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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Choosing The Best Sunscreen - Beyond UVR protection

Here's my take on what is the best sunscreen.

Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen

By broad spectrum, it should have
  1. UVA protection, also marked by Protection of UVA (PA) value that ranged from + to +++. If the PA value isn't stated, look for ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide in the ingredient. 
  2. UVB protection, also marked by Sun Protection Factor (SPF) value. The higher the SPF, the higher the protection. However, the higher the SPF, the smaller the difference it offers. 
  • SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% (of UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%
  • SPF 50 sunscreens filter out about 98%
  • SPF 100 sunscreens filter out about 99%
However, SPF value are based on application of 2mg/cm2, and who on the earth would apply sunscreen such thick!? Trust me, in reality, that extra small additional value of SPF does matter.
  1. Infrared protection - probably less harmful than UV rays, but accounts for more than 50% of the sun energy that reach our skin, and also contributes to aging and skin cancer.
  2. High energy visible light or near-UV protection - again, not as strong as UV rays but it could be another silent harmful agent from computer monitors, phones, lights etc. leafing to dry and sensitive skin apart from aging.

Read the product label
  • Make sure that there isn't any ingredient that you are allergic to.
  • Pick a non-comedogenic one if you are prone to acne.

Other things that you may want to consider
  • Tinted sunscreen, so that you don't look all white out like Geisha!
  • Sunscreen with antioxidants to counteracts reactive oxygen species production, not new but yay!
  • Pleasant scent or a brand that you like -- you will not use it if you don't like it!
  • Sunscreen for sensitive skin, go for physical agent such as titanium oxide and zinc oxide, rather than chemicals like oxybenzone. Avoid fragrance and alcohol too.
  • If you are choosing a sunscreen for your children, try to get physical agents too.
More expensive sunscreen isn't necessarily better. Don't forget to look at the expiry date and use it correctly. Oh, and in case you don't know yet,  there are oral sunscreen too (the efficacy of which is doubtful, so don't use it alone without applying topical sunscreen).

Last but not least, using sunscreen isn't enough. There's a study that showed that people who uses sunscreen actually gets more sunburn as they tend not staying in shades. So, please don't forget your sunglasses and hats! After all, these can be part of fashion too, so all the beauty and handsome, why not?
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