What’s the best way of applying a sunscreen?
Apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before stepping out. Sunscreens use chemicals such as oxybenzone, homosalate and octisalate. These chemicals must be properly absorbed by your skin for them to work effectively when you step out in the sun.
Generously apply on the skin that is exposed (not covered by clothing) — face, ears, arms, and lips. Apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating, according to the instructions on the sunscreen you use.
What SPF value is good?
SPF 15 and SPF 30 gives you 93 – 97% protection. However, the key difference is not in the intensity, but the time an SPF lasts. An SPF 50 can give you around 40 minutes of sun protection before you apply again. In comparison, an SPF 15 needs to be reapplied more often, every 10-15 minutes.
Is waterproof sunscreen really waterproof?
Not really if you mean being in swimming pool for a while. Take “waterproof” sunscreens as something that won’t get washed out immediately in comparison to the non-waterproof sunscreens. However, the effectiveness of a waterproof sunscreen too is compromised after you are in water for 15-20 minutes or more.
Do sunscreens cause Vitamin D deficiency?
Unlike a sunblock that forms a layer on your skin to reflect away the sunrays; sunscreens tend to absorb UV rays to neutralise the harmful effects. Also, vitamin D rich diet is also a key in ensuring the right amounts of D in your body.
What about the chemicals used in sunscreen?
The evidence available suggests that sunscreen is generally safe. But, things are not crystal clear regarding the long-term effects of using sunscreen. At times, concerns have been expressed regarding the toxicity of products that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles. However, not absolute clarity here.
Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) based sunscreens and products containing benzophenones may cause irritation on the skin, and also pimples or rashes in some cases. Chemicals such as octinoxate and oxybenzone have been found to have estrogenic (female hormone-inducing) effects in cell and animal studies. Its connotations for humans isn’t too clear.
Usually, dermatologists suggest that the uncertain, unknown risks are less clear than the known risks of sunburn and skin cancer. Consult your dermatologist for any such concerns.
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