Sunscreen/sunblock isn’t exactly the most exciting product out there. Nobody went OMG SUNSCREEN.
When I was in school, I was in archery and I loved general sports, jogging, swimming, etc. I also happened to be in a particularly rebellious phase. Chinese people love being fair, so of course I had to be as tanned as possible. And obviously I didn’t care about sunscreen.
Now that I’m older, vainer and generally wiser, I slather on sunscreen everyday. But what is it and why do you need it?
In Singapore especially when its summer year round and the only seasons are hot or hotter, sunscreen is SUPER important. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays damage our skin cells and the DNA inside, causing aging, wrinkles, sunspots and burnt skin and in extreme cases, skin cancer. This is extremely anecdotal and unscientific (sorry, science teachers) so feel free to read up more if you want.
Basically, the best thing you can do for your skin is AVOID THE SUN LIKE A PLAGUE.
Based in my anecdotal experiences though, of course tans (to a certain degree) are sexy and make you glow (it isn’t called a sun-kissed glow for nothing.) I also notice that for example, when I swim more in the afternoon sun my facial skin tends to get better, with less spots etc. But what we must remember is that these are all good when we are young, and it will bite us in the ass when we’re 30 and beyond and getting dark spots and wrinkles and whatever else.
Obviously we can’t avoid the sun 24/7, so what we can do is reduce sun exposure and wear a lot of sunscreen.
Sunscreen is a confusing thing, I know. I am haunted by greasy white lotions from childhood memories when going to the zoo or similar. That’s why I’d rather tan. But nowadays sunscreens have become very advanced and nice!
In the picture above I have the 3W clinic intensive UV sunblock. It blocks both UVB (burnt skin) and UVA (skin cancer) rays, meaning it’s broad spectrum and something you should be using on a daily basis. A quick perusal of the ingredients show Titanium oxide and Zinc oxide, which are physical sunscreens.
And this is Paula’s Choice skin balancing Ultra Sheer daily moisturizer with SPF 30. It’s a chemical sunscreen using avobenzone and some other chemicals I haven’t heard of but are basically sunscreen.
Titanium Oxide is blindingly white, so physical sunscreens tend to have a white cast, which isn’t too much of a deal breaker for me because by not being able to go out after having my baby I am getting even fairer. I can dedinitely see how it would be a hindrance to darker skinned people though. They generally stay on your face as a physical barrier until broken down/worn off by environmental factors,; face oil, water, sweat, etc. Chemical sunscreens generally wear off after about 2 hours and need frequent reapplication, and you’re supposed to let them sit on your skin for half an hour before make up (ain’t no time fo that shit.) So both of them have their benefits and downfalls.
Next part of this post will be comparing the two and which might be better for you!