HI GUYS! I am back with a new post as I am receiving a lot of questions on Sun Protection.
(Sorry I have been extremely busy with life, but I promise I will back on track. Do DM me to chase me for content from time to time :P)
Anyway, here goes!
Using sunscreen is a must!
I can’t emphasis enough how much we should be using sunscreen – every day, outdoors and even indoors. Each individual use it for a different reason. I use it more for anti-aging and cosmetics reasons (because I usually get the one with a whiter base).
But in general, it is more commonly used for:
- Sun protection from harmful UV rays (redness, peeling etc.)
- Prevention of premature aging (lines, wrinkles, age spots etc.)
- Lower risk of skin cancer
- Evening out skin tone
For guys and girls out there who are not using sunscreen, good news is you’re not too late to start!
Now, here is a fun fact.
Exposure to harmful UV rays triggers a biological UV-meter in your body. And every moment you’re out in the sun, your body tracks the exposure and accumulates the damage. It is only when you start protecting yourself, you allow your body to halt the accumulative process and let it recover from the damage – to some extent.
So, where do we start?
If you look closely on every sunscreen product, there is always some very important information. One, the SPF number (SPF15, SPF30, SPF45 etc.) and the PA strength (PA+, PA++, PA+++ and PA++++).
The SPF number, known as the sun protection factor, is indicative of the protection from the UVB rays. These rays are the one that penetrates only the superficial layer of your skin. To better remember this, associate “B” with burn – or more accurately time taken to be burnt.
The higher the number really means that it would takes a longer period for you to feel the burn from the sun than those who don’t use sunscreen.
(SPF15 means taking 15 times longer than without sunscreen – and the list goes on.)
It is also said that the SPF number is reflective of the amount of harmful rays you are protected from – the higher the number, the higher percentage of harmful rays you are covered and protected from.
Think of it as the forcefield shields you have seen in action movies or marvel comics – where that “protection” is exhaustible and would eventually reach you when the forcefield runs out.
The real thing we all should worry for is to guard against UVA rays.
UVA rays are the rays that penetrate deeper into the thickest layer of your skin known as the dermis.
Over-exposure of UVA rays in the longer term is often related to hyper-aging or known as premature aging) and photo-aging that is wrinkling of the skin. Yes, you are right. “A” for aging.
So essentially, PA is Protection Grade of UVA rays in product terms.
More importantly, the number of plus-es you see on the packaging means the level of Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) that you are protected from. The more pluses, the more protected you are from PPD.
- PA+ : Having one plus means that the sunscreen provides protection with factor of 2-4 (medium UV radiation).
- PA++ : Having two pluses shows that the sunscreen provides protection with factor of 4-8.
- PA+++ : Having three pluses shows that the sunscreen provides protection with factor of above 8-16.
- And finally for PA++++ is for PDD protection above the level of 16.
Trivia: While 16 is is the new limit, most companies in U.S are actually still using PA+++ as the standard limit instead of adopting the higher limit of PA++++.
What else should I know?
There are also sunscreens out there that are commonly associated with terms “broad-spectrum coverage” or “full-spectrum coverage”, which really just means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
But one thing about this trend is that it does not specify or inform you of the extent of the protection with regards to PPD or UVA protection. Yes, the one that ages you!
The good thing is that we are starting to see that these broad-spectrum products are shifting towards having zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as a key ingredient.
Zinc oxide is actually commonly used lately as it sits on top of the skin and blocks out harmful rays, rather than being absorbed into the skin. It is also known to be helpful in preventing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and scarring.
Titanium dioxide, however, is used more commonly for sensitive and redness-prone skin. Click here if you’re interested in how they are different.
- Using sunscreen is a must – every single day, be it outdoor or indoors.
- Look out for PA+ and above, which represents the Protection grade for UVA rays for anti-aging and recovery purposes.
- Check out sunscreen with Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide for added benefits.
I hope all of you like today’s post. And please please please start using sunscreen to protect yourself from the damaging rays of the sun!
What I am using now
The Lapothicell Natural Mineral Sun Protection SPF50+ PA+++
This sunscreen is light and offers high UV defence coverage suitable for those with sensitive skin and is even good for children.
It contains anti-inflammatory (Chamomilla Recutita flower extract) and soothing (aloe vera leaf) ingredients that heal damaged and irritated skin.