What is the Right Age to Start Using Sunscreen?

a woman has applied sunscreen on her back


Everyone!! to put it perfectly. 

Children, men or women, all above six months of age, should apply sunscreen every day. This includes all individuals who are prone to quick tanning and those who forget that it’s not about only burning from the skin, but it’s about skin damage due to sun exposure. 

Only babies under the age of six months are exempt; their skin is extremely sensitive. Stay out of the sun; the best strategies to protect newborns are shade umbrellas and sun-protective clothes.

The best sunscreen is the one you're most likely to use, as long as it's safe and effective, has an SPF of 15 or above, and is broad spectrum. And the best sunscreen for the face is that does not breakouts on the face and suits you better. One can make the best decisions for their requirements if they can learn about the alternatives. The more is satisfaction with the sunscreen one used, the higher the chances that one will apply it frequently. Sunscreen comes in form of sunscreen cream, lotion, gel and spray.

What exactly is SPF stand for?

SPF or Sun Protection Factor is a term used to know how sunscreen is effective against sunburn. The number indicates how long it would take the sun's UVB rays to turn red on your skin if you applied sunscreen exactly as prescribed against how long it would take if you didn't apply sunscreen. 

Sunscreen contains active chemicals that help shield your skin from the sun's UV rays. The two types of sunscreen operate in the following ways for you:

  1. Physical (mineral) sunscreen components block and deflect rays before they penetrate your skin, including the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
  2. Chemical sunscreen compounds (such as avobenzone and octisalate) absorb UV radiation before they cause skin harm.

When Should You Use Sunscreen?

  • For best results, one should use sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure to the sun so that skin can absorb the sunscreen and will not be washed away by sweat. 
  • One should make sure that they reapply sunscreen after heavy exercise or swimming
  • If you work outside, wear helmets and protective clothes and apply sunscreen frequently throughout the day.

How to Apply Sunscreen?

  • Before using, give it a good shake to mix any particles that may have compacted up in the container. One can think of using a sunscreen which can be stick-on or spray-on
  • Make sure you have adequate sunblock on. Use a handful to cover your entire body as a rule of thumb.
  • Use on all sun-exposed areas of your body, including your ears, back, shoulders, and the backs of your knees and legs.
  • Apply generously and completely.
  • Be cautious when you use sunscreen near your eyes

When Buying Sunscreen, Keep These Things in Mind

  • Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 or more that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Read the labels on the products. If you'll be sweating or swimming, look for a waterproof brand. 
  • Purchase a non-stinging product or one designed specifically for your face.
  • If you're allergic to para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), go for a brand that doesn't include it.
  • If your skin is reacting poorly to the sunscreen you're using, try a different one with different ingredients. The components in all sunscreens are not the same.
  • If one is prone to acne or has oily skin, they can use a sunscreen that is water-based. Water-based sunscreen is the best sunscreen for oily skin.
  • Although a more expensive brand may feel or smell nice, it is not always more effective than a less expensive product.
  • Since some sunscreen chemicals may degrade over time, keep an eye on the expiration date.

Other things to think about

  • Risk factors for skin cancer include: The level of protection you require is determined by your skin type and family history.
  • Photosensitivity: Regardless of your skin type, many medications and conditions make your skin extremely sensitive to the sun, necessitating increased sun protection.
  • There are sunscreens for dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin, and sensitive skin available.

When Should I Start Using Sunscreen?

Sun protection for babies should begin as soon as they are born. This involves keeping babies in the shade and putting them in sun-protective gear such as long-sleeved shirts, slacks, and hats. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that babies wear sunscreen after they reach the age of six months. 

One should obviously continue using other methods of sun protection. As physical filters are not dependent on chemical absorption and have lower chances of reactions on the skin, Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide could be good alternatives, as per the Skin Cancer Foundation.

When Should I Stop Using Sunscreen?

As we become older, our bodies lose their ability to heal sun-damaged cells. As one’s immune system weakens due to age, one starts becoming more prone to skin cancer.

Take Away

Sun protection should begin at the age of zero, with sunscreen beginning at the age of six months preferably with a mineral-only sunscreen, and sun protection is vital regardless of age. It is critical for everyone to understand the fundamentals and advantages of sun protection.