Healthcare Spotlight

Dr. Jatin Sharma - Importance Of Sun Protection: SPF, UV Rays, And Skincare

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures a sunscreen's ability to protect the skin from UVB rays, the primary cause of sunburn.

Dr. Jatin Sharma
Dr. Jatin Sharma - Importance Of Sun Protection: SPF, UV Rays, And Skincare
  • Sun protection is not just about preventing sunburn; it's about safeguarding your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

  • UV radiation from the sun consists of UVA and UVB rays, both of which can penetrate the skin and cause damage.

  • UVA rays contribute to premature aging, such as wrinkles and sunspots, while UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn and skin cancer.

  • Prolonged exposure to UV radiation without adequate protection can lead to skin damage, including sunburn, photoaging, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

The Role of SPF

The SPF number indicates how long it takes for UVB rays to redden the skin when using sunscreen compared to not using any sunscreen. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen theoretically allows you to stay in the sun 30 times longer without getting sunburned than if you were not wearing sunscreen. However, it's essential to remember that SPF only measures protection against UVB rays and does not account for UVA protection.

Sunscreens: Right Product and Correct Usage

Sunscreen formulations consist of active ingredients designed to shield your skin from the sun's harmful UV radiation. There are two main types of sunscreen ingredients:

  • Physical (mineral) sunscreen ingredients, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, act as a barrier, blocking and dispersing UV rays before they can penetrate the skin, akin to a shield.

  • Chemical sunscreen ingredients, like avobenzone and octisalate, function by absorbing UV rays, akin to a sponge, before they can cause harm to the skin.

The "5 W's (& H)" of sunscreen offer valuable insights into its usage:

  • WHO: Everyone, regardless of age or skin type, should use sunscreen daily.

  • WHAT: Opt for broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher for daily use and SPF 30 or higher for extended outdoor activities.

  • WHEN: Apply sunscreen daily, 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

  • WHERE: Ensure complete coverage by applying sunscreen to all exposed skin areas.

  • HOW MUCH: Use one ounce (shot glass full) to cover the entire body for each application.

  • WHY: Sunscreen reduces the risk of skin damage and skin cancer by minimizing UV exposure.

Issued in Public Interest by Dr.Reddy's Laboratories LTD