I was having kind of a lost and confused day today and I ended up walking for an hour in the sun for no rhyme and reason. And now what have I got, pathetically tanned feet in some weird pattern resembling my footwear and ah, my face looks dark. So yes its summer time! You don’t want to keep lying in bed anymore and want to go to the beach, on road trips, in the pool but not before you check the most basic summer essential- sunscreen! Wherever you are planning heading out to just do not make the mistake of forgetting to put on enough sunscreen before you leave your house (and carrying one along in your bag) in this torturing heat. Here are 6 reasons why you should not go easy on that sunscreen bottle.
It protects our skin from harmful UV rays
While talking about sunscreens the abbreviation SPF- Sun Protection Factor is commonly used. Where both UVA and UVB rays from the sun cause damage to our skin, SPF only deals with damage caused by UVB rays. A term “broad spectrum” is usually related with UVA protection and this is what you should look for while buying a sunscreen along with a SPF. As the ozone layer in our atmosphere is depleting there are even more UV rays now penetrating to the surface of earth. The acute effects of UV rays are tanning and sunburn while the chronic effects can be pre mature aging, damage to eyes, suppression of immune system and skin cancer.
It decreases the risk of skin cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer which is caused by overexposure to sun radiations. The UVA rays penetrate deep into skin causing genetic damage to the cells while the UVB rays damage the cells after penetrating the surface, the epidermis. If the damage caused by UV rays become irreparable then the cells begin dividing leading to skin cancer. A sunscreen with atleast a SPF of 30 provides 96% protection from the rays thus reducing risk of skin cancer. Higher SPF can provide upto 99% of protection against the UV rays.
It protects skin against sunburn and tanning
The UV rays coming from the sun stimulate the melanocytes producing the melanin pigment in our skin. It is this pigment which causes our body to tan. Since a sunscreen works in blocking the UV rays from damaging our skin it can provide certain protection against sunburn and tan. One can use a sunblock for an even better protection from tanning. However you cannot completely safeguard your skin from getting dark but applying a sunscreen before stepping out in the skin and reapplying it at proper time intervals can be a huge saver.
It prevents skin discoloration and facial spots
Over exposure to sun causing sunburn can also lead to discoloration of our skin. One can develop pink or brown facial spots due to this. And of course all of us want our skin to remain spot free but also these spots can indicate something serious going on beneath your skin. Regularly using a high enough SPF sunscreen will protect your skin against these discoloration issues and will only result in making your skin look better and healthier.
It slows down the process of visible aging
Little did we know that the sun has a huge role to play in skin aging. The more we stay in sun the more wrinkles, freckles and age lines our skin develops. Sun has been scientifically proven to cause photo-aging which is known as dermatoheliosis. And regularly applying sunscreen can actually slow this aging process. The same was found out by a research from Australia which studied 903 adults to study the effect of sunscreen. Over the course of 4 years the study reported 24% increase in face lines and wrinkles on the faces of the people who did not use sunscreen regularly while the ones who did had no increased skin damage.
This picture of a 69 year old man who had one side of his face constantly exposed to sun while he was a truck driver for 28 years dramatically shows what the sun can do to our face and the aging process. The side exposed has large number of wrinkles and rough skin while the other side looks a lot younger.
While these were the reasons which should convince you to start using your sunscreen regularly there are also a few things to keep in mind while using it. Always check your sunscreen bottle for its expiry date. All the cosmetics shall be checked carefully for their expiry date and should not be continued after it. Not only a sunscreen loses its ability to provide protection over time but it can also cause infections in your skin.
Reapply the sunscreen during the day. Applying sunscreen just once before leaving the house doesn’t ensure a day long protection and it needs to be reapplied at regular intervals.
Do not think of sunscreen as a free pass to tackle the sun during the peak hours. Though a sunscreen provides protection, yet one needs to be cautious about exposing oneself to sun and avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day.
So stay protected, stay summery!