Sunscreen is the holy grail of beauty products. Arguably the most important part of anyone’s skin routine, it is the one thing you should use religiously. It is also the one thing you should constantly invest in and experiment with till you find the perfect formulation. Why?
Well, because sunscreen is the best way to keep a myriad of skin issues at bay. But, using sunscreen is not just a preventative measure. Sunscreen helps the skin heal better, and protects it so that it remains healthy and glowing. Since most skin issues are caused or exacerbated by sun exposure, using it regularly and in the right amount, transforms a person’s skin. So, if you want to glow and have plump, nourished-looking skin, here’s a little encouragement from us in the form of a list of all the skin-issues you wouldn’t have to worry about if you just wore sunscreen.
Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common complaints people have about their skin, regardless of skin tone. It refers to the accumulation of excessive melanin in certain patches of the skin, be it in the form of sunspots, or as areas which darken more than the rest of the skin for seemingly no reason. It can happen due to hormonal changes, genetics, and other factors, but most commonly, it happens due to sun exposure, especially over long periods of time. You spend your teens and twenties prancing about sans SPF, and then suddenly you see spots all over your face in your forties and fifties. Why is that?
UV rays burn the skin, and cells in our body perceive that as stress. This causes a reaction in the cells which leads to increased melanin production in the damaged area. So, the fact that one area randomly starts getting spots or darkens, is just a by-product of the damage, not the problem itself.
If we all wore sunscreen everyday the way we brush our teeth or eat, this would rarely be a concern. Half the skincare industry would collapse because preventing sun exposure keeps so many skin problems at bay. Not only that, but without additional exposure to UV rays, existing spots also fade more easily, improving the efficacy of other skincare products you might be using to combat pigmentation. The burning would never happen, and if it’s already happened in an area, at least that won’t worsen over time if one used sunscreen. So, if someone used antioxidants like Vitamin C, the Vitamin C would help the skin that was damaged heal again, and the sunscreen would prevent that problem from worsening or coming back. As a result, the hyperpigmentation would also go away.
Discolouration or uneven skin tone
When you have a certain skin tone but notice patches of your skin turn red, brown, or even greenish, that is usually called discolouration. Skin gets discoloured for a lot of reasons. Many women with olive skin, especially in India and in mediterranean countries experience discolouration around the mouth. It also happens under the eyes. Allergies and inflammation can cause it. Hormones are another factor. Sometimes genes play a big role. Sun exposure has a part to play too, but it also worsens the problem even if the original cause was not sun exposure.
While it’s important to investigate the actual cause of discolouration, using a combination of Vitamin C and sunscreen often helps combat the problem. The antioxidants in Vitamin C help control the excessive production of melanin, while sunscreen helps prevent UV rays from worsening the damage to troubled skin. If you have allergies or rashes, it’s really important to wear sunscreen so that the area which is irritated and red, doesn’t darken permanently due to sun exposure. Inflammatory UV rays on already-sensitised skin are like rubbing salt on wounds!
If you are using products to heal your acne scars, say, niacinamide, Vitamin C, or retinol, but not wearing sunscreen, that’s like drunk driving with a helmet on. Sure, the helmet might protect you, but you’re still drunk. You need to not be drunk as well as wear a helmet to be safe, right? That’s how healing acne scars works. You need to have a combination of scar-healing ingredients, as well as sunscreen to protect the skin while it heals.
This is because healing acne scars often requires resurfacing of skin, be it manually or on a microscopic, chemical level with ingredients like retinol. That means, old layers of skin are removed or subjected to harsh ingredients in order to peel back the damaged portion, revealing new but raw layers of fresh skin. This new skin, being so tender, is even more susceptible to sun damage. So, protecting it so that it doesn’t get inflamed and then turn into a permanent scar thanks to excessive melanin production in that area, is necessary. Hence, healing blemishes is impossible without using sunscreen.
Fine lines and premature photo-damage
Ageing is a privilege and a good thing. Wrinkles are inevitable, and a sign of all the times we smiled, all the expressions we have had. If you ask us, they serve as a map of our feelings on our face, and aren’t something you need to fight. But, fine lines don’t necessarily happen only with age, and can be premature too, depending on someone’s lifestyle, especially how much sunscreen they use.
However, many still use anti skin-ageing serums, anti-wrinkle creams, and other products to fight “ageing,” but without bothering to be strict about their sun protection routine. To those people we say: our skin shows signs of avoidable sun damage prematurely in the form of dullness, fine lines, loss of elasticity, sun spots, and more when we don’t wear sunscreen. So, instead of fighting ageing, if you fight sun damage by being religious about applying SPF every day, most of your battles will be won.