If there’s one thing curious millennial women have discovered about skincare technology and practices, it’s the sheer importance of sunscreen in their daily routines.
No matter the skin colour or tone, sunscreen is a vital final step in a thorough and effective skincare routine.
After all, it not only protects your precious skin from UV rays, but also prevents premature ageing of the skin and lowers the chances of getting skin cancer.
Dated back to Ancient Egypt, rice bran extract and jasmine were the primary ingredients used as a preventive measure against the sun.
It was only in 1936 wherein chemists successfully invented the first commercial sunscreen, and the technology has improved ever since.
Now, modern skincare is water-resistant and included in several cosmetics and beauty products, including foundations and BB creams.
But with the numerous options to choose from, how do you get to find one that suits you the best? Here’s a guide to help you brush up on your sunscreen basics.
1. Broad spectrum
One of the primary functions of a sunscreen is to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays that are detrimental to its health.
It is thus crucial that your sunscreen offer broad spectrum protection that gives you the necessary defence from both UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays.
Both ultraviolet rays damage the skin in different ways. UVA rays go deep into the skin than their counterpart, and is the main trigger for sagging skin, wrinkles and other signs of ageing.
In comparison, UVB rays harm the epidermis, causing redness and eventually, sunburn.
Unfortunately, both ultraviolet rays are can trigger genetic mutation in cells and trigger skin cancer.
Individuals with higher levels of melanin have a lower risk of getting skin cancer as melanin absorbs and redistributes the light energy from UV rays. It also shields our genetic material stored in the nuclei, thus significantly reducing the risk of any genetic mutation.
That said, individuals with darker complexions are still not free from the possibility of skin cancer, and skin ageing.
Especially in a country situated right smack on the equator, UV levels are significantly higher. So remember to always lather your skin before you ever bask yourself in sunshine!
2. Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures the duration in which one can stay under the sun before they get sunburnt.
On average, it takes 20 minutes for the skin to redden if the individual has no sunscreen protection. In the case where that same person had SPF 15 on, they’d be able to be under the sun 15 times longer without getting sunburnt.
That said, there are a few things to note when choosing your SPF.
Firstly, these numbers are decided in the lab where all variables are controlled. In the actual world, not only are there so many variables to take into consideration, but sunscreens also tend to lose their effectiveness with time.
Thus, it’s crucial to reapply after intense exercise and once every 2 hours.
Whilst there are numbers can reach all the way to SPF 100, the sun protection of anything above SPF 50 is, in fact, negligible. It’s recommended to use SPF 15 for daily use and SPF 30 for prolonged sun exposure.
As the term suggests, ‘water-resistant’ merely refers to a sunscreen’s effectiveness once you’ve swum or sweat.
4. The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation
As with any skin products, you will want to look out for sunscreen products that are not just effective, but also safe and regulated.
Keep a lookout for sunscreens with the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation as such products are reviewed and recommended by renowned photobiologists.
The Daily Use Seal is given to sunscreen products that can protect the skin against brief sun exposure.
The Active Seal, on the other hand, is given to products that can protect the skin against intense sun exposure for a longer duration.
5. Active ingredients
To get the optimal results from skincare products, reading the active ingredients list is key. Similarly, the same goes for sunscreen products. There are 2 types of active ingredients you’d want to look out for: physical and chemical.
Physical ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, stay on the epidermis to deflect UV rays.
Chemical ingredients such as benzophenone and avobenzone, work to absorb the UV rays, thus reducing its perforation into the skin.
However, do take note that certain chemical UV filters are not great for the environment. UV filters such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate and octisalate are, unfortunately, highly toxic and can cause severe damage to the coral reefs.
Even if you’re not necessarily taking a direct dip into the sea, these ingredients will still end up in the sea once you’ve washed it away.
Non-nano mineral SPF sunscreens, in comparison, have great skin benefits and have less likelihood of damage coral reefs. However, they do have a drawback: they create a white cast on the skin, which specifically excludes individuals with darker skin tones, unlike chemical sunscreens.
There’s a lot of things you’d want to consider when choosing the right sunscreen that fits not just your lifestyle, but also your skin complexion, tone and even down to your beliefs.
Be aware that whilst sunscreen if your first line of defence from harmful sun exposure, it is still not the end all be all. A combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen is your best bet when it comes to fighting those pesky UV rays.
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In view of COVID19, however, our physical operations will have a few changes so as to abide by the strict regulations imposed by the Singapore government.
We will require all clients to book an appointment with us via our call centre before coming down to any of our outlets. This will allow us to better manage the number of clients coming in and out, thus safeguarding your health and the health of our staff.
Whilst we hope to assist you in attaining that silky smooth skin you’ve always desired, we are determined to do it in a safe manner. After all, the fight has yet to end, so let’s stay vigilant!