Spending significant time under the direct sunlight may lead to sunburn, ranging from painful and irritating to possibly life threatening. Continuous exposure also hurts the skin, accelerating the ageing process and increasing the chances of skin cancer. Around 95 percent of the light being absorbed by the skin is UVA, which is an important factor causing sunburns. When the sunlight is much more powerful than what melanin can handle, the sunburn is created. Sun protection factor, SPF is a rating which grades, how well a sunscreen protects against sunburn forming from UVB. SPF measures how long it takes to produce sunburn, compared to unprotected skin. It should also be noted that SPF only measures the amount of UVA, being blocked, not counting UVB. Sunscreens that claim to be water-resistant usually wash off after around 40 minutes, while very water-resistant will protect for around 80 minutes. Labels like water-proof, sunblock and an “all-day protection” are misleading. Sunscreens can also be classified by what method they use to protect from the sunlight.
There are two main types of sunscreens: chemical that are absorbed into the skin and halt UV light before it starts damaging skin, and physical which act as a protective layer on top of the skin. Not all sunscreens can offer a broad protection against both UVA and UVB sunlight. Usually, sunscreens contain a great number of ingredients. Some of them work to increase the SPF, stabilize other parts of sunscreen and stop them from breaking after long exposure to light, as well as reduce the oily feeling. Other chemical solutions may be included, like fragrances, moisturisers, softeners and others. One of the concerns about sunscreen usage is the prolonged exposure to UVA light, possibly increasing the chances to develop skin cancer. Thus, you should use sunscreens that offer UVA protection. SPF15 or greater rate sunscreens are advised by dermatologists. You should properly use the sunscreens, reapplying it every two hours, and remember to wear long clothes to improve your protection against sunlight. Infant under the age of 6 months should be shielded from the sunlight completely. Physical sunscreens offer better protection against the sunlight but are often visible on skin. You should try to use your knowledge of your skin and the sunscreen properties to choose the one that is best for your particular needs.