People everywhere should be applying sunscreen every day whether it is cloudy or sunny. Especially in Dubai, people should be extra careful and apply sunscreen daily to avoid grilling under the summer’s scorching sun.
Sunscreen is your protection against the sun’s harmful rays that can cause sunburns and in some cases skin cancer. There are two types of sun rays that are blocked by sunscreen; UVA and UVB. They are both ultraviolet rays but the difference between them is that UVB does not penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays.
However, UVB rays are the ones responsible for sunburns and play a bigger role in causing skin cancer. UVA rays, on the other hand, make up 95% of the sun’s rays that reach the Earth’s surface and accelerate premature aging and skin wrinkling due to their ability to enter deeper parts of the skin.
Interestingly enough, sunscreens can’t block 100% of the sun’s rays which is why it is advised to re-apply sunscreen when staying under the sun for prolonged periods. To know how much exactly of the sun’s rays you will be avoiding, you should look at the SPF; the Sun Protection Factor.
It is true that the higher the SPF is the better it is at blocking the sun’s harmful rays. This is why dermatologists always recommend using at least SPF 30 which blocks 97% of the sun’s rays. Pro-tip, look for sunscreens that also mention ‘broad spectrum’. Why? Because SPF alone is your protection against UVB rays while broad-spectrum sunscreens block both UVB and UVA.
When choosing your sunscreen, look for these three labels: SPF 30 or higher, Broad Spectrum Protection, and Water Resistance. According to the FDA, water-resistance sunscreens last on wet skin from 40 minutes to 80 minutes, after which you need to re-apply.
Re-applying sunscreen is beneficial because they become inefficient either after breaking down by the sun or clumping up. As a general rule, apply sunscreen every 2 hours while you are under the sun, seek shade as much as possible, and if you are sweating or getting in the water reapply after 40/80 minutes when using water-resistant sunscreen.
While sunscreens are protective and essential for our skin’s health under the sun, we should choose them consciously to avoid harming our skin or the Earth. Some sunscreens are riddled with chemicals that penetrate the skin and cause damage instead of protection. Other types of sunscreen contain harmful chemicals that suffocate marine life when it gets washed off at sea.
Steer away from sunscreens that have Nanoparticles and Oxybenzone, go for mineral sunscreens instead of the chemical ones. Oxybenzone is one of the most toxic ingredients in the cosmetic industry as it affects our hormones and is linked to problems such as early puberty and hormone-related cancers.
Apart from the damage it can cause humans, scientists found that one drop of oxybenzone can impact marine life in an area as large as 6 Olympic pools. This chemical bleaches in coral reefs leading to their death. Without realizing it, we could be heavily polluting the oceans with our sunscreens that get washed off in the ocean when we take a swim.
Shop for your organic, natural, and sustainable sunscreens that protect you without unnecessary side effects. It is our responsibility to be eco-friendly and co-exist with other life forms around us. Lastly, if you’re heading out – don’t forget your sunscreen ;)!