can cause skin cancer by causing sun spots, sunburns, and blistering.
- UVC: It is absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere and the UV light you experience on Earth is either UVA or UVB, not UVC.
What is it most likely to cause?
1. Sunburn: When UV rays penetrate the skin, it damages skin cells and causes DNA mutations. The human body has several mechanisms to prevent and even correct these mutations but if there is overexposure to UV rays in the skin cells, the damage gets irreversible. The redness, swelling and inflammation associated with sunburn is caused by the dilation of blood vessels to increase blood flow and bring immune cells to the surface of the skin to clean up this mess.
2. Premature ageing: The ultraviolet rays over time deteriorate the fibres in your skin called Elastin. When these fibres degrade, your skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to return to its original position after stretching.
3. Skin cancer: UV rays are the primary cause of skin cancer. Your body requires UV rays to produce vitamin D, which is essential for survival. When your skin is exposed to too much UV radiation, it damages your cells. DNA exists within your cells and instructs them on how to form and function in your body. Too much UV radiation damages your cells' DNA, causing them to misunderstand their function. As a result, your cells divide and replicate at an abnormally high rate. The cells in your body then clump together to form tumours, leading to skin cancer.
How does Sunscreen work?
Here’s how the sunscreen protects you from these harmful rays and helps you maintain healthy skin:
- It shields against harmful rays: While chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that convert UV rays into heat, physical sunscreens contain physical UV filters that reflect and block the sun's rays before they reach the skin.
- Prevents Sunburn: Sunscreens contain ingredients that block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin. They even absorb them which prevents the danger.
- Slows down skin aging: Exposure to the sun can speed up the aging process of our skin causing fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher creates a layer on the skin that physically blocks and absorbs harmful UV rays and slows down the aging process.