Do sunscreen lotions have any side-effects?

Read this before investing in a good sunscreen.

You might be applying dollops of sunscreen on your face, hands and other exposed parts of the body. And you know that it is important to apply sunscreen before you go out in the sun to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and the consequence damage. However, we know that too much of anything (even sunscreen) could be harmful in one way or the other. Here are 11 sunscreen mistakes that you should avoid.

So, we got talking to Dr I K Ramchandani, Director of Dermatology at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre to know if sunscreens have any side-effects. Here is what he said, Sunscreens, in general, don t have any adverse side-effects as such and it is necessary to apply before going out in the sun. Its prime function is to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays. However, if one has a tendency to develop acne and is allergic to one or any component listed in the ingredients on the label then overuse of that particular product could lead to an acne flare up and eruptions all over. It is necessary to pick a sunscreen after consultation with your dermatologist if you have a relative sensitive skin. Here is how to choose the right sunscreen for you.

Sunscreens usually contain titanium dioxide (TiO2), kaolin, talc, zinc oxide (ZnO), calcium carbonate, and magnesium oxide. Newer chemical compounds, such as bemotrizinol, avobenzone, bisoctizole, benzophenone-3 (BZ-3, oxybenzone), and octocrylene, are broad-spectrum agents and are effective against a broad range of solar spectrum both in experimental models and outdoor settings [1]. How well a sunscreen works depends on the composition and strength of its components.

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However, if you are not allergic to any cosmetic compound then you can apply a sunscreen with an SPF factor of 30. Studies have shown that for the Indian skin type an SPF 30 is an apt choice. There is no harm if you want to invest in a sunscreen that is of a higher SPF value but it will serve no purpose and could make a whole in your pocket, says Dr Ramchandani.

Some sunscreens might make you feel dry and parched all over your face and hands, This happens because some of them also have a drying agent in them. To keep your skin moisturised applying a coat of moisturiser before applying the sunscreen can help to take care of it, says Dr Ramchandani.

Since sunscreens are supposed to protect one from UV rays, at times, it can get in the way of absorption of Vitamin D. People suffer from vitamin D deficiency and this could be one of the reason. But sunscreens enriched with vitamin D would not be able to take care of this deficiency. Instead, having vitamin D pills once a fortnight is a better option to replenish it, says Dr Ramchandani.

Apart from this, applying sunscreens don t have any severe implications.


[1] Latha, M. S., Martis, J., Shobha, V., Shinde, R. S., Bangera, S., Krishnankutty, B., ... & Kumar, B. N. (2013). Sunscreening agents: a review. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 6(1), 16.

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