Why Sunscreen Is The Best Gift You Can Give To Your Skin

Using the correct sun protection products can do wonders for your skin. The best part? There are plenty of options available depending on your skin needs and budget

Published On Mar 18, 2024 | Updated On Mar 18, 2024


In 1997, Australian director Baz Luhrmann belted out the superhit Sunscreen song beginning with the lyrics ‘If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it’. More than 25 years later and with rising concern about UV damage resulting in anything from premature skin aging to pigmentation and even skin cancer, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Luhrmann was bang on with his advice. 

Renowned dermatologist Dr Madhuri Agarwal cannot stress the importance of including sunscreen in one’s skincare routine enough. “The Ultra Violet rays from the sun have multi-fold adverse effects on skin. UV rays can cause tanning and premature signs of aging such as open pores, leathery skin and wrinkling. Sunscreen is essential as it shields the skin from harmful rays of the sun and protects the skin. It also helps to reduce the degradation of collagen and elastin from UV rays. Sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer and sunscreen curbs it,” she says. In darker skin types, the UV damage can lead to a gradual deeper pigmentation and dehydration of skin. “Sunscreen is required to minimise this impact and is necessary for the overall health of the skin,” she states. 


In India, the sun protection category is experiencing a significant growth, projected to surge in 2024 according to the Global Cosmetics Industry journal. In 2023, the revenue in the sun protection market in India amounts to INR 0.76 billion. It is projected that the market will experience an annual growth rate of 7.10 per cent according to CAGR 2024-2028. 

Any respectable beauty and skincare store in the country proudly showcases shelves upon shelves of sunscreen products, from thick cream-based sunblocks to gel-based sunscreens, sprays and more. Understanding terms such as SPF, PA+ and Broad Spectrum among others is also important in order to understand which product is best-suited for your skin. With plenty of options to choose from, how does one decide which sunscreen to go for? 

Dr Agarwal recommends using a hybrid sunscreen which is a combination of physical and chemical sunscreen as it offers better sun protection. “It deflects as well as reduces the quantum of sun damage,” she shares. Choosing the skincare formulation according to one’s skin type is another advice by the dermatologist. “People with oily skin need to pick gel or water-based formulations of SPF to prevent the skin from becoming greasy and trigger breakouts. People with dry skin, on the other hand, can choose cream-based formulations of SPF. Today, sunscreens are available in a wide range of products such as sprays and lotions. Those with greasy skin can also opt for the latter. Look for water-resistant sunscreens especially when you stay in humid places such as Mumbai, are into sports or perspire easily,” she adds. 

Explaining the other terminologies, she explains that while UVA is the culprit behind premature skin aging and wrinkles, UVB causes sunburn. “UVA protection is mentioned as PA (Protection grade) on sunscreen bottle and PA +++ is generally considered good UVA protection. UVB protection is measured as SPF and SPF30 is recommended,” she states. 


With three quality products In My Defence, Hustle and Good Grease under their science-based beauty brand d’you, founder Shamika Haldipurkar believed their portfolio was incomplete without a sunscreen. “Sunscreen is a huge category in India, and a non-negotiable in anyone’s skincare routine. A skincare routine with the greatest serums and moisturisers, will all be redundant and ineffectual, if you don’t have a sunscreen in your routine to protect your skin with,” she shares. The company recently came up with a serum-based, blue-hued sunscreen Unkissed. 


Talking about how different their product is from any other in the market, Haldipurkar says that in a category predominantly flooded with white or cream-based formulas, Unkissed has a lightweight serum texture. “Secondly, Unkissed has a very strong UVA protection. Usually, consumers look at the SPF rating while choosing a sunscreen but SPF rating only signifies protection against UVB rays, and not UVA rays. UVA rays compose 95 per cent of the sun rays that reach us, and they penetrate into our skin deeper than UVB rays. So while Unkissed has a high SPF rating, it also boasts of the highest possible PA rating (which is the scale for UVA protection),” she adds. 


Clean beauty brand CodeSkin has introduced seven different variants of sunscreens depending on different skin types. “Introducing seven different variants for different skin types was crucial to ensure that everyone could find a sunscreen tailored to their specific needs, regardless of their skin type or concerns,” says founder Oscar Pereira, adding that whether it is normal, dry, oily, sensitive, or acne-prone skin, each variant addresses unique requirements while delivering maximum sun protection. “Furthermore, providing options like mineral sunscreens featuring 100% zinc oxide as a natural filter particularly for sensitive skin or those seeking an illuminating glow, underscores our commitment to inclusivity and catering to a wide range of preferences,” he adds. 


Depending on your skin type, formulation and budget, there are plenty and more options in the market with different brands vying for your attention. The Laneige Radian-C Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA++++ markets itself as a brightening sunscreen that contains vitamin C derivatives to powerfully protect against UV rays. Moha’s Ayurveda Sunscreen Spray claims to be India’s first sunscreen spray formulated with rice bran oil that combines the age-old wisdom of Ayurveda with modern convenience. 

Chosen by Dermatology provides protection from UV rays, blue light, and pollution with their Safescreen Nexgen face and body sunscreen boasting SPF 80+ and PA+++ with water-resistant and sweat-resistant properties. Renowned companies such as Quench Botanics, The Derma Co, Biotique, Hyphen, Dr Sheth’s, Dot & Key, Minimalist, Re’equil, Lotus Herbals among others have a range of sun protection products to cater to different skin needs. Take an informed decision and pick one that’s best suited to your skin requirements and doesn’t leave a hole in your pocket. 

  • Apply enough to cover all exposed areas of body. It usually amounts to one shot glass quantity. I tell my patients to apply about three finger lengths of sunscreen for face and neck.
  • Always apply sunscreen last after all your skincare products.
  • Apply 30 minutes before stepping out in the sun.
  • Use the recommended quantity and don’t forget to apply on areas like ears and neck.
  • Frequency of application should be every 3-4 hours, especially if you are outdoors or your work involves heat exposure such as cooking.

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