Importance Of Sunblock and How To Choose

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Importance Of Sunblock & How To Choose Your Sunblock

Sunblock or also known as sunscreen that is a topical product that blocks or reflects ultraviolet rays that causes sun burns and dark pigments. Sunblocks blocks vs. Sunscreen that absorbs UV rays. Although both terms are used interchangeably. Medically speaking, the use of sunblock can prevent skin cancer. Even during the ancient times, Greeks and and Egyptians uses herbal plants for sun screens. It was just around 1930's when the first major commercial product was invented by a French Chemist. 

I knew that I should wear sunblock everyday and I mean every day however I made a mistake of assuming that the sunblock included in every BB Cream and foundation that I use everyday for work is enough. Recently, I was given the opportunity to have a free facial from Bioessence and they checked my skin. Sadly there are so many black pigments caused by UV rays on my skin. Under ultra-violet light, my face looks a connect the dots pattern. That is why I decided to share to you this tip on the importance of sunscreens and its different varieties.

To enlighten you for the importance before I proceed, watch this video first posted by Mr. Thomas Leveritt in Youtube. Its title is "How The Sun Sees You".

Watching the video gave me goosebumps. How about you? We may feel that we do not need it but it is for our future. Think of putting a sunblock on yourself is like an investment. 

There are a lot of sunscreens in market and it is hard to find the perfect one that suits your needs and comfort. Some feel that sunblock is heavy and warm, some says it stings the eyes when sweating and there are so much more negative comments about wearing one. This is the time that you need to experiment on what you need. These are just some factors that you need to consider: First you need to decide what do you feel most comfortable with. Second, the time you spent outdoors than indoors. Third, what outdoor activities do you usually do. Fourth, are you patient or not in applying and re-applying sunblocks. Why should we consider these things? Its because there are a LOT of sunscreen available in the market.

For a brief review, let me give you an idea so you will know what to choose for future purchases of sunscreens.

Sunscreen or sunblock are products that prevent UV rays in reaching our skin. Babies 6 months and below should not be exposed to the heat of the sun specially at noon. As early as 6 months old, you can now use sunscreens (there are sunscreen available designed for babies) to baby but the most vital age to start using it at least at the age of 20 years old. 

Two Types of UV radiation:
1. UVA - penetrates skin deeply that causes wrinkling, leathering and sagging and can cause skin cancer and any beauty conscious' problem - sunspots
2. UVB - causes sunburn

Two Types of Sunscreen*:
1. Physical Blockers - reflects UV radiation, effective against UVA and UVB, contains either titanium dioxide (the one that gives whitish skin on pictures) and zinc oxide. This is usually recommended for people with allergies because it is gentle for everyday use. Some say it is also safe for babies. Mostly superficial than penetrating skin.

2. Chemical Blockers - absorbs UV radiation, protects against UVA and UVB, usually contains either of which or combined of benzophenones, menthylanthranilate and avobenzone. May contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as an additional ingredient. Deeply absorbed by skin.

*Source: Sunsafekids

There are broadspectrum sunscreens that offers protection both from UVA and UVB. There is one type of sunscreen that is not properly categorized and it is the water-resistant sunscreen and waterproof sunscreen. Water resistant can maintain SPF protection 40 minutes only after under the water while Water proof SPF protection stays for 80 minutes after under water. 

What is SPF? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is the ability of the sunscreen to protect skin from UVB rays. SPF 15 usually filters 90% of UV rays, SPF 30 to at least 95% and SPF 50 for at least 98% while SPF 100 blocks 99%. There are no measurement available yet to measure the rays of UVA.

How often do I need to apply? First application is 30 minutes before sun exposure. Re-apply at least every 2-3 hours depending on exposure to sun. Do not wait to see you skin is red before re-applying.

Forms of Sunscreens:
1. Creams - recommended for people with dry skin
2. Lotions - recommended for people with dry skin
3. Moisturizers or foundations - contains SPF but it is still advisable to wear separate sunblock underneath the moisturizer of foundation (it also applies to BB or CC creams)
4. Sprays - there are colored and clear sun sprays, usually alcohol based so this is not recommended for people with dry skin
5. Sticks
6. Gels

For me, I prefer sprays and gels as it is less greasy for me. I do not like thick creams or lotions applied on my skin. Thicker in consistency is warm to feel and its hard to put makeup over it.

I hope my tips can help you on what kind of sunscreen suits you best. Anything is helpful as long as you are comfortable in wearing it. Choosing the form of sunscreen is really more of personal preference but what is important is that you choose the correct SPF protection and the type of sunscreen your skin may need (whether a physical or chemical blocker). Apply your daily activities so that you will know if you need a water proof or resistant kind of sunblock too. Do not be afraid to experiment, to tell you honestly, until now I am still in search for the best sunscreen there is. :)

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