Sunscreen: A detailed guide on using it for Sun Protection

Sunscreen: A detailed guide on using it for Sun Protection

  • By Anindita Biswas

If you are someone who still uses sunscreen only when you have to step outside of your home or ask this very question ‘Is it good to put sunscreen on every day?’, this article is for you.

The summer is upon us in full swing and the sun is shining brighter than ever. All this calls for us to discuss the skincare essentials for the season. One of the most essential checklists to deal with the tanning and unwanted sun damage from the summer heat is none other than Sunscreen! And that’s what we at Foxtale are going to discuss here.

Get ready for this summer’22 and learn everything there is to know about your best sunny buddy, Sunscreen!

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is used topically to protect against sun-damaged caused by UV rays. It is a product available in the form of lotions, creams and gel. The sunscreen is made of ingredients that can absorb the UV rays or reflect them away from your skin. There are two types of sunscreen- physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreens. Using sunscreen will protect the skin and help you look younger and healthier.

Not just this, but sunscreen has immense benefits that we’ll discuss later on. It comes with varying levels of SPF which give protection against the different intensities of the sun rays. It is important to use sunscreen periodically throughout the day to get maximum effectiveness from it.

What is SPF?

SPF means Sun Protection Factor. It is a unit of measurement of the protection you get from the sun’s UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the better the protection you get. The SPF 15 gives about 93% protection from the sun while SPF 50 can give up to 98% protection from the sun rays. It is recommended to choose sunscreens with SPF 30-50 or higher.

Do note that no sunscreen can provide a hundred per cent protection from the sun’s rays. For complete protection, you need a lot more than sunscreen, keep on reading to know about it.

SPF is the measure of the amount of solar energy that can burn the protected skin. The SPF wears out approximately after every 3-4 hours at most and hence one must reapply the sunscreen accordingly. The amount of sun exposure varies at different times of the day. Usually, the sun exposure is the highest around midday. Thus, a high SPF sunscreen is the safest choice during this time of the day.

What does Broad Spectrum mean?

Different types of sun rays reach the earth and among these, UVA and UVB are the primary causes of skin damage. While the former causes skin aging, the latter leads to sunburns. When you buy a broad-spectrum sunscreen, it gives you protection against both types of sun exposure. It is elemental to choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection so that your skin experiences optimum protection from all types of sun damage.

Broad-spectrum sunscreen is designed to ensure absolute protection. Sunscreen which provides broad-spectrum protection comes with PA or Protection Grade which is specifically meant for UVA Protection. PA+ to PA++++ indicate the different levels of protection you get from sunscreen.

Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen is especially necessary for equatorial regions or wherever the sunlight exposure is the highest. Moreover, it has been witnessed that fair-skinned people are more vulnerable to sun damage which calls for high-quality broad-spectrum sunscreen usage.

What are the different types of Sunscreen?

Unarguably, sunscreen is a quintessential product when it comes to skincare. We all love to be out in the sun, but the harmful UV rays can be damaging to our skin. That is when sunscreen comes to the rescue, as it shields our skin against tanning, pigmentation, and premature aging. In particular, there are two types of sunscreens available in the market namely, mineral and chemical sunscreen.

What is mineral sunscreen?

The mineral or otherwise known as physical sunscreens settles on the skin's topmost layer and blocks the UV rays directly at the surface. They work by making the sun’s rays bounce back in the air. They contain ingredients such as titanium and zinc oxide to facilitate the same. Since most physical sunscreens leave a white cast, they might not flatter deeper/dusky skin tones.

Usually, mineral sunscreens have a thicker texture and accentuate the parts of the skin wherever it is applied or reapplied. It has also been noticed that their effectiveness in combating UVA rays is comparatively lesser than other types of sunscreen. Above all, the mineral sunscreens might not suit the oily and acne-prone complexions due to the creamy finish.

What is chemical sunscreen?

The chemical sunscreens are made with ingredients such as avobenzone, octocrylene, oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate, or homosalate. These ingredients aid the sunscreen to work as a sponge and absorb the sun rays. They then convert the UV rays into heat and give it out from the body so they don’t harm our skin.

Notably, the texture and consistency of the chemical sunscreens are clear and lightweight, which makes them suitable for all skin types. Besides, they offer superior protection against UVA and UVB rays and do not require reapplication in shorter intervals.

What is the difference between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreen?

There are a few factors that differentiate mineral and chemical sunscreen. They are listed below:

Protection Tactic: The mineral sunscreen works as a reflector, thus forming a shield or a layer on the skin. On the contrary, a chemical sunscreen effectively absorbs the UV rays, converting them into heat and releasing it from the body.

Consistency: There is a considerable variation between the consistencies of mineral and chemical sunscreens. The former has a creamy thick texture, whereas the latter has a gel-like clear consistency that feels airy-light on the skin.

Suitability: The mineral sunscreens tend to leave a white cast on the complexion due to their denser texture. Hence, they might not blend properly with the skin or they are difficult to reapply. Conversely, the chemical sunscreens are non-sticky and lightweight, making them ideal for daily use. If you have acne-prone, sensitive, or oily skin, the chemicals sunscreens will work well as they do not clog pores.

If you’re looking to incorporate chemical sunscreen into your routine, check out Foxtale’s Cover-Up Sunscreen. It has an SPF of 50+, is a broad spectrum, and PA++++ which makes it suitable for everyday wear. It applies beautifully to the skin and gets absorbed in a few moments, leaving a dewy finish. It’s a boon for dry skin beauties!

What are the benefits of using Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is one of the most basic and important skincare products that one should use daily. It performs the primary function of protecting our skin from the unwanted harm of UV rays and also prevents many skin problems caused due to the sun.

This beauty trick is known to many but still, many people don't think of applying an SPF before leaving home, let alone at home. Due to this lack of awareness skin problems like inflammation, dryness, wrinkles and even skin cancer are increasing in number. Let’s take a look at what sunscreen does for your skin other than protecting it from the sun when you apply it consistently.

1 Young and wrinkle-free skin

Applying sunscreen regularly reduces the appearance of wrinkles and delays the process of skin aging. Exposing your skin to UV rays increases the risk of premature aging skin showing fine lines and wrinkles. The UV rays from the sun decrease the level of Collagen in our skin and leave it dry and inelastic. By applying sunscreen regularly, you can prevent these from happening easily.

2 Decreases the risk of skin cancer

Research shows that using sunscreen can significantly decrease the risk of growing cell carcinoma. Chances of getting this deadly Skin cancer increase with too much exposure to the sun. If your skin absorbs the harmful UV rays regularly, it directly harms your skin cells. Although our body can repair some of the DNA, not all the cells can be repaired. These damaged cells can trigger rapid cell mutation, ultimately resulting in this disease.

3 Treats hyperpigmentation

If you’ve been dealing with hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, and nothing seems to work for you, it’s time you start incorporating sunscreen into your everyday skincare regime. Hyperpigmentation may be hereditary but it is mostly the result of excessive sun exposure. When you apply sunscreen over treatment products such as AHA’s, Vitamin C serums or retinol, they work faster and better in treating hyperpigmentation.

One of the deadliest (the best!!) combinations to deal with stubborn marks and hyperpigmentation is Vitamin C + Sunscreen. Both of them separately benefit your skin greatly but when combined, they can give you an even-toned and brightened skin like no other. Get your hands on our Get Your Glow Combo to ace that glow from within look.

4 Reduces skin inflammation

When you spend too much time in the sun, you’ll experience two things- sweat, redness and inflamed skin. What exactly happens here is when UV rays come in direct contact with your skin, it causes damage and your blood tissues rush to the area to repair it. To avoid this from happening, protection is necessary and only sunscreen can provide that.

What are the side effects of not wearing Sunscreen?

Skipping sunscreen has some dire effects on our skin. As the effect of UV rays are increasing with time due to the deflecting ozone layer, sunscreen has become a non-avoidable skin product in our life. If you have found a suitable sunscreen for your skin then there is no more excuse to not use it. Just start using your sunblock to avoid these side effects on your skin.

1 Sunburns 

Too much exposure to the sun can cause some pretty nasty sunburns. Also, some sunburns are so bad that your skin tanning goes a bit far with blistering and skin irritation. To avoid such a situation, use a high SPF sunscreen that will protect your skin from any inflammation or burns becoming a protective layer.

2 Telangiectasias

This term may sound new but the simple meaning of Telangiectasias is broken vessel. Telangiectasias is a skin condition that includes problems like rosacea, genetics, aging, etc. This skin condition occurs mainly due to exposure to the UV ray of the sun.

How to use a Sunscreen?

There has always been a debate on how one uses sunscreen properly. Using sunscreen is not rocket science, yet there is a lot of confusion. But once you know how much sunscreen to apply, it becomes a piece of cake. So the general rule of thumb says that you should use half a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face and neck.

Now, you cannot measure this quantity every time you have to use sunscreen, right? To make your life easier, experts recommend using the two/three-finger rule. In this, you just have to cover two or three of your fingers with sunscreen, dot it over your face and gently massage it. This makes sure your face, as well as your neck, is covered and well-protected.

Make sure to apply sunscreen 20-30 mins before heading out of your house. This should be the last step of your skincare routine and your makeup should be applied over it.

Who should wear Sunscreen?

By now, we all have understood the importance of wearing sunscreen and the side effects of not wearing sunscreen. But the question is, who should wear it? So, anyone who is under the sun or has direct contact with sunlight must wear sunscreen. This makes it pretty obvious for anyone outdoors to wear sunscreen and also for someone who stays indoors and has a window nearby from where direct sunlight hits you.

How often should I reapply Sunscreen & how?

When you are in the sun for a long time, it is essential to reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours. This makes sure you are well-protected from the harmful rays of the sun. Sunscreens fight the UV rays constantly and this makes them break down over time which is why reapplying them is important. If you don’t have any makeup on, reapplying with a good, easily blendable sunscreen is a piece of cake. However, if you have your full-glam makeup on, it is a little difficult to reapply sunscreen. So, what can you do?

One of the easiest ways to reapply sunscreen over makeup is by using spray sunscreen all over. This way neither your makeup gets disturbed, nor is any inconvenience caused. But if you don’t have spray sunscreen, just take some of your lotion-based sunscreen (much more than you usually do) and apply it with your beauty/makeup sponge.

Busting Myths about Sunscreen

Myth 1: People with darker skin tones don’t need to wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the single most important product in your skincare routine; it is a game-changer for everybody, no matter your skin tone. However, people still believe that sunscreen is only for fair skin and not dark skin. They believe that dark skin has melanin that is enough to protect someone from the UV rays which is a myth.

Fact: The fact is that although melanin does provide natural protection to some extent, it is not sufficient to prevent the damage and you might still have sunburns. Moreover, UVA rays which are the major cause of wrinkles and premature aging, cannot be blocked by melanin.

Myth 2: You only need to wear SPF when you are outside

One of the myths that disturb us the most is that people believe it is not necessary to wear sunscreen when at home. Since they are not under the sun, they don't need to protect themselves from its rays.

Fact: The truth is, if you stay at a home where you have windows or open gates, from where the sun’s rays enter inside, you need to wear your sunscreen. UVA and UVB rays can easily penetrate glass windows and you do need to wear sunscreen. If you stay in a room for hours from where no sunlight enters, you can choose to avoid it.

Myth 3: I don’t need Sunscreen because my makeup contains SPF.

In order to get enough protection from the sun, experts and dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when indoors and SPF 50+ when outdoors. It has been observed that most makeup products offer up to an SPF of 15 only. Yet, people believe that makeup with SPF is enough for wide protection.

Fact: You need at least half a teaspoon worth of sunscreen in one application to completely cover your face and neck and protect it from the UV rays. Even if your makeup has SPF 50, this is not the quantity that you use while applying it. We use makeup in small amounts but SPF has to be applied in much more amounts to ensure maximum protection.

Myth 4: Sunscreen should be applied only once a day.

Fact: Your moisturizer might last for 6 hours, but your sunscreen only lasts for a couple of hours if you’re outdoors. Hence, reapplication becomes necessary to maintain your skin’s health. Reapplying your sunscreen every 2-3 hours is a good idea as sunscreen breaks down in sunlight and loses its effectiveness, leaving you prone to all the side effects of not wearing it.

Myth 5: Sunscreen provides 100% protection against UV rays.

People believe that wearing sunscreen is enough to protect themselves completely from the UV rays. They believe that it gives them 100% protection against the rays. Even our atmosphere (the ozone layer, known as the Earth’s shield) is unable to protect us from the UV rays completely. How could one think about sunscreen giving us 100% protection from the UV rays?

Fact: No amount of sunscreen can shield us completely; sun protection is a lot more than just wearing sunscreen. Whenever you step outside, make sure to apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before, wear a hat, a scarf, long sleeves clothing, or hand gloves, and your shades to be on the safer side.

Hopefully, by now, we’ve made you realize how important sunscreen is in your skincare routine. Now every time you head out, don’t forget to carry it with you so that you can enjoy being in the sun at the beach and not worry about its harmful effects. Remember, when you Cover-Up, you #SayHiToHappySkin!

Back to Blogs
Shop the Story