Hot and bothered: your burning questions about sunscreen, answered

  02-May-2018 0

Why should I be concerned about UV rays?

Singapore is often called an island in the sun, and while most of us are accustomed to the hot weather, did you know about the ultraviolet (UV) rays that are present in sunlight? Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply than Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, cause skin ageing and skin damage such as wrinkling. They also damage skin cells, which may lead to skin cancer. UVB rays tend to damage the skin's superficial epidermal layers, resulting in sunburn. It may also contribute to skin ageing and skin cancer.

Who needs sunscreen?

Everyone needs sunscreen, everyday! It doesn’t matter if your complexion is fair or tanned, if the weather is sunny or cloudy, or if you work indoors or outdoors – UV rays can reach you all the same.

Naked to the human eye, this invisible damage can penetrate clouds and even pass through windows, coming into contact with the skin. This is why it’s important to protect yourself from these harmful rays. Remember, sunscreen should be a staple in your day-to-day skincare routine – not just an option.

What does SPF and PA on sunscreen bottles stand for?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is the amount of time that a sunscreen is able to prevent UVB rays from damaging the skin. If it would normally take your skin 10 minutes to start burning, a sunscreen with SPF 15 will prevent this for 15 times longer, allowing you to stay out for 150 minutes before burning. It generally takes about 10 to 20 minutes without sunscreen for a person’s skin to start burning.

PA represents the protection grade against UVA rays, and is the Japanese measurement of sun protection, which is based on the Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) reaction reading at 2-4 hours of sun exposure. The protective grade of sunscreen is listed as PA+, PA++, PA+++ and PA++++ with more plus signs meaning more protection from UVA rays.

What should I do if I get sunburnt?

Ouch! Here are a few things you can do to calm a sunburn.

1.       Cool down the skin by quickly moving into a cool area and placing a cold, damp towel on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes to take some heat off the skin. You can also take a cool bath or shower to relieve some of the pain.

2.       Moisturise – your skin becomes dehydrated when it has been exposed to too much sun, so it is crucial to rehydrate with a moisturiser, which will help to soothe the skin and make peeling and flaking less noticeable.

3.       Drink up! Burns draw fluid to the surface of the skin and away from the rest of the body, so flood yourself with extra fluids and watch out for signs of dehydration.

4.       Resist the temptation to scratch or pick at your skin. The skin of the blisters protects the underlying damaged skin, and if you pop them, it can lead to scarring or even infection.

For a variety of sun care needs for different lifestyles, check out the full ORBIS UV care range.

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