It’s not about skin color. It’s not about being mestiza or morena. Sun protection is about preventing skin diseases and premature skin aging.
Whether you stay indoors all day or work outdoors, chances are you’re exposed to UVA and UVB rays at varying degrees, even during cloudy days. Unprotected exposure to these harmful rays can lead to hyperpigmentation, burns, or worse, melanoma – the worst kind of skin cancer.
Different skin types also vary in how they react to sun exposure. Ever wonder why some people tan easily even with minimal sun exposure when others sunbathe all day, only to achieve redness that’ll fade in a couple of days?
This was addressed by the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Test, which was developed in 1975 and takes into account one’s genetics and sensitivity to sunlight. It lists 6 types of skin that goes from very fair that easily gets sunburn to very dark that doesn’t get sunburn.
You can check your skin type here: https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/are-you-at-risk/fitzpatrick-skin-quiz
So, now that you know which skin type you are, the next step is to get yourself a good quality, broad spectrum sun cream. Broad spectrum or full-spectrum means it protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunblock or a suncreen?
Sun creams are known by many names. The traditional ones are sunblock and sunscreen; recently, sun milk and sun cover started being used. A point of much confusion is the difference between all of these.
Basically, there are two types of sun protection creams: a physical one, and a chemical one.
A physical sun cream, more known as a sunblock, leaves a film over the skin, preventing rays from penetrating the skin. A chemical sun cream, on the other hand, is absorbed by the skin and filters out the UV rays from inside the skin.Typically, reading the label would let you know which kind you’re holding. If the main ingredients are zinc and/or titanium, then it’s a physical sun cream. Otherwise, it’s a chemical sun cream.
The Mystery That Are SPFs
SPFs are the second point of confusion in sun protection. People commonly think that the higher the number, the more protection it carries. This is true to some extent, but not by a lot. An SPF15 will do fine for limited daily exposure. But if you’re sitting next to a window in the office, don’t forget to reapply!
To get the right SPF for you, test how long your skin tans from initial sun exposure. Let’s say you tan easily, like in 10mins. from exposure. Multiply that by the SPF and that’s how long the cream will protect you without needing reapplication. Of course, if you sweat or get wet, a non-water-resistant sun cream requires constant reapplication.
Sun protection is a constantly overlooked step in a daily skin care routine, when it should be one of the most important. Always be protected by getting some top-quality broad spectrum sun creams. If you have dry to normal skin, a moisturizing sun cream like Leyende’s Place in the Sun SPF30 Sunblock would do great to keep your skin hydrated. For Oily and combination skins, oil-free solutions like Laneige’s Sun Block Aqua+ SPF35 will help keep the greasiness at bay while offering max protection.