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Sunscreen is more than a beauty essential, it's a borderline health product. However, while most people use sunscreens, not everybody knows how to use these. This means that they're either not using enough, or are not using the right sunscreen type for their skin.
Sunscreen is typically chosen on the basis of its Sun Protection Factor or SPF, and dermatologists recommend a minimum SPF of 15. This will guarantee sun protection of up to 93%. Above that, SPF 50 guarantees sun protection of upto 98%.
Sunscreen typically needs to be applied fifteen to twenty minutes before going out in the sun, and subsequently needs to be reapplied every two hours once. Apply sunscreen liberally on all the exposed body parts.
Select a water-proof sunscreen if you're looking for something that is sweat resistant, and note for how long it is so. Most water-proof sunscreens are only waterproof for about 45 minutes, so know your type.
When choosing a sunscreen, it's also important to know that what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. There are a host of sunscreens out there, and you really want the one that's best for you.
So, here's a guide on how to pick the right sunscreen for your skin type.
Sensitive Skin: People with sensitive skins, or those prone to allergies should avoid sunscreens with heavy fragrances and chemicals and should instead opt for lighter, yet effective products with an SPF of about 50. This is because sensitive skins are also prone to sun-damage and need a decent SPF that skips the secondary add-ons.
People with skins that are riddled with acne, or are allergic to certain products should also do patch tests or consult their dermatologists before buying their sunscreens. Nothing is too precious for your skin, and it's not a good idea to buy cosmetics that could aggravate an existing skin condition.
Dry Or Ageing Skin: Such skin gets a boost from the heavy moisturizers in sunscreens for damaged skin. Because ageing skin is extra prone to dryness and creasing, it often happens that a regular sunscreen is not enough.
A sunscreen for older people also has to be effective enough to tackle melasma and age spots, while preventing wrinkles frequently caused by sun damage. An SPF of 30 is a good idea.
For Darker Skin: People with naturally darker skin tones often don't like wearing sunscreen because they argue that the melanin can protect them from skin cancers. However, the truth is that skin damage happens with dark skins too, only it's hidden. Dark skins need sunscreens without the obvious chalky traces of zinc oxide and titanium, and these people should opt for an SPF of about 15.
Baby Skin: Babies and very young children also need to wear sunscreen. Their skin is often very thin and over exposure to harsh chemicals is not good. Select a sunscreen that is oxybenzone and PABA free, and avoid spray sunscreens, unless using it on the hands and feet. An SPF of 15 is the best one to opt for.
Normal Skin: It's difficult to define normal skin, but if your skin doesn't come under one of the above-mentioned skin types, then it can be considered as a normal skin type. Normal skin is usually fuss free, and can use an SPF of 15 and upwards. The sunscreen should be applied every two hours once on all the exposed body parts for maximum effect.
So, now that you know what your sunscreen type is, go have fun in the sun!