It is commonly believed that sunscreen must be applied only when stepping out of the house. Similarly, many people skip applying sunscreen during the monsoon season as the sun is not as harsh and the weather, often, is cloudy. However, sunscreen must be applied at all times to protect the skin against various issues, say experts.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Dr Neha Sharma, dermatologist and founder of Estique clinic, busts such popular myths about wearing sunscreen, irrespective of the season.
“The ultraviolet (UV) rays are the most important extrinsic cause of skin aging. Sunrays, which consist of harmful UV and infrared rays, can cause a host of skin conditions like premature aging, tanning, freckles, lentigines, and sunburns,” she said, adding that these rays “easily pass through clouds in monsoon season and hit our skin. Clouds do not prevent us from UV rays. So, one should wear sunscreen even in monsoons to fight skin changes.”
Further, the expert also shared many other harmful effects of UV rays on the skin:
*Sunburn: Exposure to UV rays increases the production of a pigment called melanin. Increased melanin production leads to tanning. “When the exposure exceeds the body’s capacity to fight melanin, the result is sunburn,” she said.
*Wrinkles: Prolonged exposure to UV rays leads to damage of elastic fibers by oxidative stress because of which the skin loses its elasticity and develops fine lines and wrinkles.
*Pigmentation: UV rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause increased melanin production “which can also result in freckles, melasma, uneven skin tone, and lentigines,” she said.
*Skin cancers – Prolonged UV exposure can cause both benign and malignant forms of skin cancers.
But, one also needs to be equally careful when picking sunscreen. “Always read the ingredient list. The market is flooded with an array of sunscreens, including both physical and chemical varieties. While physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV rays, chemical sunscreens act by getting absorbed into the skin,” she explained.
“When buying a physical sunscreen, look for ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium oxide, and iron oxide. Look for octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone in a chemical sunblock,” Dr Neha suggested.
If you are among those who apply sunscreen once and think that it will provide protection throughout the day then you are mistaken. According to Dr Neha, “Sunscreen must be reapplied every three hours. Also, opt for a water-resistant sunscreen during the monsoon season as it can easily get washed off.”