- What is Sunscreen? Why Has it Suddenly Become Essential?
- Myths and Major Facts about Sunscreen
- What is Sunscreen? Does it Protect You From the Harmful UV Rays?
- Is Sunscreen Beneficial for all Skin Types?
- Has the Functionality of Sunscreen Evolved Over the Years?
- How Much SPF Is Required for a Sunscreen to Protect Us From Sun Damage?
- Is SPF the Only Indicator of Protection from Sun Damage?
- How Much Sunscreen Should Be Used?
- Does Sunscreen Protect Your Skin When You Step Out? What is the Potency of this Product that Can Protect Your Skin From Further Damage?
- What are the Other Physical Blocks That You Can Take Advantage of to Protect Yourself From Harmful UV Rays?
- Can the Application of Sunscreen Solely Protect You From the Extreme Sun Damage of Tanning, Sun Burns, Discolouration, and Skin Cancer?
- Are Humans Responsible for Developing Skin Cancer or are There Other External Factors that Aggravate It?
With over 50 years of experience, Skin Guru Dinyar Workingboxwalla is a pioneer and a revolutionary in the skincare industry. An advocate of natural and result-oriented skin and hair care products, Workingboxwalla realized his dream in the mid-70s when he pioneered an environmentally-friendly dermaceutical line. Committed to creating a balance of clean ingredients, scientifically proven actives, and natural oils, BiE’s skin guru believes in the curation of a perfectly balanced skincare regime which should be followed religiously for achieving gorgeous looking skin.
In the blog series Pearls From Dinyar, BiE brings you pearls of wisdom on the best haircare and skincare practices, trends, and formulations none other than Workingboxwalla himself.
What is Sunscreen? Why Has it Suddenly Become Essential?
Sunscreen is a skincare product which protects your skin, reduces your risk of developing skin cancer, and simultaneously alleviates premature signs of aging. There is no product in the skincare industry that protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays the way a sunscreen does. Exactly why it has become a trending skincare product, a true trailblazer, found in everybody’s skincare kit.
With my experience of over 50 years in the skincare industry, I would like to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the application, functionality and use of sunscreens. There is a lot of mayhem that has been created around the efficacy of sunscreens and how they have become a necessity. So, let’s get started, as I’m about to bust some myths and state some facts!
Myths and Major Facts about Sunscreen
1.What is sunscreen? Does it protect you from the harmful UV rays?
Sunscreen is defined as any photoprotective topical product containing ingredients that can reflect, scatter or absorb ultraviolet radiation. Sunburn is caused due to the wavelength of UVB rays that make up only 0.5% of the UV spectrum. Recently, studies have shown and observed that exposure to more and more UVA radiation can alone damage DNA cells and inhabit the skin’s immunity system. UVA radiation exacerbates aging and UVB radiation leads to burning.
2.Is sunscreen beneficial for all skin types?
After examining the wearability of sunscreen for several years, approximately 20% Indians have started incorporating sunscreen in their daily skincare regime. There is an accurate explanation for why there has been a sudden surge in the sales of sunscreen. It’s because of the climbing rates of melanoma that have alarmed and puzzled the experts. Melanoma, is a type of skin cancer formed in the skin cells that produces melanin. This type of skin cancer is found mostly in fair skinned people as compared to dark skinned people. Dark skinned people have pigments that protect them from getting pigmentation, sun tan, sunburn, and skin cancer. Fair skinned people, Americans, Caucasians and even lighter skinned Indians are more susceptible to getting a sun tan, as their skin burns faster. However, we need to comprehend that every skin type reacts in a different manner. Every skin type is different, and needs targeted sunscreens for protection as well. There are different types of sunscreens for oily skin, dry skin and combination skin. However, one must not rely only on sunscreens to protect themselves from any kind of sun damage, as physical and chemical blocks are imperative for sun protection.
3.Has the functionality of sunscreen evolved over the years?
Contrary to popular belief, sunscreens did not give enough sun protection from harmful UV rays back then. Researchers have examined people who used sunscreens without any UVA protection. They found that consumers were not well-informed about the efficacy of sunscreens, and perhaps ended up getting a sun tan or sun burn. In recent times, and after a lot of in depth-research and innovation, people have started using sunscreens with ingredients that provide UVA and UVB protection. Sunscreen has shown lower chances of people getting skin cancer and has alleviated its growth as well.
4.How much SPF is required for a sunscreen to protect us from sun damage?
Clients have always questioned me whether a sunscreen with SPF of 50 is enough for UV protection. Unfortunately, that isn’t the right question. You must use a sunscreen that at least has an SPF of 15 and is formulated with active ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which gives UVA protection. These are mineral sunscreens embedded with mineral protected ingredients. All sunscreens must have these two minerals. These sunscreens are suitable for all skin types. Best sunscreen for oily acne prone skin, dry skin and normal skin.
People are dependent on sunscreens for just one factor: SPF. Where SPF is written on the tube or bottle measures product potency against burning and skin damage. As a gauge of product strength, you must gauge it. The higher the number the better, but numbers aren’t always the right indicators of efficacy against UVA rays, which are now known to induce aging and DNA damage.
5.Is SPF the only indicator of protection from sun damage?
Some sunscreens with an SPF of 40 or 50 promise sun protection but aren’t efficient enough to give protection against tanning. A good sunscreen must focus on fighting against skin discoloration found quite often in Indian skin types. Indian skin types also deal with skin problems like acne, excess sebum accumulation and dry skin. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide shields the skin and are the most important minerals found in sunscreens sold abroad. The right percentage of these minerals in sunscreen genuinely helps shield the skin and adequately protects us against sun damage. These are the best non-comedogenic sunscreen for acne prone and oily skin.
6.How much sunscreen should be used?
This is the most important question. Some feel they can put in a few dots on the skin and go out. NO! We must take at-least a teaspoon of sunscreen to cover an average face and neck AND DO NOT forget the ears. Ears are the most sensitive part of the body. Apply the sunscreen under the eyes and the tip of the ears. Many people use at-least 1/5 or half of this amount. How many even apply that much on the face? Lack of protection causes sunburn and premature aging. An SPF of 25 means the wearer can be under the sun 25 times longer than usual sunscreens before their skin starts burning. Many products that have an SPF of 7, are good enough but what matters is whether it is too little or too late to do its job. I say, apply the sunscreen and go out after 15 minutes, because this allows your skin to absorb the product well and you’ll see the visible difference.
7.Does sunscreen protect your skin when you step out? What is the potency of this product that can protect your skin from further damage?
Many people buy sunscreen to protect their skin from harmful rays whenever they go outdoors. People buy sunscreen cream for oily skin and acne prone skin too. Yes, sunscreen gives people the luxury of stepping out without the fear of a sunburn. After careful observations, it had been discovered that back in the days, in absence of sunscreens, fairer people were at higher risk of getting a sunburn and sun tan. Sunscreen shields the skin and aids in skin protection. People usually complain that after a trip to Goa, in spite of using sunscreen, their skin is still tan. This might happen because they haven’t used enough. But how much can you apply, you ask? If you apply a lot, you look ghostly, you look white. Now it depends on what is a priority to you, looking like a zombie or protecting your skin?
8.What are the other physical blocks that you can take advantage of to protect yourself from harmful UV rays?
Sunscreen is supposed to be the first level of defense for skin. People can also wear tight clothing, tight knitted kurtis or light-colored kurtis that help to reflect sun rays. As I have mentioned earlier, these are physical blocks. Stay in shade. Stay away from the sun between 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM as the sun is too strong during that period of time. We must also practice this because of our varying skin types and polluted climate conditions.
9.Can the application of sunscreen solely protect you from the extreme sun damage of tanning, sun burns, discoloration, and skin cancer?
Sunscreen is no shield or armor. It is as simple as a car having airbags. That doesn’t mean you can drive at a speed of 170 km per hour. Both sunscreen and airbags protect you from extreme damage. Some people ask if they should apply sunscreen at home. You can if you’re comfortable. There are two schools of thought to this. I am from the latter. Sunscreen does not offer immunity from skin cancer, but has aesthetic benefits. Aging, discoloration, wrinkles, acne are all signs of sun damage. Sunscreen lotions do give protection and delay the signs of aging. There are specific sunscreens for sensitive acne prone skin. For example, my friend’s daughter is quite light-toned and is 16 years old, even after applying sunscreen her skin burns and becomes red. Hence, it depends on how much you apply and how prompt you are when it comes to using sunscreen.
10.Are humans responsible for developing skin cancer or are there other external factors that aggravate it?
Doctors and dermatologists blame the disappearance of the ozone layer, but it is responsible for only 10% of the rise in skin cancer as I would estimate. Human behavior is the only explanation that is powerful enough for the catastrophic effect. People tend to associate a tan with good looks more than they associate it with cancer. Many people think a sun-kissed and bronzed look is more attractive than pale skin. I would feel the same, but people forget that sunlight is carcinogenic. People do not think DNA is harmed by sunlight. UV rays destroy skin’s elasticity by triggering DNA mutation in skin cells. This leads to elastic fibers causing sagging and wrinkles. They also suppress the skin’s immune system. Exposing the skin to UVA radiation even for a short period of time induces sunburn and causes structural damage to the skin and DNA. Human skins are independent enough to repair skin cells by themselves but occasionally we also fail.
In a nutshell, sunscreen is a skincare product that protects your skin from harmful UV rays to its maximum potency, but there are various other factors that trigger sun damage as well. However, prevention is better than cure. Protecting your skin from further sun damage is imperative, so applying sunscreen, staying away from the sun for a few hours, and wearing specific clothes for sun protection are a few simple steps that you can incorporate to protect your skin from sunburn, premature aging, and various other side-effects. Acne prone, oily and dry skin need extra protection too. Hence, there are sunscreens for acne prone, oily skin dermatologists recommended too.
Hoping this blog was informative and has answered all of your concerns when it comes to the application and potency of sunscreens. I will be answering more of such skin-related queries, sharing my experiences, and tricks and tips whilst busting some myths as well in my future blogs.