How To Choose The Right Sun Protection For You

Choosing the right sun protection should be one of the most vital parts of your skincare routine. However, most of us fail to find the right sun protection for ourselves and end up with all kind of side effects.

It’s extremely important to understand how the sun can take its toll on our skin. Knowing so gives us a fair understanding of why we need to protect our skin from it.

a woman laughing, whilst rubbing sun protection into her cheeks.

Here, we tell you how you can find out the most suitable sunscreen for your skin. Importantly, this is based on both your skin tone and skin type. Also, learn how to apply and reapply sun protection the right way in order to ensure the maximum benefits.

While the warmer days call for the highest level of sun protection, it is important to shield your skin from the harmful effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun throughout the year. Choosing the right sun protection based on the unique requirements of your skin is the very first step towards it.   

How to decide on the most suitable sunscreen?

If you scour the aisles of supermarkets and drugstores, you will never run out of options. They mostly come in glossy, attractive packaging and claim to protect your skin like magic.

But unfortunately, not everything is as easy as 1-2-3.

When it comes to picking the best sunscreen, you should start with understanding why sun protection is an absolute must for your skin by knowing about potential sun damageThis will help you find the best working products as per the tone and the type of your skin. At the same time, you will also get to know about the right method of applying and reapplying sun protection for enjoying the optimal benefits offered by it.

woman standing in front of a mirror, holding a small pot of cream and applying sun protection.

Why You Should Protect Yourself from the Sun

Well, the reasons are way deeper than you can ever think. You may be concerned about the scorching heat of the gorgeous summer sun, however, nobody should underestimate the apparently innocent winter sun. Both can turn out to be equally dangerous and here is why factoring in protection for the entire year is imperative for your skin.

Sunburn

Sunburn is the immediate danger of excessive sun exposure. Harsh UV rays from the sun can cause serious damage to the cells and blood vessels of the skin, which typically leads to redness, itchiness, flakiness, rashes, blistering, and even severe pain.

Suggested Article: Sunburnt Skin: How to Cover Sunburn with Makeup.

Photoaging

Frequent and prolonged sun exposure without a proper shield barrier can result in premature ageing. As the UV radiation alters the normal structure of the skin, it becomes drier and develops signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines and brown spots etc. It is also found that photoaged skin turns weaker and gets bruised easily.

Skin Cancer

The gravest effect of repeated sun damage is skin cancer.

Latest studies reveal that the rates of skin cancer are rising among people of all ages by staggering levels. With over 15,000 new cases of the disease discovered in 2015-2017 in the UK over 2000 of these resulted in death. Even more staggeringly, it has been found that 86% of Melanoma Skin Cancer cases are preventable.

These stats clearly show how by limiting your exposure to the sun, thus protecting your skin from its damaging rays on a daily basis, you can lower such risks significantly.

Suggested Article: How To Protect Your Skin During A Heatwave.

How to Choose Sun Protection Based On Skin Colour

When it comes to choosing the right sun protection it’s best to look at the melanin level first. Different skin tones react individually to the detrimental UV rays of the sun. So, considering the colour of your skin will help you prevent sun damage in a much more effective way.

back view of a woman with 'save our skin' written on her back with sunscreen.

Very Fair Skin

Though your skin burns easily, it rarely tans and can mostly develop freckles. A sunscreen with SPF 30 to 50+ is a must for protecting this type of pale skin.

Fair Skin

Your pale skin can burn rapidly but you may usually develop a minimal tan later. Be it summer or winter, you need to keep sunscreen with SPF 30 to 50+ to hand.

Light Skin

When you have slightly olive skin, you may experience moderate burning that eventually turns into a light tan. You should rely on sun protection that offers SPF 15 to 30.

Medium Skin

Minimal burning is common for your brownish or olive skin but it tends to develop a pretty strong tan. Be sure to protect your skin with a sunscreen having SPF 15 to 30.

Dark Skin

For a skin that is dark to light brown in colour, sunburn may be a rare incident. But as it tans readily, you must find a sunblock containing an SPF of at least 15.

Very Dark Skin

If your skin tone is dark brown to black, you practically never get sunburnt. But even after having a deeply pigmented skin naturally, you should shield it with a sunblock of at least SPF 15 daily.

Suggested Article: Sun Protection: How To Protect Your Skin During A Heatwave.

How To Choose Sun Protection Based On Skin Type?

Your SPF number confirms that you are providing the right protection to your skin against the damaging UV raysBut did you know that the form of your sun protection also matters a lot? If you do not select the right one based on the type of your skin, it may not work.

woman seated on textile applying sunscreen, during a heatwave.

Normal Skin

Normal skin looks healthy and smooth with no dry patch or trace of oil. You can go for either a cream-based sunscreen or a gel-based sunscreen, as per your choice, to keep it protected from the sun.

Dry Skin

Being both low in sebum and unable to retain moisture, dry skin often feels tight and can look parched. When looking for sun protection choose a thick cream or lotion sunscreen that has oils, silicones, lanolin, etc. in its formula. It will offer good moisturisation along with effective protection from sun damage.

Oily Skin

Oily Skin can be the most problematic type of skin. It may appear greasy and shiny whilst displaying large pores and blemishes. For sun protection, always opt for a gel or aqua-based formulation to protect your skin from the sun as it will do its work without making the skin greasier.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is prone to acne, rosacea, allergy, and a whole lot of infections. Therefore, picking an effective sunscreen for such a skin often seems to be a big challenge. Remember that anything too drying or too oily will increase your skin sensitivity and may even aggravate your skin conditions.

Also, make sure that your sun protection does not come with harsh ingredients, such as alcohol, PABA, salicylates, preservatives, fragrances, etc.

Suggested Article: How To Restore and Repair Your Skin While You Sleep.

close up of a hand held up to the sky, against the sun in the distance as though it's peering through their fingers.

How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen?

There is no foolproof sun protection that can keep you completely safe from the damaging effects of UV rays. However, if you are still stuck to that old school ‘once-a-day sunscreen’ concept, it is time to open your eyes more widely!

Start Strong

Always start strong with your sun protection by selecting a broad-spectrum sunscreen of right SPF. Doing so will shield your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, thereby keeping all potential damages (sunburn, photoaging, and skin cancer) away.

More importantly, apply a full ounce (nearly half a teaspoon) of your sun protection at least 15 minutes before stepping outside. This is so your skin gets the maximum protection in the first instance.

woman applying sun protection to her shoulder and back.

Repeat Your Sunscreen Application Twice

Even the strongest sun protection formula breaks down just within a couple of hours after application. Not only does the sunlight degenerate the product but also doing things like face wiping and, natural, sweating etc. can make it weaker over time.

So, never ever forget to reapply your sun protection at least twice a day (if not more) in required amounts. If you need to stay in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., then it is really important that make sure that you reapply your sunscreen every couple of hours during this timeframe.

Mind Your Activities

You can’t slather yourself with sunscreen in the morning and stay involved in activities like swimming, exercising, etc. for hours and expect the product to stay on your skin. It is crucial to put your sunscreen on during, and as well as, immediately afterwards. It’s important to do this in order to protect your skin from sun damage.

 

To learn more about how to protect your skin from the sun, click here to read our article on How to Reapply Sunscreen While Wearing Makeup.

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