Best Sunscreen OTC products, Home Remedies & more

Sunscreen, also known as sunblock or suntan lotion, absorbs some of the sun’s ultraviolence (UV) rays and thus, protects one’s skin from sunburn. Continuous use of sunscreen can also slow down or prevent one’s skin from sagging. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB rays. These rays cause skin pigmentation, increase the risk of cancer and cause the skin to age prematurely. UVA rays also worsen the cancer-causing effects of UVB rays. Sunscreens usually vary in their capability to protect one’s against UVA and UVB. 

Generally, sunscreens are labelled with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which measures the fraction of UVB and UVA rays reaching the skin. Thus, SPF measures the level of protection given by the sunscreen from the UV rays. Applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 will block 93% of the harmful UV rays. Sunscreen with SPF 30 will block 97% of the harmful UV rays. Sunscreen with SPF 50 blocks 98% of the harmful UV rays. Sunscreens with SPF 15 are the most commonly used sunscreens worldwide.

Benefits of Sunscreen

The following are the benefits of Sunscreen:

  • Sunscreen prevents premature skin aging. Regular sunscreen users experience 24% lesser aging signs than irregular users of sunscreen.
  • Sunscreen prevents tanning. Dermatologists claim that tanning is not healthy for one’s skin. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to tanning, which harms one’s skin. Applying sunscreen regularly prevents tanning.
  • Sunscreen improves the health of one’s skin. It has proteins such as; collagen, keratin, and elastin which help in keeping the skin healthy and smooth.
  • Sunscreen also helps in reducing the appearance of facial red veins and facial brown spots.
  • Sunscreen helps in decreasing the chance of skin cancer as it blocks the harmful UVA and UVB rays from reaching one’s skin.

Top 10 OTC Sunscreen to Use

OTC refers to over-the-counter products which are safe and right for use. The following products are safe for one to use: 

  • Lotus 3 in 1 Matte Lock Daily Sunblock SPF 40 – This sunscreen helps in protecting one’s skin from the sun, leads to skin lightening and mattifying. This is the best for people who have dark skin, and those who use makeup. It also comes with a variant of SPF 50.
  • VLCC Matte Look Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 with Pineapple Extracts – This sunscreen works for all skin types. If one has oily skin, they won’t feel the need to use an added moisturizer along with this sunscreen. It lasts for around 3 to 4 hours in the sun.
  • Lakme Sun Expert UV Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 – This sunscreen is lightweight and causes skin brightening. It is suitable for all skin types as well.
  • Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Sunscreen Spray SPF 70 – This sunscreen is lightweight and sweat-free. It also has a nice aroma and is suitable for all skin types. 
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer dry-touch Sunblock SPF 50 –  This sunscreen is lightweight, and hydrates one’s skin. It is oil-free and waterproof. It can be used for all skin types. It is also sweat-free and lasts for about 4 hours in the sun.
  • LaRoche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 60 – This sunscreen is oil and sweat-free. It is also lightweight and causes skin brightening. It is suitable for all skin types.
  • Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream SPF 30 – This sunscreen is also oil and sweat-free. It keeps the skin hydrated and is water-resistant.
  • L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30 – This sunscreen has Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and retinol which helps in giving one’s skin glow, and a hydrated look. It is oil-free and suitable for all skin types.
  • The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 – This sunscreen is hydrating, oil-free, and non-greasy. It can be used daily and can be used for kids as well. 
  • Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30 – This sunscreen care oil spray is sweat and oil-free. It is non-greasy and can be used for one’s skin as well as one’s hair

Homemade Natural Sunscreen

One can also make sunscreen at home, using natural products. Below are 10 remedies for making homemade sunscreen – 

Shea Butter Lavender Sunscreen: All the ingredients needed to make this sunscreen are available online or in beauty/drug stores. To make this sunscreen, you will need:

  • 10 drops of lavender oil,
  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate oil (optional),
  • 3/4th cup of coconut oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter,
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide, 
  • 100 ml of water and
  • Glass jar.

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps below – 

  1. Mix all the ingredients except for the zinc oxide and water in the glass jar. 
  2. Place the ingredients in a saucepan and mix them together with 100 ml of water. 
  3. Once all the ingredients are combined add the zinc oxide. Stir this mixture well.
  4. Keep the mixture aside in a cool, dry place for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, you can store this mixture in the glass jar or any other container.
  6. Your sunscreen is ready.
  7. This sunscreen lasts for up to 8 months in the refrigerator.

Almond Vitamin Oil Sunscreen – To make this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup of almond oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide,
  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax,
  • 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel,
  • ½ cup of distilled water, and
  • 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil.

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below – 

  1. Mix the beeswax with the almond oil in a bowl.
  2. Add some water to a pan on medium heat and put the mixture of the beeswax and almond oil on it and stir well until it’s melted.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove, and add Vitamin E oil and stir well until it’s combined. 
  4. Now, add the zinc oxide and stir well. After it’s mixed together, keep this mixture aside.
  5. Heat the distilled water and add aloe vera gel in it on a saucepan.
  6. Now, add the zinc oxide mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly.
  7. Now, pour the mixture into a container and leave it in a cool, dry place for it to thicken.
  8. After 30 minutes, your sunscreen is ready to use.
  9. This sunscreen lasts for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Almond and Coconut Oil Sunscreen – To make this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • ½ cup of almond oil,
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax,
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide,
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter, and
  • 1 tsp of Vitamin E Oil (Optional).

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below – 

  1. Combine the beeswax shea butter, almond oil, and coconut oil in a big bowl. 
  2. Add some water in a saucepan and place the bowl in the middle of the pan for it to heat up. 
  3. Stir well until the ingredients melt.
  4. When all ingredients have melted, take the bowl out of the saucepan, and add the zinc oxide. Stir well, until well mixed.
  5. Add the vitamin E oil to the mixture and stir well.
  6. Pour this mixture in a container in which you want to store the sunscreen and mix well. 
  7. Your sunscreen is ready.
  8. This sunscreen lasts up to a year when stored in the refrigerator.

Coconut Oil Sunscreen – To make this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • ½ cup of Coconut Oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of Zinc Oxide,
  • 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil,
  • 10 drops of lavender oil.

The following are the steps to make this sunscreen –

  1. Whip the coconut oil and lavender oil in a blender.
  2. Now, empty this mixture in a container in which you will be storing your sunscreen.
  3. Slowly and carefully add the zinc oxide and the Vitamin E oil and mix it well.
  4. Store it aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, your sunscreen is ready.
  5. This sunscreen lasts for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Coconut and Carrot Seed Oil Sunscreen – For this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • ½ cup of coconut oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide,
  • 10 drops of carrot seed oil, and
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter.

The following are the steps to make this sunscreen –

  1. Mix the coconut oil, carrot seed oil and shea butter in a blender until well mixed.
  2. Now, empty this mixture in a container in which you will be storing your sunscreen.
  3. Store it aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, your sunscreen is ready.
  4. This sunscreen lasts for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Almond Oil and Lavender Sunscreen – For this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup of almond oil,
  • 15 drops of lavender oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter, and
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide.

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below –

  1. Mix the almond oil, lavender seed oil and shea butter in a blender until well mixed.
  2. Now, empty this mixture in a container in which you will be storing your sunscreen.
  3. Store it aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, your sunscreen is ready.
  4. This sunscreen lasts for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Coconut Oil Sunscreen – To make this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup of coconut oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide,
  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax,
  • 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel,
  • 2 tablespoons of shea butter,
  • ½ cup of distilled water, and
  • 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil.

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below – 

  1. Mix the beeswax with the coconut oil and shea butter in a bowl.
  2. Add some water to a pan on medium heat and put the mixture of the beeswax and almond oil on it and stir well until it’s melted.
  3. Remove the pan from the stove, and add Vitamin E oil and stir well until it’s combined. 
  4. Now, add the zinc oxide and stir well. After it’s mixed together, keep this mixture aside.
  5. Heat the distilled water and add aloe vera gel in it on a saucepan.
  6. Now, add the zinc oxide mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly.
  7. Now, pour the coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter mixture into a container and leave it in a cool, dry place for it to thicken.
  8. After 30 minutes, your sunscreen is ready to use.
  9. This sunscreen lasts for 6 months in the refrigerator.  

Cacao Powder Sunscreen – The ingredients needed to make this sunscreen are:

  • ¾ cup of natural body lotion (you can use VLCC, Biotique, or Lotus Herbals lotion),
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide,
  • 10 drops of lavender oil or Vitamin E oil,
  • 1 teaspoon of cacao powder.

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below – 

  1. Mix all the ingredients except for zinc oxide in a blender or a food processor until it is mixed thoroughly.
  2. Pour the mixture into a container and add zinc oxide to it.
  3. Stir the zinc oxide in the mixture until everything is mixed well together.
  4. Store the mixture aside in a cool and dry place for up to 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, your sunscreen is ready.
  6. This sunscreen lasts for up to a year in the refrigerator.  

Lavender Oil and Aloe Vera Gel Sunscreen – To make this sunscreen, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup of lavender oil,
  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax,
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide,
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel, and
  • 1 tsp of Vitamin E Oil (Optional).

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below – 

  1. Combine the beeswax, aloe vera, and lavender oil in a big bowl. 
  2. Add some water in a saucepan and place the bowl in the middle of the pan for it to heat up. 
  3. Stir well until the ingredients melt.
  4. When all ingredients have melted, take the bowl out of the saucepan, and add the zinc oxide. Stir well, until well mixed.
  5. Add the vitamin E oil to the mixture and stir well.
  6. Pour this mixture in a container in which you want to store the sunscreen and mix well. 
  7. Your sunscreen is ready. 
  8. This sunscreen lasts for 6 months in the refrigerator.  

Coconut Oil and Cocoa Butter Sunscreen – To make this sunscreen, use the following ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of coconut oil,
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa butter,
  • 2 tablespoons of beeswax,
  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel,
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and
  • 1 teaspoon of lavender oil (optional).

To make this sunscreen, follow the steps given below –

  1. Blend all the ingredients except for sesame oil and lavender oil in a blender or a food processor. 
  2. Once the mixture is ready, add the lavender oil and the sesame oil and stir the mixture well.
  3. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes in a cool and dry place.
  4. Your sunscreen is ready. 
  5. This sunscreen lasts for 6 months in the refrigerator. 

Precautions

While using sunscreen, one must take the following precautions:

  • It is important to make sure that all your exposed body parts are covered with sunscreen before you leave the house. This includes your feet and the back of your neck as well.
  • It is common for people of sensitive skin to be allergic to some chemicals present in store-bought sunscreens. Thus, before buying a sunscreen, test some of it on your elbow, if it does not redden or cause irritation, you can buy it.
  • Sunscreen also blocks the skin from absorbing Vitamin D. Thus, it is essential to make sure you’re consuming enough Vitamin D through the food items that have Vitamin D in them.
  • If you’re applying sunscreen to kids, make sure that the product you’re using has the least amount of chemicals. Kids have more sensitive skin than adults, thus, it is better to use homemade sunscreen for them. You can also buy natural sunscreen for them.

Myths and Facts 

Myth: There is no need to apply sunscreen in the monsoon season and in winters.

Fact: This is not true. About 40% of the sun’s harmful UV rays reach the earth even on a cloudy day. Though the percentage of UV rays’ absorption in one’s skin is less, it is still present. Thus, it is essential to apply sunscreen even if it’s a cloudy day or during winter.

Myth: Applying sunscreen only once is enough.

Fact: This is not true. Even when you’re using sunscreen with SPF 50, it will fade away in 3 hours if you’re outside. If one is going to have a long day outside, directly under the sun, then sunscreen should be reapplied after every 2 to 3 hours. If one is staying at home during the daytime, they should reapply sunscreen every 4 hours. Sunscreen should be at once reapplied after swimming or sweating. 

Myth: Kids don’t need sunscreen.

Fact: This is not true. Dermatologists claim that kids above the age of six months should apply sunscreen. Kids who play outside in the sun should apply sunscreen with SPF 15 as it will help to keep their skin healthy and protect it from tanning. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Sunscreen

Q: Who should use sunscreen? 

A: Anyone who is older than six months should use sunscreen regularly. Kids over the age of six months must also use sunscreen when they go out to play or go to school. Those who stay at home during the daytime should also use sunscreen while at home. This is because they are still exposed to harmful radiation from the sun while they’re in the house. Children under six months should not be exposed to sun rays directly as their skin is very sensitive and harmful radiation of the sun can cause rashes.

Q: How much sunscreen should one use? 

A: To ensure that you get full protection from the SPF, one should apply about 30 ml of sunscreen (or 4 tablespoons of sunscreen) on all the areas of the body that will be exposed to the sun. It is also advisable to use about a quarter of the sunscreen bottle (8 to 10 tablespoons of sunscreen) if one is going to have a long day under the sun. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going out to allow the ingredients to blend in one’s skin.

Q: Can wearing sunscreen cause Vitamin D deficiency? 

A: There is some controversy about this issue. Some dermatologists believe that applying sunscreen can block the absorption of Vitamin D in one’s body. However, Vitamin D is available in the form of supplements as well as in various food items. It’s important to consider different options of taking in Vitamin D if you’re using sunscreen regularly.

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