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  • 4 Dermatologist-Approved Tips In Choosing The Best Sunscreen For You And Your Kids

    Yes, you can have just one product for the whole family.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
4 Dermatologist-Approved Tips In Choosing The Best Sunscreen For You And Your Kids
PHOTO BY Shutterstock
  • Going to the beach is not the only time to wear sunscreen. As long as there is sun exposure, according to medical experts, there is also a need for sun protection wherever you may be. That's why it's important to find the best sunscreen for you.

    Why is sunscreen important?

    Exposure from the sun, especificially the ultraviolet (UV) radiation it emits, is the number one factor why the skin gets damaged, undergoes early aging, and leads to other risks, such as cancer.

    This is according to Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang, a dermatologist and member of the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS). She gave an interview to Smart Parenting at the recent Philippine launch of Anessa, a Japanese brand of sunscreen.

    Dr. Lao-Ang points out that to protect our skin from UV damage, we need to wear sunscreen. Yes, that's the more accurate term rather than widely used sunblock.

    Sunscreen vs sunblock

    The dermatologist, who holds clinic at Skin 101 at Shangri-la Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City and also online, has this explanation: "Actually the term sunblock is we’re trying to shy away from it. Because in reality, the use of sunscreen can only screen out 95 to 98 percent. You can’t really 100 percent completely block the sun rays from entering our skin.

    "With sunblock, there’s also the misconception, [which goes] ‘If I wear my sunscreen, I can bathe under the sun.' There’s a misconception, right? We also tend to forget to reapply sunscreen. We’re really trying to shy away from the term sunblock. That’s why the term used now is sunscreen. They’re screening out a certain percent of the sun rays."

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    She adds, "That’s why aside from sunscreen, we advocate seeking shade, wearing your hats, and also the sun protective clothing. The reason behind is sunscreen will only screen out certain percent of the sun rays."

    How to choose the best sunscreen for you

    Buying a sunscreen product can be daunting with all the acronyms, numbers, and symbols written on the packaging. Dr. Lao-Ang gives a rundown of those pertinent details and a list of useful tips:

    Choose SPF 30 and above

    Sun protection factor (SPF) is defined by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as the measurement of how much solar energy, or UV radiation, is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (like when sunscreen has been applied on it). This is in relation to the amount of solar energy needed to produce sunburn on unprotected skin.

    For her part, Dr. Lao-Ang explains that the SPF number indicates how much UV protection you get from the sunscreen product. She says the minimum recommendation is SPF 30, which means it screens out 95 percent of the UV radiation. You can go higher from SPF 50 to SPF 70, as the realitic maximum.

    Choose broad-spectrum

    There are three main types of ultraviolet rays:

    • UVA—causes suntan and skin aging
    • UVB—causes sunburn
    • UVC—already screened out from the ozone layer

    To get protection from both UVA and UVB, you should buy a sunscreen product that says broad-spectrum.

    Choose based on your skin type

    For oily skin and prone to acne, Dr. Lao-Ang suggests a sunscreen product with a formulation that is lighter weight and gel-based. The same goes for sensitive skin and for babies 6 month and above. Do not apply sunscreen to younger babies. Just keep them away from the sun.

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    For dry or dehydrated skin, the dermatologist recommends a sunscreen product that is cream-based or milk-based. If your older kids don't have sensitive skin, you can share this product with them. There's no need to buy a separate product, though the colorful packaging of the line for kids can be very enticing to them.

    Another thing to consider, Dr. Lao-Ang says, is how your skin will react to the sunscreen product. "Di ba kanya-kanyang hiyangan din kasi?"

    Choose water-resistant

    This is especially helpful if you're going to swim, and your skin needs to be protected just the same.

    Dr. Jarische Lao-Ang told Smart Parenting at the Anessa product launch that wearing sunscreen is a must, especially in a tropical country like ours. She's on Instagram and TikTok as thedermamamaph.
    PHOTO BY Stephanie Ocampo

    Tips in applying sunscreen

    If you buy a sunscreen product over-the-counter, the salesperson will usually advise you to apply it by making a few strategic dots around your face before spreading them around for full coverage.

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    Here's Dr. Lao-Ang's advice: "To be practical, 2 finger beds for the face and 3 for the face and neck. Some say naman to apply enough to cover your whole face. Our face size is iba-iba. Iba-ibang skin surface. I advocate 2 finger beds is enough, and 3 if you include your neck and ears na rin."

     

    She adds that sunscreen is the last step in the daily skincare regimen. You apply it on your face after your usual toner, serum, or moisturizer, and just before you put on your makeup.

     

    As for reapplication, she says, it depends on your activities and location. "If you’re not really outdoors, you’re not into physical activities, hindi naman nalulusaw o nag-sweat out, so you can really apply it once a day. It’s enough."

     

    On the other hand, if you’re really out, like going to the beach, she suggests reapplying every 2 to 3 hours. "Because the sunscreen can get washed off from your sweat, so the protection is not the same from the start of the application." Also if you're out between 10 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m., it's best to reapply your best sunscreen as "that’s the time when UV rays damage the skin."

     

    Read here the top choices of moms from the Smart Parenting Village for sunscreen or lotion with SPF.

     

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