Why You Need Sunscreen and What Ratings Mean

One of the integral aspects of Asian skincare is its focus on sun protection. Using sunscreen not only defends your skin against sunspots and faster aging, but also decreases your chances of skin cancer too. Australia is known for its aggressive UV rays, so it's extra important for us Aussies to use sunscreen and know how to apply it correctly.

Why should I wear sunscreen?

The sun is capable of doing much damage to your skin and health, primarily through two methods - UVB (Ultraviolet-B) rays and UVA (Ultraviolent-A) rays. Damaging amounts of UVB rays, which cause redness and sunburn, are mainly present on sunny days. On the other hand, UVA rays can be harmful even on cloudy days and cause deeper, more permanent damage.

Overexposure to UVB rays leads to sunburn, which you've no doubt experienced after a fun day at the beach or simply after taking a walk on a particularly sunny afternoon. Noone likes dealing with irritated, red skin that both hurts your complexion and feels dry and itchy. To prevent this, wearing a sunscreen with a high SPF is crucial if you're going to spend any practical amount of time in the sun.

UVA is trickier. These rays penetrate further into the skin to cause accelerated aging, hyperpigmentation and increased chances of skin cancer. This is especially worrying in Australia, which has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The damage from UVA can be irreversible, and there it's never too early to start with protecting your skin and health.

What do sunscreen ratings mean?

On every sunscreen, you'll find the SPF number and the letters PA followed by a series of + symbols. The SPF deals with UVB (Ultraviolet-B) rays and is a universal system. On the other hand, the PA deals with UVA rays and is only officially used in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea.

SPF is an abbreviation of "Sun Protection Factor" and indicates how long it takes for the effects of UVB rays to appear on the skin. For example, if a person typically burns under sunlight in 10 minutes, with a SPF of 35, they will burn in 350 minutes or just under 6 hours. It is recommend to select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 35 for optimal UVB protection.

PA stands for "Protection grade of UVA" and, as the name suggests, measure the efficiency of the sunscreen in protecting against UVA damage. It is actually a simplification of the PPD (Persistent Pigmentation Darkening), a factor of how long your skin takes to darken under sunlight. The more +s there are, the better the sunscreen is at defending against UVA. Your sunscreen should be at least PA++.

Recommend me a good sunscreen?

Many are turned off by the thought of wearing sunscreen daily due to the heavy feeling and white cast. Luckily, Korean beauty has introduced many innovations in this field due to its obsession with sun protection The Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen is housed in an easy, travel-friendly squeeze tube and boasts an SPF of 50 and a PA+++.

The texture is thin and spreadable, and leaves no uncomfortable feeling or discernible white cast after blending in. It has a light minty fragrance that does not linger once applied. This sunscreen wears particularly well under makeup, not causing our foundation to pill or apply unevenly during testing.

In conclusion, sunscreen is a product that you should never skip on. Korean beauty brands provide some quality options that don't make sunscreen a core - check them out at CY House here.

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