Shielding from the summer sun

Protecting your skin from scorching rays with the right sunscreen

It is not even the hottest month of the year, yet the heat is burning the skin already. While our lifestyle today is mostly air-conditioned, the absence of heat does not mean our skin is safe from all those harsh UV rays.

All you have to do to prove that statement is turn the air-conditioner off while driving and feel the actual heat from the sun - that's what the skin is going through without us knowing or feeling it.

This is why everyone needs to wear sunscreen, it protects from burning and premature ageing. There are many sunscreen products in the market, and we are often lured into thinking that we need the one with the highest SPF value. However, SPF only indicates the length of time that the sunscreen can protect your skin from UVB rays. Yep, read that again, length, not strength.

A higher SPF value means your skin is safe for longer, but UVB rays are mostly damaging to the skin from 10am to 2pm (give or take a few hours, depending on the weather condition), so in general nobody needs anything higher than SPF 30.

For protecting the skin from UVA rays, look at the PA factor. Ideally, you should look for PA+++ to make sure the skin does not darken or mature too much from the effect of UVA rays. An easy way to remember this is that A is for ageing and B is for burning.

Many make-up products claim to have added SPF protection, such as foundations and powders. This does not mean actual sunscreen can be tossed out the window. Make-up products with added SPF protection may contain ingredients that help protect the skin from UVB rays, but think about how long the powder actually stays on your face.

With sweating, wind, rubbing and normal activities, the powder you put on in the morning is usually no longer there by lunchtime. Make-up with SPF should be used in addition to sunscreen, not instead of.

Also, don't miscalculate the SPF value. If you use a sunscreen with SPF 15 and a powder with SPF 15, do not think your skin is protected with SPF 30. They don't add up that way. You still only get SPF 15.

Apart from choosing the right sunscreen, make sure you put it on the right way. Although some sunscreens can feel oily, that is not a reason for skimping on it. It is recommended that you use a teaspoonful for your face. If the oiliness feels too much to handle, opt for non-oily products. Make sure your whole face is covered. The most neglected areas are the temples and the areas above both ears. If you are outdoors for a long time, reapply every two hours.

At the end of the day, don't forget to properly cleanse off the residue from the sunscreen. Some products might contain irritating ingredients, such as perfume, which can clog the pores and cause breakouts.

You probably don't have to go as far as buying products specifically for removing sunscreen - most facial washes do the trick, but you might need to take a bit longer to properly massage it out.

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY EUCERIN AND LA ROCHE-POSAY


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About the author

columnist
Writer: Napamon Roongwitoo
Position: Life Writer