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    • Sunscreen: Its Importance and Use

      Sunscreen: Its Importance and Use

      by MedPlus Team, May 6, 2014

      In the summer season, people get tanned when they stay outside for a long time. To avoid tanning or any other skin-related diseases we use sunscreen. Everybody knows the benefits of applying sunscreen. It helps us from sunburn and skin damage in the summer season. But, is it only helpful in the summer season, or should we use it all year? In all seasons we can use sunscreen year-round irrespective of the season and climate. Everyone can apply whatever skin color or tone they have. It is prominently used since the ancient Egypt period. During that period, people use rice bran extract and jasmine to shield their skin from the sun. The first commercial sunscreen was invented in the year 1936. Now we are using modern sunscreen which is water-resistant, and are included in many cosmetics and beauty products, such as foundations, serums, primers, and creams.

      Why Should We Always Apply Sunscreen?

      Wearing sunscreen in the summer season is okay. Is it necessary to wear it even on cloudy days? Yes, it is useful. Up to 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through the clouds. So, you may assume that it is OK to forgo protection on an overcast day. But think again, before concluding. It is an important preventive health care habit that should be maintained all year, even on winter days. Snow can reflect up to 80% of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which increases your risk of exposure to sun damage. At the same time, the higher the altitude, the greater the UV exposure. So, for people who are planning a family ski vacation, it is a must. If you ever have any doubts about whether to apply it or not, apply it without any doubt. Let us the importance of sunscreen.

      Importance of Sunscreen

      In general, using sunscreen protects our skin from the sun. The sun emits natural energy in the form of ultraviolet (UV) rays. These UV rays damage our skin when they directly touch us. These UV rays are of two types and both types cause different types of damage to our skin.

      • Ultraviolet A (UVA): These rays are associated with premature aging of the skin
      • Ultraviolet B (UVB): These causes sunburns

      Melanin is a pigment that is present on the outer layer of the skin. Melanin protects the skin from the sun’s rays. But the melanin can’t able to protect the skin from too much exposure to UV rays. Too much exposure makes these cells dark and makes them shed. Sunscreen acts as a shield to the skin and protects the skin from damage. This damage can be in different forms such as:

      • Intense or frequent sunburns
      • Premature aging of the skin that causes wrinkles
      • Popped blood vessels in the skin
      • Skin cancer

      Spending more time in the skin, regardless of your skin type keeps you at a higher risk for sun damage. When choosing a sunscreen search for the words like “broad spectrum” and “SPF”. Prefer choosing a sunscreen with SPF higher than 15. It means the sunscreen will protect our skin against both UVA and UVB sun rays.

      Sunscreen Uses

      Sunscreen protects our skin from sunburns, wrinkles, leathery skin, and skin cancer. They also help to reduce the impact of sunburn-like skin reactions such as sun sensitivity. It also decreases the impact of some medications like tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, and phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine.

      The active ingredients in sunscreen work either by absorbing the UV rays or preventing them from reaching the deeper layers of the skin. The ingredients reflect the radiation caused by the sun.

      It is not like, “I applied the sunscreen so I can stay in the sun as long as I want.” It cannot protect against all of the sun’s radiation. Many types of sunscreen are available in many forms. The various forms are cream, lotion, gel, stick, spray, and lip balm.

      How To Use Sunscreen Gel?

      Sunscreen is used for skin only. Follow all the directions that are mentioned on the package. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any other questions. Apply it generously on the skin 30 minutes before you go out. As with other quality skin care products, sunscreen to it is vital to how you use it. For a single face application, the size of your fingertip is ideal. But there’s no such thing as too much sunscreen! It should be applied to dry skin for at least 20 minutes before venturing out. Dermatologists recommend the liberal application of sunscreen over all areas of skin that will be exposed to sunlight – your ears, neck, and shoulders. Reapply every 2 hours particularly if you are out in the sun for long periods.

      Men who avoid sunscreen are equally vulnerable just like women and risk getting sun damage, which may result in redness and irritation. Alongside maintaining a good skincare routine, men must use sunscreen that contains SPF of 30 or higher. While best skin habits such as using a gentle cleanser to hydrate, using quality shaving products to avoid skin drying, and daily moisturizing will make the skin attractive, the use of sunscreen will ensure a shield against harmful sun rays.

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