The single most important and indispensable thing in your skincare routine for summers is the sunscreen. From creams to lotions, gels, sprays, and sticks, sunscreens are available in different formats for different skin types. They also contain different ingredients that offer varying levels of protection from the damaging sun rays. However, understanding these products can be a little tricky, and when you don’t get them right, you run the risk of being protected inadequately. Even worse – you end up battling a completely different set of skin woes. We save you the trouble with these frequently asked questions about sun protection products.
Q. Are sunscreens and sunblocks the same?
A. Sunscreens and sunblocks are designed to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but they do it in different ways. Sunscreens absorb UV radiation, minimising the amount that reaches your skin. Sunblocks, on the other hand, work as physical barriers. They contain ingredients such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxide that block the sunrays from penetrating into your skin. Sunscreens are lighter than sunblocks and are usually invisible when applied. Sunblocks are thicker and leave a whitish cast when used.
Q. Do I need to apply the sunscreen before or after my moisturiser?
A. For efficacy, dermatologists recommend that you apply the sunscreen after your moisturiser. Using sunscreens before moisturisers, they claim, can alter the properties of the former and bring down its effectiveness greatly. However, make sure that the moisturiser has dried completely before you apply your sun protection cream, gel, lotion, or spray. You can also choose a multitasker, such as a moisturiser that offers sun protection, but make sure that it has SPF 30 or more.
Q. SPF, PA….Are they the same?
A. No, these aren’t fancy terms put in there to throw you off track, but details that can help you choose the right sunscreen for your needs. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates the measure of protection that a sunscreen product offers against UVB rays, which are known to cause redness and sunburn. The higher the SPF, the longer it will take for your skin to burn upon exposure. PA, on the other hand, indicates the protection grade of a product against UVA rays. It is usually accompanied by one or more ‘+’ es. The more the number, the better the protection. Keen to know more about these terms? We’ve de-mystified them here.
Q. I use the same sunscreen on my face and body. Isn’t that fine?
A. Well, not really! The skin on your face is more delicate, sensitive, and prone to breakout as compared to that on your body. So, sunscreens for the face are designed to be lighter and easy to absorb. They sit well under makeup and do not leave a white film. They may also be non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) and include more antioxidants or plant-based ingredients that are beneficial to the skin. Those for the body generally tend to be thicker and less invisible, which makes them a poor choice for the face. However, most body sunscreens are waterproof and sweatproof, which makes them ideal for anything from a dip in the pool to an extended beach vacay. And yes! Body sunscreens come in bigger bottles as opposed to facial sunscreens that come in small tubes, because you simply need to protect a larger surface area!
Got more questions on sun protection? Browse through our blog on the right sunscreen for your skin type, sun protection in different seasons, must-haves for summer, application tips, and so on. You could also write to us with your queries to email@example.com.