Sunscreen is a photoprotective topical product that protects the skin from the harmful effects of the Sun's UV rays and other skin issues. It prevents the skin from premature ageing and sunburn. The efficiency of sunscreen depends on the level of Sun Protect Factor (SPF) present in it — higher SPF means better protection from the Sun. A sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks about 98% of UVB rays.
If you are spending a lot of time on the field in the Sun, then opt for a higher SPF, if you are indoors, the lower one will work just fine. There are several active ingredients present in sunscreens like avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.
There are mainly two factors based on which one can choose a perfect sunscreen: Age and skin type.
Sunscreen for different skin types
The most effective method of choosing the perfect sunscreen for your skin is to recognise your skin type and its needs
For dry skin: When choosing a sunscreen for dry skin, the purpose is not only to protect the skin from damage caused by the sun but also to nurture the skin with moisture. Thus, for dry skin, the best type of sunscreen is cream-based, enriched with ceramides, glycerine, hyaluronic acid and other moisturising agents.
For oily skin: The best sunscreen for oily skin is a gel-based or water-based formula with a matte finish as the target is to reduce excess oil from the skin. Sunscreens containing niacinamide, and tea-tree oil are best suited for oily skin as they can help in controlling oil production.
For combination skin: People with this skin type should lean more towards gel-based sunscreen. This goes well with the combination of the oily part of the skin without damaging the dry portion.
Sunscreen for different age-groups
Catering to the requirement, adults should use sunscreen with SPF 25+
during outdoor activities. The SPF can range up to 50 as per the age and outdoor activity of the user.
Teenagers: Teenage skin is often acne prone. Therefore, it’s important to use a non-comedogenic sunscreen; which means a sunscreen that doesn’t have oil content as oil can give rise to acne. Sheer lotions, sprays, fluids or gel-based sunscreens are the best bet. SPF 30+ should protect the teenage skin from the harsh rays. SPF 50 is best.
20s: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen in your 20s. Something that will protect you from UVA and UVB. If you are using any Vitamin C based skin products, ensure that your sunscreen is cream, or oil based and keeps your skin nourished. However, if your teenage acne still persists, then stick to an oil-free sunscreen with SPF 30+.
30s: An antioxidant-based sunscreen is the best in these years as the skin starts maturing. Opt for a cream-based sunscreen with SPF 50. Ensure that you apply the sunscreen immediately after you wash your face in the morning and repeat the process at least thrice a day. Applying sunscreen even when home becomes necessary at this age.
40 years and above: At this age, the skin tends to be hypersensitive. Hormonal changes can affect skin properties drastically. Thus, one should be careful with choosing sunscreen. Gel-based to cream based are good for the aging skin. However, they should always be SPF 50+.
Types of sunscreen based on ingredients
There are two types of sunscreens present in the market categorised according to ingredients
Chemical sunscreen: The first one is a chemical sunscreen that gets absorbed in the top layer of the skin. It helps in the absorption of UV rays to protect the skin. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone, which act as absorbing agents in the formula.
Physical sunscreen: The second type of sunscreen is a physical sunscreen, which is also known
as natural or mineral sunscreen. It includes two ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Together, these ingredients sit on top of the skin and deflect the Sun’s rays.