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The Essential Guide for Wearing SPF in the Sun

Wellness

One of the best ways to protect your skin from damage is by applying sun protection factor (SPF). SPF represents a sunscreen ability to protect against a specific portion of the ultraviolet light called UVB and UVA. Here is how it works.

Why is sunscreen important?

Applying sunscreen prevents your skin from

  • Discoloration and dark spots from sun damage.
  • Sunburn caused by UV rays
  • Skin cancer and
  • Premature aging

How to protect your skin from ultra-violet radiation using SPF

First of all, you have to consider the kind of product you would love to use. Some sunscreens are made of chemicals, while others, minerals. The former filters out the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays; the latter physically blocks ultraviolet rays with ingredients like zinc oxide.

“Chemical sunscreens statistically perform better in consumer tests that look at how long they protect the sun from ultra-violet rays."

- Dr Ploch.

Experts have made it clear, however, that mineral sunscreen is the better option for those with sensitive skin.

Does the SPF number really matter?

Yes, the SPF level is important, and anything below SPF 30 is not recommended. No matter the amount of product applied, if the SPF level is less than 30, it will likely not be effective. While seeking out the SPF number, ensure the sunscreen you select is indicated as broad spectrums, meaning it protects from both UVB and UVA.

Additionally, please note that SPF 30, 50, and 100 have a slight difference of 1.5%, but SPF 50 is most often recommended.

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How much of SPF is enough?

Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist, shared that, to achieve the SPF level labelled on the sunscreen bottle, 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin is required, which is equivalent to one shot glass for the body.

It's important to note that, no matter your location or season, the same quantity is applied.

What is the right way to apply?

Applying your sunscreen is also as important as taking a bath.

People frequently ask if it's okay to apply moisturizer before sunscreen. The answer is yes. If your skin is dry, it's advisable to apply your moisturizer before the sunscreen. But if it's the other way round, applying moisturizer won't be necessary because most sunscreens on the market come with moisturizer.

Reapply the sunscreen every two hours or more, and also, if ever, after swimming. Note that mineral sunscreen takes effect immediately, while chemical sunscreens have to be applied 15 minutes before stepping out.

Spots on the body people often miss

People tend to forget to apply sunscreen:

  • On the back of their neck
  • On top of the feet and hands
  • Around the eyes

So, every time you step out, do not forget to apply sunscreen to avoid damaging your skin!

Applying sunscreen every day really worked for me. I had skin pigmentation before I was introduced to sunscreen. But now I'm proud to say my skin color is even and I don't get scared of stepping out because of the sun.

Abasi-iyake Sunday

Abasi-iyake is an undergraduate who's passionate about writing and personal growth. She also loves reading, dancing, singing, writing and traveling.