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Five Things to Look For In A Sunscreen

Everyone, and we do mean every single person, needs a good sunscreen. Here’s a short list of things we want in our sun protection.

  1. They should protect from pollution too

UV rays are detrimental to our skin health, but airborne impurities can be just as bad. The air in Metropolitan cities often have free radicals, fine particles and pollutants that settle on the face, irritate skin and increase the production of toxins in cells. This weakens and ages skin, causing the complexion to appear grey, dull and lacking vitality. More and more beauty brands, Dior for example, are releasing sun protection that have anti-pollution properties to prevent the build-up of toxins and act like a topcoat on your face to prevent pollution from coming into contact with skin.

  1. PA++++ is a plus (if not a must)

The PA level on a sunscreen measures the UVA protection it provides. UVA rays have the ability to penetrate deeper to affect the dermis (the second layer of your skin) and is one of the main causes premature ageing, resulting in the formation of wrinkles, dryness and pigmentation.

In 1996, the Japanese Cosmetic Industry Association (JCIA) introduced a three-tiered PA grading to measure UVA protection. UVA protection is measured with the Japanese developed Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) method. To get a protection grade of PA+, sunscreens need to provide a PPD protection factor of two to four. For a protection grade of PA++, a PPD of four to eight is needed; while a protection factor of eight to 16 is required for PA+++.

However, the JCIA has modified their PA system to accommodate the higher UVA protection that sunscreens now provide. Dr Goh Boon Kee, consultant dermatologist and medical director of Skin Physicians at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, shares: The JCIA revised the PA system to a four-tier grading system after adopting a new in-vivo UVA testing method in 2012 to include PA++++. This provides a PPD protection factor of 16 and above.”

Many beauty giants like Kose, YSL Beaute and Clarins have all adopted this in their sunscreens.