Skin Sutra

Which sunscreen to buy?

Baz Luhrmann’s song “wear sunscreen..” keeps crossing my mind when I think about the importance of sunscreens. Besides all the proverbial wisdom of life…oh yes we must wear sunscreen.IMG_20160908_101719_1

There are innumerable brands and newer ones are continuously being  added to the list.  From gel based, liquid sprays, creams, roll-ons, mists to what not…brands are constantly innovating to adapt to consumer needs.

The QUESTION  that most of us face – how do I choose among the brands? and how do I know what is right for me?

Let’s get to it but before that will re-iterate a few basics about our relationship with sunscreens. Trust me it’s going to be a long term relationship, so let’s dive.

Ask yourself, what is my skin type?

Do I have an oily, normal, combination, sensitive or dry skin?

Since sunscreens are meant to form a layer of protection on the skin, it’s important to know your own skin type. Oily skin needs light water based protection as the thick creamy layers can result in breakouts, while a normal skin can tolerate that reasonably well.  For i.e a Banana Boat may be great but have not seen it going well with oily skin type. A sensitive skin works well with medicated light sunscreens. Do you have a dry skin and would prefer it to be moisturizing as well?

It’s not just for outdoors

No my friends,  sunscreen is not just for outdoors. It’s not only the heat we are protecting from but the harmful UVA and UVB radiations from the sun. These rays do not discriminate between indoors and outdoors – the impact may be lesser but please know, it’s always there. We don’t feel the burn but they reach deeper layers and structurally impact our skin. I recommend mild herbal brands inside the house. So whether at home, outside, in transit or wherever you are remember the song…wear sunscreen

What has the weather got to do with it what sunscreen I choose?

I had not realized this before but we also need to keep changing the sunscreens basis the seasons.In a hot weather sweat resistant works well, winters will need a moisturizing sunscreen . The idea is to be covered in all seasons and indoors

Now comes the big QUESTION what all do I look for in my sunscreen?

Here’s the list…

  1. Broad spectrum – Simply means that it promises to cover or protect from all kinds of rays -UVA and UVB.
    • The skin damage is at two levels – UVA causes premature ageing, wrinkling and UVB causes sunburns.
    • PA is Protection from UVA  and SPF is for UVB. A good sunscreen must have both.
  2. SFP – For UVB, normally 30 is ideal, more SPF i.e 50, 75, doesn’t mean more protection as it’s not linear. SPF 30  means you can stretch it upto a few hours before reapplying. But sunscreens need to be reapplied every two-three hours ideally. Hence MORE SPF is not the bigger thing but re-application is important
  3. PA  –  For UVA, research reports suggest +++ is ideal (look for pa+++)
  4. Non- comedogenic – Covering your skin without clogging pores
  5. Hypo-allergenic – Suitable for even sensitive skin
  6. Paraben Free – Certain sunscreens have parabens and end up harming the skin in the long term. Look, read and avoid!
  7. Perfume Free –  It’s a personal choice but I prefer mild or no perfume. It’s a sunscreen after all 😊

Choose your brand applying these filters or key words.

My favorite brands are

  • Photostable, a medicated sunscreen for everyday use.
  • Nutrogena  for beach and extensive outdoor
  • Lotus Herbal Spray mist for the rest of my body any given day

Hope it was useful for you, please contribute if I MISSED anything.  Would love to hear, what you wear!

Love and light


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