Did you know that skin actually starts to thicken itself as a form of defence against sun damage? And that leads to a thick layer of dead skin cells that clogs pores, creates zits and makes the complexion seem totally dull and lifeless? Despite having been a Beauty Editor and writing this blog, where I have preached about sunscreen often enough, this was something that had totally escaped my knowledge.
Which led me to thinking what else remains unknown or unnoticed about the subject and I have been making calls to experts ever since. Some of the information might leave you surprised as well.
- People who wait 2.5 hours to reapply sunscreen instead of 2 hours have a five times greater chance of burning.
- Sunscreens expire after a year. The active ingredients break down, especially when exposed to heat (like in your car or a day bag), which not only gives you less protection but might also cause an adverse reaction on your skin. How to tell if your sunscreen has gone bad? Look out for an abnormal consistency (too thick or too thin), grittiness or separation of the layers.
- A classic white T-shirt averages a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 7. A long-sleeved dark denim shirt, on the other hand, offers a UPF of about 1,700. On the same lines, unbleached cotton contains special pigments — lignins — that absorb UV rays. Similarly, some silks and polyesters reflect radiation, hence protecting skin against the sun.
- People with dark skin still need sunscreen as the deepest melanin only rates an SPF 2 protection from UVB rays. It offers no protection against UVA rays or free radicals.
- 90% of wrinkles are caused by sun exposure. So that means if you adequately protect yourself from the sun, you will have less wrinkles.
- Your risk for skin cancer increases every time you peel. Five sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
- Some of the ingredients used in today’s sunscreens – like rice bran extracts, jasmine, and lupine extract – are actually ancient Egyptian discoveries. Gamma oryzanol extracted from rice bran has UV-absorbing properties, jasmine helps mend skin damage and lupine extract lightens the skin.