HomeAnswersDermatologysunscreenI want to know about using sunscreen. Please help.

How does sunscreen protect the skin?


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Published At February 14, 2024
Reviewed AtFebruary 14, 2024

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I am a 30-year-old male. I would like to know more about using sunscreen.

  1. Could you provide an overview of sunscreen and why it is essential for skin protection?
  2. How does sunscreen work to shield the skin from harmful UV rays?
  3. What are the different types of UV radiation (UVA and UVB), and how do they affect the skin?
  4. Are there specific SPF (Sun Protection Factor) recommendations for different skin types and activities?
  5. What are the key ingredients to look for in sunscreen, and are there any ingredients I should avoid?
  6. How do mineral (physical) sunscreens differ from chemical sunscreens?
  7. Why is it crucial to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and how does it provide comprehensive protection against UVA and UVB rays?
  8. What is the correct way to apply sunscreen for maximum effectiveness?

Thank you.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have gone through your query, and I do understand your concern. Sunscreens are essential for protecting skin from sun damage. Sunscreens are definitely to be made a part of the skincare routine. They help in reducing sun spots, melasma, lentigines, also called freckles, and wrinkles, reduce premature aging, reduce chances of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and conditions like actinic Keratosis, seborrheic Keratosis, skin cancers, polymorphous light eruptions, and solar urticaria.

Sunscreens are of two types:

1. Physical sunscreen :

They consist of ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, providing a shield like UV ray protection. They may sometimes cause a whitish tint on the skin.

2. Chemical sunscreen: They consist of ingredients like Avobenzone and Oxybenzone, which, when applied on the skin, react chemically with sun rays and help protect the skin. It is ideally advised to use a combination of both.

The best products with both ingredients :

  1. Sunstop gold sunscreen gel SPF 55.
  2. UV doux gold sunscreen gel SPF 55.
  3. Uvskrin sunscreen gel.
  4. Method of application :

    Sunscreen is to be applied daily in the morning before 9 a.m. Sunscreen should be on the skin from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    If planning to step out, sunscreens are to be applied at least 20 minutes before going out, and if at home, they must be applied as the last step of the skincare routine. Make sure to reapply sunscreen on previously applied layers every 2 to 3 hours, as they lose efficacy by this time. Sunscreens with PA+++ are advised as they provide protection from UVA rays, which are highly penetrative.

    UV radiation from the Sun is the leading cause of skin problems. They are mainly of 3 types: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA and UVB are penetrative and present in Sunrays. However, UVC is present in LED, computer, laptop and mobile lights. They are less penetrative. However, with prolonged exposure and sensitive skin, they may cause skin damage.

    Sunscreens consist of SPF 15 to 60+. The best sunscreen to be considered is a 55+ SPF sunscreen.

    SPF (also called sun protection factor) in values of 30 depicts protection of up to 96% from UV lights. It means that the sunscreen admits 1/30th of the UV rays. SPF 50 means they admit 1/50th of UV rays.

    The protection increases, and the duration of protection increases when the SPF is higher.

    I hope this helps. Take care

    Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty


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