The Sun is a deadly laser, to our skin that is! We get that sun protection can be a little confusing, so we've made this guide to explain important points about sun protection and answer some commonly asked questions about sunscreens!
Why are Sunscreens Important?
The #1 reason for skin-aging is none other than the sun. More specifically, Ultraviolet (UV) rays. The Earth's atmosphere may filter out a large portion of the sun's rays, but our skin is still victim to many tough-to-resolve problems caused by exposure to the remaining UV rays. This includes skin cancer, hyper-pigmentation and signs of aging.
Hence, since prevention is easier than cure, it is important for us to get the help of a little sunscreen!
Understanding the Sun
The Sun emits 2 basic types of UV rays:
UVA Rays - These penetrate into the deepest layer of skin (the Dermis) and plays a big role in the development of wrinkles and other signs of ageing. UVA rays also contribute greatly to the development of skin cancer and can be passed through glass.
UVB Rays - These damage the skin's outer layers (the Epidermis), causing redness and sunburns. UVB rays cannot significantly pass through glass.
What is SPF?
SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor. It measures the percentage of UVB rays blocked from your skin by a product. SPF 15 would block 93%, while SPF 40 would block 97%. The higher the SPF, the longer it takes for your skin to get sunburnt. However, ultrahigh SPF ratings (50 and above) are not much more protective than an SPF of 30 - 50, as the percentage increase becomes more and more gradual.
For day-to-day wear, we recommend that your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 and above.
What is PA+?
PA (Followed by +, ++, or +++) is a rating system used in Asia to show how much UVA ray protection a product offers. It stands for Protection Grade of UVA. The more + symbols on a product, the more times longer it would take your skin to tan, as determined by a Persistent Pigment Darkening Test.
For everyday-wear, we recommend using a sunscreen with PA++ or higher.
Another term used to show protection against both UVA & UVB rays is Broad Spectrum, but this doesn't quite show how strongly a product protects you.
Tip: Have easily-irritated skin? Try a sunscreen that uses Titanium Dioxide as its sun-protectant. Although its sun protection is only rated moderate - high, it doesn't cause stinging and skin irritations like many other sun-protecting ingredients!
How much sunscreen do I apply?
There is still a chance your skin might suffer from sun damage even if you have sunscreen on, and that's because your skin wasn't properly covered. To achieve the indicated amount of sun protection, the recommended proportions are 2mg of sunscreen per cm2 of skin. Roughly, 20¢ coin-sized dollop or the length of your index finger would be enough to cover your face & neck.
Tip: Sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine, and should be reapplied every 2 hours when staying outdoors for long periods of time, no matter how high the SPF.
Do I still need sunscreen if my makeup has SPF?
Makeup that offers sun protection might sound like a convenient option. However, just like how 2mg of sunscreen per cm2 of skin would provide the proper amount of UV protection, it would be nearly impossible to wear that amount of foundation or powder. With the average usage amount of most base makeup, your skin will not be getting enough sun protection, and will sadly still be vulnerable to UV damage.
Do I still need sunscreen if I'm indoors?
Even if you’re indoors, you might still be exposed to the UV rays emitted from light sources such as fluorescent lights & some LEDs. Also, UVA rays can pass through glass, meaning your room's windows will only filter out some UVB rays. Thus, we recommend to stay protected everyday, not just on days when you’re going to the beach or for a swim.