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by Dr.Chia-Chi Hsu

Dermatologist’s tips for sun protection Choose sunscreen like a PRO

Ultraviolet level is off the charts during hot summer days. How to enforce proper sun protection to resist UVA and UVB, also prevent the formation of spots and wrinkles?
Are you tanned even when you apply sunscreen? Greasy, heavy sunscreen is suffocating the skin and even worse, leaving white cast and causing acne? Read about dermatologist Dr. HSU,CHIA-CHI sharing the professional sun protection tips and how to fully resist UV damage!

How to choose sunscreen? SPF、PA、PPD, what to look for? 

There are two types of UV - UVA and UVB; UVB causes skin redness and sunburn, while UVA is responsible for skin aging, causing wrinkles and spots. Let’s start from the labels outside of the packaging to learn about these sun protection factors and choose the right sunscreen for you according to different occasion.

SPF:SPF: Protection from UVB, safe from sunburn and redness!

SPF values refers to the ability of sunscreen to slow down sunburn and redness, for example, SPF50 means delaying the time of reddening by 50 times. Of course, the actual time to turn red from exposure to sun depends on the skin type of each person and the intensity of the UV index at the time. For a commuter who works in office or someone who goes outdoor only for a short time, SPF30 is recommended. If you are spending a long period of time outdoors or planning to engage in outdoor activities, it is recommended to choose SPF50 sunscreen products.

 

PA:Protection from UVA, safe from tanning and aging!

More + means stronger ability to protect from tanning and aging, maximum is 4 +. It is recommended to choose PA+++ to achieve effective protection.

 

PPD: UVA sun protection factor regulation standard in Europe
PPD is a measurement method of how much time it takes for the skin to tan for over 24 hours. For example, in general, a person would be tanned in 10 minutes. After applying PPD6 sunscreen, it can extend 6 times as long to 60 minutes to tan.
PPD method with its classification would be PPD2-4 low protection, PPD4-6 moderate protection, and PPD6-8 high protection.

 

Besides UV protection rating, 3 other keys to avoid: Non-sticky, Non acne-prone, Non-irritating

Although there are many high SPF sunscreens on the market, they can't avoid heavy and sticky texture. Some sunscreens add artificial colors in order to have tinted effect, however, it might clog the pores after use, resulting in acne and pimple. Also, sensitive skin may be irritated after the use of sunscreen products containing alcohol, pigments and fragrance. It is recommended to try the sunscreen products before purchasing. Choose sunscreen products with light, non-sticky, no white cast texture and avoid those with alcohol or artificial pigment that brings burdens to skin!

 

What is the popular “Broad-spectrum sunscreen?

About ultraviolet, the longer the wavelength, the harder it is to be blocked. Most sunscreen products can resist UVB, but as the protection wavelength grows longer, when it reached certain wavelength, the activity value suddenly drops sharply. This steep drop is called critical wavelength. The value of the critical wavelength represents the breadth of UV protection of the sunscreen product. The higher the value, the greater protection of UV range. The so-called broad-spectrum sunscreen, according to US regulations, the critical wavelength needs to reach 370nm to labeled as broad spectrum protection. Be sure to pay attention to sunscreen that can cover broad spectrum wavelength of ultraviolet in order to fight UVB and UVA effectively, with better sunscreen effect to prevent suntan and aging.

Physical v.s chemical sunscreen Which is better

Sun protection is composed of physical and chemical protection. Physical properties of sunscreen mainly contain two ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Ingredients other than these two are chemical sunscreen. Physical sunscreen consists of less active ingredients and is highly stable. The main mechanism is to cover the skin surface, so it would not irritate people who have sensitive skin. But the disadvantage is that its texture is heavier or may leave white cast. The chemical sunscreen ingredients are now more and more advanced, as research and development progress, the ingredients may not be as sensitization-prone, and are able to achieve adequate protection. Currently the sunscreen products on the market are mainly physical and chemical ingredients combined, so the two can complement each other, bringing non-stick, light and achieving broad spectrum protection.

Sun protection and reapply sunscreen are the keys to stay away from tanning and aging

Many people think that applying sunscreen equals sun protection. But in fact, the most important thing is to avoid exposure to the sun. When the sun is very strong from 10:00 to 2:30 in the morning, try not to spend too much time outdoors. Besides applying sunscreen, light long sleeves tops, hats and umbrellas are essential. In addition, to achieve the sun protection effect as stated on the product label, the amount of usage is very important. It is recommended to apply around the amount measured from the fingertip to the first knuckle of index finger. If you are worried that a tinted sunscreen is too much, you can choose a non-tinted sunscreen to apply on the face, then choose a tinted sunscreen as concealer or foundation. Make sure to pay attention to imperfection or redness on the face, so the complexion would look natural. If you usually put on makeup, the skin may turn oily, or if you stay outdoors for a long period of time, it is recommended to use a wet tissue to even out the makeup slightly; then add sunscreen and setting powder to set the makeup. If you missed the step of evening out makeup first, it is easy to cause pores to clog, leading to acne and pimple, and this also result in cakey makeup. Many people choose to use sunscreen spray for makeup, but it might have limited sun protection effect due to uneven spraying. It is recommended to apply sunscreen in liquid, lotion, or cream based to achieve best results.