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Why Sunscreen Needs to Be a Staple in Your Bag This Summer


June 15, 2023

Picture this: it's a warm, sunny day. You're eight years old, at the beach and itching to jump into the glittering blue ocean and then build a sandcastle that reaches the clouds. The only thing stopping you is your mum, who's insisting that she smothers you in sunscreen first.

If this is a scene that strikes you as familiar, let it be known that you're not the only one. For many of us, one of the few downsides of sunny days in our childhood was that our parents wouldn't let us go outside until we put on sunscreen. We would eye the greasy liquid disdainfully, maybe even wipe it off behind our mum's backs, not understanding or caring why we were being made to wear it.

But with age comes wisdom, and so maybe it's time to finally admit it: our parents were right. Sunscreen really is important enough to wait a little bit longer before running into the ocean or building a sandcastle. Those extra few seconds it takes to put some sunscreen on can give your skin hours of protection from the sun.

This article will illuminate to you what sunscreen does and why it's so important to wear every day. By the time you've finished reading, you should have a full idea of why it's so important for sunscreen to be your best friend this summer!

Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

To Begin: What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a skin product. It contains active ingredients that reduce the impact of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation on your skin. This decreases the chances of your skin getting sun-damaged.

Sunscreen can come in numerous different forms, including lotions, sprays, sticks and oils. You can use whichever one's best suited for you, be it sprays for convenience or sticks if you don't like the thick feel of lotion.

Professionals recommend that you apply sunscreen to all areas of your skin that will be exposed to the sun to ensure maximum protection across your body.

However, make sure not to rely on sunscreen alone for protection—ideally, you should try to avoid being in direct sunlight, and seek the shade when the sun is at its strongest. Sunscreen just acts as an extra barrier against the sun that allows you to be in it without feeling its effects as much.

Image Credit: Betül Üstün from Unsplash

What Are the Benefits of Applying Sunscreen?

There are dozens of reasons why wearing sunscreen is so important. Here are a few of the biggest:

Sunscreen reduces your chances of skin cancer. One study whose findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer, suggests that 86% of melanoma skin cancer cases in Britain are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Sunscreen reduces the impact of UV radiation, in turn decreasing the chances of an individual developing skin cancer.

Decreases signs of aging. UV radiation can cause a person's skin to discolor and wrinkle as a person gets older. While sunscreen is not able to keep you eternally young, it can stave off the development of lines and skin sagging.

Prevents sunburn. Prolonged exposure to the sun can result in sunburn, which is when the skin becomes inflamed and painful. In extreme cases of sunburn, the skin can even peel. Sunscreen is a crucial tool that can prevent this from happening.

Maintain your skin's health. Sunscreen protects the skin's proteins, such as collagen and keratin and helps maintain smooth, even skin.

Image Credit: Tara Winstead from Unsplash

How Often Should Sunscreen Be Applied?

How frequently sunscreen should be applied depends on the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) used. SPF is rated on a numeral scale typically ranging from 10 to 50.

SPF 15 is the lowest recommended for daily use. The higher the SPF used, the longer the effects of the sunscreen will last. Hence, the higher the SPF used the better, especially on very sunny days.

As a general rule, you should try to put sunscreen on at least thirty minutes before you leave the house and apply it every two hours.

Image Credit: Vilvah Store from Unsplash

Which Sunscreen Should I Use?

There are so many different brands and products out there, that it can be difficult to know which one to go for. If you're finding the huge breadth to choose from intimidating, here are some recommendations, complete with pros and cons.

Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sunscreen Lotion

Image Credit: Banana Boat Sport from Amazon

SPF: 30

A relatively cheap sunscreen that is water resistant for up to eighty minutes, making it ideal for beach days. However, the tube is relatively small, meaning it would likely run out fast and would need to be frequently repurchased.

Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion

Image Credit: Bondi Sands from Amazon

SPF: 50

Has a high SPF, making it longer-lasting. It is also fragrance-free and thus well-suited for sensitive skin. However, some reviews warn that it may make your skin greasy.

EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen

Image Credit: EltaMD from Amazon

SPF: 46

Another sunscreen with a high SPF that is suitable for sensitive skin. It is one of the pricier sunscreens on this list.

Milani 'Make it Last' Sunscreen Setting Spray

Image Credit: Milani from Amazon

SPF: 30

Can be used on top of makeup, making it convenient to reapply throughout the day. But be warned, some of the reviews suggest it has a strong—although not necessarily bad—scent.

Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

With summer upon us, you should ensure that a bottle of sunscreen is a permanent fixture in your bag!

Getting into the habit of wearing sunscreen can be hard. Doing small things like incorporating it into your everyday skincare regime and putting reminders on your phone to reapply it throughout the day can help make it easier.

Remember: putting on sunscreen may be annoying in the short term, but it will benefit you in the long term. Here's to healthy and dewy skin!

Areesha Ahmed
10k+ pageviews

Areesha is currently a student. She enjoys watching horror films and drinking tea. When she is not reading books, she is buying them.