Everything You Need To Know About SPF

Everything You Need To Know About SPF

What is SPF?

SPF or Sun Protection Factor measures how effective a sunscreen is at protecting your skin from the harsh UV ray, the same culprit that causes aging, hyper pigmentation, and in a worst-case scenario, skin cancer. No matter if it’s a rainy or a wintry day, your skin needs an SPF the year-round even if you cannot feel the scorching heat.

Do We Really Need to wear Sunscreen?

 As Dr. Jennifer Lin, an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Melanoma Risk and Prevention Clinic at Brigham and Women's Hospital, says “We recommend sunscreen for skin cancer prevention, including melanoma prevention, which has been demonstrated in cohort studies as well as prospective randomized trials. Given that darker-skinned patients have a very low risk of skin cancer, using sunscreen for skin cancer prevention is not necessary. However, people looking to ward off the aging effects from sun would still benefit from sun-protective habits, which include sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and sun avoidance.”

Types Of Sunscreen:

When it comes to protecting your skin from the harsh sun, you have two options to choose from: Physical or Chemical. But which one is best for your skin? Which one protects the skin better?

 Let’s read on to find out.


Physical Sunscreen:

Also known as mineral sunscreen or sun block, physical sunscreen offers protection from both UVA and UVB and gets to work the moment it is applied on the skin. Mineral sunscreen contains active mineral ingredients: usually zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide, or both and works by sitting on top of the skin acting as a barrier, deflecting the UV rays. You can easily spot a physical sunscreen by its thick, chalky texture.

According to Mayo Clinic “Both chemical and physical sunscreens offer effective sun protection when applied correctly. Physical sunscreens usually are less expensive than chemical sunscreens. Given that they also are hypoallergenic, physical sunscreens may be a safer choice for some people who have sensitive skin.”

A boon for sensitive skin, physical sunscreen is safe enough to be used on babies. The only downside of physical sunscreen? They are terribly hard to blend into the skin and often leave a white cast. It can make people of colour look ghastly. Thankfully, with advancing technologies, brands these days are coming up with physical sunscreens that are easy to spread and leave little to no white cast.

One of the best physical sunscreen out there that leave little white cast is Dear Klairs Mid day Blue UV Shield and Cosrx Sheild Fit All Green Comfort Sun SPF 50+ 

Chemical Sunscreen:

Unlike Physical Sunscreen, Chemical Sunscreen gets absorbed into the skin and works by scattering the UV radiation. They have a thinner and runnier texture and spread amazingly on the skin and can often double as a primer. However, they can clog the pores and cause irritation and if applied on sensitive skin, they can cause severe damage. 

If you have sensitive skin, you should stay steer clear of chemical sunscreen especially if they have oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, or avobenzone as their sunscreen agent.

According to NCBI “Oxybenzone is not considered photostable, and although not scientifically proven yet, there is a concern about carcinogenic and endocrine adverse effects.”

However, these days brands are coming up with chemical sunscreen using the less harsh chemical sunscreen compound and can be used by sensitive skin.

Dear Klairs, a brand best known for catering to sensitive skin beauties launched, Airy Soft UV Essence which is a Chemical Sunscreen but is suitable for sensitive skin.

Unlike physical sunscreen, chemical sunscreen has to be worn at least 15 minutes before stepping out under the sun.

Hybrid Sunscreen:

So what is a hybrid sunscreen? It is the best of both worlds. Some sunscreen products incorporate both physical and chemical filters. These types of sunscreen are huge among Korean brands. They use less harsh chemical sunscreen ingredients as well as physical sunscreen ingredients and the end results are sunscreens that leave a less white cast and cause less irritation.

The Final Takeaway

Sunscreen must be worn throughout the year, no matter what your skin type or colour is. A minimum of SPF 30 should be worn and re-applied every 3 hours. You can also carry an SPF spray for easier re-application. Also, SPF in make-up doesn’t count, nor does SPF in a day cream. They do enhance the protection on top of your dedicated sunscreen, but the dedicated sunscreen is a must. No matter you are a physical sunscreen person or a chemical sunscreen person, protect that beautiful skin and hair from the harsh UV rays! 

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