Sun protection is an important aspect of skin care. Though the sun is beneficial in order for the human body to get its daily dose of vitamin D, unprotected excessive sunlight can cause extreme damage to the skin. Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation in the sun’s rays can cause sunburn in varying degrees, early ageing and increased risk of skin cancer. UV exposure can cause patches of uneven skin tone and dry out the skin.
This can reduce the skin’s elasticity and encourage sagging and wrinkle formation. Sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage; sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure, and should be re-applied every four hours. Sunscreen should be applied to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to sunlight, and at least a tablespoon (25 ml) should be applied to each limb, the face, chest, and back, to ensure thorough coverage. Many tinted moisturizers, foundations and primers now contain some form of SPF.
Sunscreens may come in the form of creams, gels or lotions; their SPF number indicates their effectiveness in protecting the skin from the sun’s radiation. There are sunscreens available to suit every skin type; in particular, those with oily skin should choose non-comedogenic sunscreens; those with dry skins should choose sunscreens with moisturizers to help keep skin hydrated, and those with sensitive skin should choose unscented, hypoallergenic sunscreen and spot-test in an inconspicuous place (such as the inside of the elbow or behind the ear) to ensure that it does not irritate the skin.