We have waxed eloquently about how and why it is important to use sunscreen all through the year. Whether it is summer, winter or raining outside, it is imperative to use sunscreen. When you go out to buy yourself a bottle of sunscreen, do you really understand all the terms that you see printed on the tube?

We understand it might get a tad bit difficult to figure out all the mumbo-jumbo on the sunscreen bottles and tubes, so here is a glossary of terms you need to understand your sunscreen better.

Broad spectrum
 

Broad spectrum

This is a term that means the sunscreen will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. In case you were wondering why you need protection against both, it’s because UVB rays tend to burn your skin, while UVA rays damage the skin on a deeper level and cause the collagen to break down.

Oil-free
 

Oil-free

This only means that the product does not contain oil, but be assured it has other film-forming ingredients like silicone. You can find these are listed as ingredients that end in ‘-one’ or ‘-ane’, and these will mostly be waterproof. If you have sensitive skin, it is best to avoid silicone based products.

Non-comedogenic
 

Non-comedogenic

It simply means ‘one which will not cause comedones (pimples)’. It is difficult to pin-point the exact ingredient that causes breakouts when you have sensitive or acne prone skin, but we suggest you stay away from heavy ingredients like coconut oil, shea and cocoa butter. Look for drying ingredients like salicylic acid and zinc oxide, which will help dry your pimples.

SPF
 

SPF

Perhaps the biggest and the most commonly encountered term, do you know what it means? It stands for Sun Protection Factor and is meant to specify its effectiveness against UVB rays. It does not ensure that it offers protection against UVA rays, which is why it is better to use a broad spectrum sunscreen. We suggest you use a SPF 15 sunscreen, this is enough for Indian skin tones, but you have to reapply it every 2-3 hours.

Waterproof
 

Waterproof

Waterproof means that even if you go swimming or if you sweat a lot, and pat yourself dry a few times, the sunscreen will still be present on your skin. The sun rays can penetrate the water up to 3 feet, so if you are swimming, you still need sunscreen.

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