Are You Actually Applying Enough Sunscreen?
In an article1 published on 23 February 2018 by Straits Times, Singapore was exposed to “extreme” UV levels. This extreme UV level was also recorded the week before, and on 8 Sept and 17 Sept 2017.
While experts say these isolated incidents are not a major cause for concern, precautions should be taken when staying out in the sun, especially between 10am and 3pm, when sun intensity peaks and UV radiation is strongest.
According to NEA data, Singapore experiences high levels of UV radiation all year round, thanks to our proximity to the equator, which puts the sun directly overhead for most of the year.
Most often than not, people tend to disregard sunscreen from their skincare regime. Considering the facts mentioned above, this isn’t particularly ideal. Sunscreens have a bad reputation for being overly greasy and sticky on the skin, but trust us, your skin will thank you for it in the future.
What are sunscreens used for?
Excessive exposure to UV radiation cause sunburn, premature ageing (wrinkles, fine lines), pigmentation (freckles, brown spots, etc), hypersensitivity and skin cancer. Although our skin has its own natural defences, it is not enough to prevent the damage caused by UV rays.
In fact, the so-called “healthy, bronzed tan” is actually a response to sun damage. Skin becomes darker and the epidermis becomes thicker, all in in effort to provide a better barrier against the sun’s rays. Additional protection is essential to protect and prevent damage of the deeper layers of the skin.
How do they work – mineral sunscreen vs chemical sunscreen
Chemical sunscreen absorbs UV rays, ensuring that the ultraviolet light only reaches the superficial layers of the skin. Common active ingredients in chemical sunscreen include:
- Drometrizole trisiloxane ProtecCont
- Butylmethodtydibenzyol methane
Physical (mineral) sunscreens form a layer on the skin to reflect and scatter ultraviolet light, prevent UV radiation from penetration into the skin. Common active ingredients in mineral sunscreen include:
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium oxide
What does SPF mean?
SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”, and it is an index to indicate the degree of protection from sunburning that can be expected from the product. The higher the SPF, the longer the duration of protection.
How to protect your skin?
Sensitivity of the skin is different on one part of the body to another. For example, the areas that burn more easily are the nose, lips, face, ears and shoulders.
Intensity of the sun also varies with the time of day and location. However, it is best to combine the use of a sunscreen with primary protection such as:
- Avoiding the sun when it is the most intense (between 10am to 3pm)
- Wearing protective clothing under the hot sun (hats, etc) or use umbrellas
Cotton fabrics or tightly woven fabric provide better protection from sunlight than loose weaved fabrics.
If you’re are the beach, keep in mind that sun rays can reflect off the sand and cause a burn even if you are sheltered under a shade.
- Ensure skin is dry before applying sunscreen
- Apply sunscreen 10 minutes before exposure
- Apply sunscreen generously and evenly over exposed areas of the whole body
- Wait for the sunscreen to be absorbed before putting on clothes and/or makeup
- Reapply sunscreen after every swim or after perspiration (make sure skin is dry first)
- Use sunscreen even on cloudy or overcast days
Are you applying enough sunscreen?
Most people do not apply enough sunscreen for the SPF to work adequately! It takes approximately 9 tablespoons of sunscreen to properly protect skin from head to toe2.
The picture below shows you how many tablespoons of sunscreen it takes to properly protect skin from UV rays.
Dermatologist-recommended sun screens
Eau Thermale Avene Mineral Sunscreen SPF50+
This broad spectrum UVA/UVB physical sunscreen is ideal for daily use, or in-sun activities.
It is free from fragrance, parabens and chemicals, making it suitable and recommended for sensitive to hypersensitive skin and skin intolerant to chemical filters.
It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes and is enriched with Avene Thermal Spring Water to provide soothing benefits for sensitive skin.
Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Sunscreen SPF 50+
This mattifying sunscreen offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection for oily, acne-prone skin.
It is water resistant and alcohol-free, and is enriched with Monolaurin, which helps regulate the hyper-production of sebum.
Placentor Vegetal Suncream SPF 50+
Containing both mineral and chemical filters, this fragrance-free, broad spectrum UVA/UVB suncream proectecs skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
It contains plant glycerine and shea butter for moisture and helps restore essential lipids in the skin, making it suitable for those with drier skin types.
It also contains antioxidant vitamin E. It also comes in a tinted version which adapts to all skin tones for a natural finish.
Applying sunscreen as a daily habit for life
A good skin care regime should always include a lightweight, daily-use sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type. Practising the habit of applying sunscreen daily may require some additional effort, but your skin will thank you for it in the long run. Say yes to healthy, radiant and pigmentation-free skin today!