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April is coming, and according to the National Environment Agency’s records, it is one of the months with the highest UV index. What this means is that, more than any other month, there’s probably more reason to amp up your sun protection.

Why do we have to protect ourselves against UV?

The sun emits harmful ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB that damage the skin, age it prematurely, and increase the risk of skin cancer. UVB rays are the reason behind the sunburns we get, while UVA rays are associated with the wrinkling, ageing effects on the skin. Especially because we live in Singapore, one of the world’s highest ultraviolet index of 11.5, we must protect our skin all year round.

Sunscreen is a necessity for anyone that’s spending time outdoors, especially when snow, sand, or water are involved because they reflect the sun’s rays, increasing the intensity of UV damage. It’s important to generously coat any skin that isn’t covered up, and even protecting your lips.

But what sunscreen should we be looking for? The best type of sunscreen to get is one that has an SPF30 or higher, offers broad-spectrum protection (protects UVA and UVB), and is water-resistant. This is because SPF 30 blocks out 97% of UV rays, while SPF15 only blocks out 93%. Many of the products that we use daily do offer some sort of SPF, usually SPF15 to SPF 30, which is sufficient for everyday activities if you’re not planning to spend much time outdoors.

However, if you will be outdoors, your skin requires a higher SPF protection and a reapplication of sunscreen every two hours. It’s important to note that a higher SPF actually has the same wear time as a low SPF, so just because you’re using an SPF50 or higher, doesn’t mean you can forgo the reapplication.

Some other important facts to note

1. Just because the weather is cloudy or cold, doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen— this common misconception often leads to sunburns because people spend the day outdoors with no protection.

2. Although there are controversies that wearing sunscreen can cause vitamin D deficiency, you can still get vitamin D from foods and supplements without increasing the risk for skin cancer.

3. No sunscreen is waterproof or sweat-proof, instead they are “water-resistant” and labels will specify whether they protect the skin for 40 or 80 minutes of time in the water.

4. Even if you have tan skin, you still need sunscreen. Studies have shown that the darkest toned skin is an SPF 13.4, which is not high enough to prevent sunburn, accelerated skin ageing, or skin cancer.

5. Many people believe that by the age of 18, they’ve already had 80% of their sun exposure, and it’s too late to anything now. However, studies have shown that we get less than 25% of total sun exposure by 18, and in fact, it’s men over 40 who spend the most time outdoors. So it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin.

Here is a list of products that will help you protect your skin

1. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen

This new sun care product by Neutrogena is perfect for any user with eczema or sensitive skin. This sunscreen uses 100% zinc oxide to protect the skin without causing any chemical reactions. With an SPF50+, the formula is lightweight on the skin and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. This product also offers broad spectrum protection, reflecting the damaging UVA-UVB rays. It retails at SGD31.90 and is available at Guardian, Market Place, Unity, Watsons, and selected Cold Storage and Fair Price outlets.

2. Philosophy Brighten My Day

This product is used right before applying your makeup and is meant to not only hydrate and refine your skin’s texture, but also gives you a broad spectrum protection of the sun’s rays. With an SPF30, Brighten My Day features ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, an exclusive algae extract and daisy extract – all of which has a skin brightening effect on skin. This is great for anyone looking for a product with enough SPF, while benefiting the skin’s appearance on the daily with claims to refine textures, minimise appearance of pores, and improve luminosity. Philosophy products can be found at most Department Stores and all Sephora outlets, and this retails at SGD49.

3. SK-II Atmosphere Airy Light Emulsion

Under SK-II’s award-winning whitening series, the new Atmosphere Airy Light Emulsion is designed to combat signs of ageing caused by UV rays, infrared light and pollution. This product is used to protect and repair the skin and provide protection from the sun with SPF30, while repairing the visible ageing signs, such as wrinkles, spots, and dryness. It promises to protect the skin from any darkening and redness from UV exposure, and improving skin fairness after seven days of use. This retails at SGD99.

4. Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream

This colour correcting cream offers smooth coverage, while providing an SPF35 to defend the skin from sun damage. Because this product has self-adjusting components, it will help with discolouration and other imperfections for a more flawless complexion. This CC Cream reduces appearance of pores, lines and creases, as well as being lightweight for comfortable wearing. Supergoop! is available on the Sephora at SGD48.

5. Biore UV Perfect Spray Face & Body

If you’re looking for high sun protection coverage that’s fuss-free, go for this UV spray. It dries fast and can be sprayed over makeup without smudging it. You’ll also appreciate its lightweight texture and that it’s water- and sweat-proof, which are important qualities in Singapore’s humid weather. The Biore UV Perfect Spray has been “upsized” and now comes in a 75g bottle. It is available at all leading pharmacies and selected super- and hypermarkets at SGD10.90.

Read more tips about protecting your skin and products that help correct UV damage at the Daily Vanity Radiant Skin Guide.