Douglas E. Brash, clinical professor of therapeutic radiology and dermatology at Yale School of Medicine suggests, "Exposure to Ultra Violet radiation from the sun can damage the DNA in melanocytes, the cells that make the melanin that gives skin its colour. This damage is a major cause of skin cancer."
There are two kinds of ultraviolet radiations that reach the earth: UVA and UVB. UVB can be warded off by SPF or the sun protection factor. A higher SPF blocks a higher percentage of the UVB radiation but anything more than SPF 50 could be counter productive.
How to Pick the Right SunscreenWhen we think of a good sunscreen, we tend to look out for one with a high SPF but is that all it takes? SPF blocks UVB rays that cause sunburn but it's UVA that causes real sun damage. According to Dr. Wang, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, "Along with decent SPF, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone."
As per Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, a Delhi-based dermatologist, "The right kind of sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB, and is not dependent on SPF. Also, I think most of the time, SPF is just a gimmick. For Indian skin, anything over 26-30 SPF will do the job."
How to Apply Sunscreen?
Apply sunscreen 10-15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply it after 2 to 3 hours if you're still outdoors. Sunscreen is also highly recommended for those whose profession requires them to interact with high beam and spot lights, or stay glued to the computer for long hours. If you enjoy swimming or are engaging in any kind of sport where you sweat a lot, then you can apply waterproof sunscreen.
Despite applying dollops of sunscreen, if you still manage to tan yourself then here are some home remedies you can resort to:
1. Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj suggests you take some hung curd, a pinch of turmeric (haldi), some lemon juice and tomato juice. Apply the mix, take some besan and use that to scrub it off. Wash your face with milk that was previously parboiled.
2. Take a mix of besan and turmeric and scrub your face with it. Wash it off with milk or rosewater. Besan acts as a tough scrub and turmeric gives your face a fresh glow.
3. Take some papaya pulp, mix it with honey and apply on your face and neck. Leave it there till it's absolutely dry and then wash it off.