Updated: Mar 14
Living in the tropics means we are exposed to the sun’s rays every single day; therefore, it is crucial to include sunscreen in your daily skincare routine to prevent exposing your skin to unnecessary damage from sun exposure. Sunscreen should be worn every day regardless of whether the sun is out or not. This article will guide you in choosing the right sunscreen product for your skin. There are two types of sunscreens, this distinction is made due to the active ingredients used.
Physical (inorganic) sunscreen; create a more protective barrier on the surface of the skin that reflects and scatters UV rays away from your body. They have active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that protect the skin by absorbing 95 percent of the rays. These sunscreens leave behind a white cast. When using a physical sunscreen, get one with at least 10% concentration of zinc oxide in order to get broad-spectrum coverage. Examples of physical sunscreen include La Roche-Posay Anthelios broad-spectrum SPF 50 tinted mineral, Cerave sunscreen face lotion broad spectrum SPF 50.
Chemical (organic) sunscreen; absorb into the skin just like lotions. They don’t form a barrier on top of the skin. The active ingredients in the sunscreens (avobenzone and oxybenzone) cause a chemical reaction that changes the UV light into heat so that they don’t harm or penetrate into the skin. They leave no white residue. Examples of chemical sunscreen include; Neutrogena ultra sheer dry-touch sunscreen broad spectrum SPF 30, Nivea sun protects water gel SPF 35, Biore UV aqua rich watery essence SPF 50+/PA++++.
When choosing the best sunscreen to use daily, here are some of the things you should consider;
Sun Protection Factor (SPF); SPF measures how much solar energy is required to cause a sunburn when wearing sunscreen compared to unprotected skin. Dermatologists always recommend using sunscreen of at least SPF 30. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays while SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of UVB rays. Always remember that higher SPFs give extra protection against sun rays but don’t last long compared to lower SPFs, so you need to reapply them as often.
One should get a sunscreen that is labeled broad spectrum UVB/UVA protection or multi-spectrum because it protects against both types of UV light that is UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays prematurely age your skin causing wrinkles and age spots while UVB rays cause sunburn and reddening. So overexposure to them can lead to skin cancer.
Your skin type; one should consider their skin type when choosing a sunscreen. Those with oily or acne-prone skin should opt for a sunscreen labeled non-comedogenic because they don’t block pores. Example of non-comedogenic sunscreens; Cetaphil derma control daily moisturizer SPF 30. Those with dry skin should use moisturizers with sunscreen or sunscreens that have hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides (Aveeno positively radiant daily moisturizer). People with sensitive skin should opt for a physical (inorganic) sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and should avoid spray-on sunscreens that contain harsh formulas including alcohol because they can dry out the skin.
Using sunscreen in your daily skincare routine will;
Reduce inflammation and redness brought about when your skin is exposed to UV rays. This is especially for people who have sensitive skin and other skin conditions like psoriasis or rosacea that are prone to redness.
Prevent early signs of aging. When you expose your skin to the sun rays, it damages the skin cells, elastin leading to premature signs of aging like getting wrinkles, fine lines, skin discoloration, and a leathery appearance. This is common in people in their 20s and 30s who spend a lot of time in the sun without wearing sunscreen.
Reduce the risk of getting skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen every day is one way to prevent getting skin cancer by protecting your skin from UV rays. Use a minimum of SPF 30 multiple times each day. For more protects against the sun rays you can use a higher-level SPF.
Reduce the risk of sunburn. One can become sunburned when they spend a lot of time in the sun without wearing sunscreen. This leads to skin damage causing skin cancer, premature wrinkling or aging, and many other skin conditions. Those who get severe sunburns with blisters should consult a dermatologist.
Prevent skin discoloration. These areas of skin discoloration are usually tan to brown in color and are called sun spots or liver spots. They develop on the face, head, hands, and arms. They appear later in life and they affect both men and women. Applying sunscreen every day can prevent these spots from appearing on your skin.
Sunscreen is effective if you use it right that is reapplying throughout the day. Wear protective clothing like hats, shades, sun-protective swimwear, and clothing. Always seek shade.