Stay Young, Wear Sunscreen

How Much Sunscreen Should I Be Using on My Face and Body?; Myth or Fact? I Don’t Need Sunscreen If I Stay Indoors All Day.

Application of sunscreen is necessary for every individual, be it at home or stay outdoor. There are a few common causes or risk factors of getting pigmentation and premature ageing of the skin:

(1) prolong UV or sun exposure

(2) family history on pigmentation

(3) hormonal influence

(4) any inflammatory skin disorders like any previous injuries to your skin

(5) smoking

(6) malnutrition (antioxidants deficiency)

                As UV exposure is one of the main causes of pigmentation, protection against UV light is of utmost importance. When we look at sunscreen, the two main things to focus are (1) Sun Protection Factor (SPF), (2) Protection Grade of UV-A (PA). SPF helps to protect our skin against UVB, while PA will help to protect our skin against UVA. Whereas UVC, ozone layers have been doing the job for us, deflecting and reflecting harmful UVC from the sun.

How much SPF do we need to protect our skin against scorching sun exposure?

                SPF15 will block about 93% of UVB; while SPF30 will block about 97% of UVB; SPF50 will block about 98% of UVB; SPF100 will deflect about 99% of UVB. So does that mean that we need to get sunscreen of SPF100? Actually we do not really need to get as high as SPF100 because from the figure we can see that as higher SPF we go, there is only a minimal incremental gained, so a SPF50 will be sufficient to protect our skin against harmful UVB.

                On the other hand, a PA+++ will be optimum to protect our skin against UVA. Our skin contains three main layers: epidermis being the outer and uppermost layer, second layer is dermis and the third, innermost layer is the subcutaneous tissue. Dermis layer is the layer where our collagen sits. UVA being a longer wavelength than UVB, actually can travel deeper into the dermis layer and this can cause aging collagen. When our collagen loss, we will have aging skin. Thus, we need to protect our skin from harmful UVA to prevent free radical and radiation attacks.

Chemical sunscreen versus Physical sunscreen

                If we look at our sunscreen when it is labeled broad spectrum sunscreen, it means that it protects against both UVA and UVB. There are actually two types of commercially available sunscreen in market: chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen contains chemical filters like avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone, where it acts by absorbing UV rays, comforting them into heat and releasing it from our skin. Because of this, it might cause skin irritations like eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Also, another disadvantage of chemical sunscreen is that, there is a lag time, that means after application we need to wait for a 15 to 20 minutes prior to sun exposure because the sunscreen needs to get absorbed into our skin before it can work for us. If one has been using sunscreen and said that "no, I cannot tolerate. I have skin irritation after using it!" Probably he/she is using the wrong sunscreen and probably it is a chemical sunscreen.

                Perhaps, he/she should switch to physical sunscreen to better tolerate it. Physical sunscreen contains active ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. When it applies onto our skin, it acts by reflecting the UV ray. Unlike chemical sunscreen, physical sunscreen it works immediately, there is no lag time at all. Physical sunscreen is better for those people with sensitive skin and those people having skin condition like rosacea or even flushing.

                In fact, we need to reapply our sunscreen and the frequency is two to four hourly; two hourly if we have direct sun exposure or we are doing any sports or water sports, because after two hours probably the sunscreen is no longer there, so we need to reapply after that; while four hourly if we have infrequent sun exposure. Furthermore, even we work in the office and do not have any sun exposure, it is also necessary to apply sunscreen as well. This is because halogen light or lamp, or fluorescent lights or to a certain extent LED lights, they do emit a little UV ray, which is more of UVA, a little of UVB. As UVA is the main culprit that causes our skin to age, so application of sunscreen is important even we are staying in indoor.

UV filters: Why are they so important?

                Studies have been shown that during the summer we are subjected to a higher degree of UVB radiation than UVA, and this is when we protect ourselves with solar products. But what happens the rest of the year? The rest of the year, it is the UVA radiation that affects us most and normally we are not protected, which is why continuous solar protection is so important (Diffey, 1992). Every Day Protection SPF 40 is a moisturizing and emollient gel cream that contains an excellent physical sunscreen filter, Titanium Dioxide that acts as a booster of the SPF and manages to raise the protective efficiency of the product. Besides that, Every Day Protection SPF 40 is soluble in water. Majority of solar filters are only soluble in fat stage of the emulsion, and due to this, solar formulas are very rich in oil and are very greasy, which is why they usually have denser texture and always create a whitish finish on the skin. On being capsulated, Every Day Protection SPF 40 enables it to be uniformly dispersible in watery stage, therefore the texture is much lighter, smoother and does not leave white remains on skin, its application is much more pleasant!

                In fact, sunscreen cannot reverse pigmentation. Once we are having pigmentation, applying sunscreen will not remove pigmentation. However,  Every Day Protection SPF 40 can actually help to prevent new pigmentation from forming. As prevention is better than cure, application of sunscreen is vital even though having existing pigmentation.


Written by

Pearly Oh

Wellness Practitioner

Executive Master in Preventive Health(EMPH)

Major in Weight Management, Beauty & Skin


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  1. Diffey, B. L. (1992). Stratospheric ozone depletion and the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in a British population. Physics in Medicine & Biology37(12), 2267.