Glorious Sunshine Here; Is Your Skin Prepared to Face the Sun? - Tips for Using Sunscreen Properly

By Lisa Franchi on May 25, 2012

Over the weekend, we had the hottest temperature at 28C – higher than parts of Australia, South America, Africa, and even the Middle East! And just like every summer, people are rushing to the beaches, grilling barbecues, and sunbathing in parks. While the warm weather brings many of us fun and happiness, the scorching heat does have a downside too particularly on your skin. So if you’re headed to some of these activities, don’t forget to keep your skin protected.                                                                                                                                                                 

For most people, going out to the sun would mean bringing sunscreen and all those anti-UV creams. But are they really effective and at the same time safe?

Are Sunscreens Safe?

Sunscreens are a good way of preventing sunburn if used correctly. But for the past years, several studies have shown that sunscreen may have negative effects on the skin too. For instance, in the study by the Missouri University, it was revealed that a compound called zinc oxide which is contained in sun creams – undergo a chemical reaction that results to skin damage when exposed to sunlight. The researchers suggest that it may increase the risk of skin cancer.

Despite these concerns, experts still believe that using sunscreen is a safe and effective way to protect the skin from UV exposure. But, it is necessary that you know how to properly use it to get the results you desire while lowering the risk of possible side effects.

How to Apply Sunscreens Properly

Studies show that many people put on much less sunscreen than they would. Also, they tend to use it as an excuse to stay out in the sun for a much longer time and avoid covering up with clothes or spending time in the shade. Because of the incorrect application of sunscreens, a lot of people end up getting harmed by UV instead of being protected from it. So how do you use it properly?

-          Use it with clothing. Sunscreen shouldn’t be used as an excuse for staying out in the sun and severely exposing your skin to the scorching sunlight.

-          Don’t apply it on wet skin.

-          Apply sunscreen as often as needed as it can get easily washed by sweat and water, or when rubbed against the clothes.

-          Keep your sunscreen in a cool dry place as heat can destroy the chemical compounds which are needed to protect your skin from UV.

Guidelines when Buying Sunscreen Products

There are numerous sunscreen products available today which makes it more confusing for buyers. But when you know what to do, you will be able to find the best product:

-         Check if the product hasn’t gone past its expiry date. Usually, sunscreens have a shelf life of 2 or 3 years.

-          Choose the sunscreen product which has an SPF of at least 15.

-     Look for brands that can actually block out UVA rays as well as UVB. You can do this by checking the number of stars the brand has. Basically, UVA protection is measured using the ’star’ system (from 0 to 5 stars), that also considers the UBV level. For instance, an SPF 25 with 3 stars may screen out more UVA overall than an SPF 10 with 4 stars.

Spray-On Sunscreens vs. Lotions – which is better?

Both of them are great choices. But you need to consider some important things when deciding whether to use spray-on sunscreen or lotion. First, check if you have a normal skin. Most spray-on sunscreens are alcohol-based and contain some chemicals which can cause irritation. If you have a sensitive skin, you would want to try cream-based sunscreen instead. Spray-on sunscreen, when applied, may feel a little sticky on your skin. You should also be extra diligent in the application of a spray-on as you may be spraying more on people around you than on your skin.

Now, you can enjoy more of the sun without having to worry too much about having sunburn!

 

Source of this article:

http://www.sunsmart.org.uk

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