Lotus Herbals On The Benefits And Usage Of Sunscreens This Summer.

Hi! We all know in summer the harsh sun causes tanning and sunburn to our skin! But do we ever wonder how it happens or why is it dangerous? Lotus Herbals being a leading player in sunscreens have taken the intiative to update all the beauties on the benefits and usage of sunscreens this summer.

Understanding UV rays and their effect on human skin and health.
How UV rays affect the human skin?

UV rays affect the human skin in the following ways:
• They cause skin tan (simplest form of sun damage)
• Wrinkling and ageing of skin including brown spots etc.
• Sunburn
• Skin cancer (UV rays are increasingly responsible for skin cancer all over the world
especially due to depletion of the ozone hole).

What are the types of UV rays and the associated damage?

Scientists classify UV radiation into three types or bands - UVA, UVB, and UVC. The stratospheric ozone layer absorbs some, but not all, of these types of UV radiation:
UVA: Not absorbed by the ozone layer; causes tanning/darkening of skin and long-term skin damage. Mostly responsible for ageing of skin.
UVB: Mostly absorbed by the ozone layer, but some does reach the Earth's surface; causes sun burn and wrinkling

UVC: Completely absorbed by the ozone layer and oxygen.
“UVA and UVB that reach the Earth's surface contribute to the serious health effects listed above”

What is a Tan?
A tan is the skin’s simplest response to exposure to Ultra-Violet (UV) rays of the sun. The UVA component of the UV radiation is mainly responsible for triggering the pigment forming cells,
called melanocytes. These melanocytes produce the skin tanning/darkening pigment called ‘melanin’ which rises near the outer layer of skin thus making the skin look darker in color.

Why is Sun Tanning dangerous?

It has been scientifically proven that Tanning is actually the simplest form of skin damage. In some countries where fairer skinned people like to tan, there is a growing movement to tan just a little bit and not cause irreversible damage to the skin.

Is the Sun Tan of concern to South-Asian/Indian Skin?
Absolutely yes, 85% of South-Asians/Indians have brown/wheatish skin which is the most prone to tanning out of all the skin types. This has been concluded after exhaustive studies across the
world when determining the skin’s reactions to sun shine (Fitzpatrick’s Skin types).
Fitzpatrick’s Global Skin types

As shown in the above chart, the Indian brown or light-brown skin is the most prone to tan.

Does a Sunscreen/Sun Block protect against Tan?

Absolutely yes! Only products with full-spectrum UVA and UVB protection can guarantee. Protection from all the UV rays including the UVA rays that cause Tanning/Darkening. The amount of Tan Protection/Prevention depends on the combination of UV sunscreen filters used. For Tan prevention a higher concentration of UVA filters are used.

Understanding how to measure Sun Protection? What is SPF and PA and how are they measured?
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure for a sunscreen’s/sun block’s ability to protect from UVB rays on the skin for a period of time.
           Time without sunburn on application of sun block
SPF = ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Time for sunburn to occur without application of sun block

So, with an SPF of 30 you can stay out in the sun for 30 times longer, in ‘perfect conditions’, than you normally would do without your skin getting burned. Example, if your skin gets burned
in 20 minutes, with an SPF of 20 it will get burned not before 20 x 20 = 400 minutes.
Perfect conditions mean that you aren't in water or sweating, two things that usually go hand in hand with the sun. This also doesn't reflect sunscreen that can rub off from your clothing.
PA stands for Protection Grade of UVA system and is the Japanese measurement of sun protection, which is based on the Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) reaction reading at 2-4 hours of sun exposure. The Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) method is a method of measuring UVA protection, similar to the SPF method of measuring UVB light protection.
These are the three levels of UVA protection that are commonly used:
PA+, PA++ and PA+++.
PA+ provides some UVA protection with a factor of PPD 2-4
PA++ provides moderate UVA protection with a factor of PPD 4-8
PA+++ provides good UVA protection with a factor of PPD > 8
Which means, you’re better off picking a sunscreen with PA+++ which will provide you with the greatest protection.

The need for Higher and Better Sun Protection

Do I need higher SPF?

Most people use far less sunscreen than is recommended, high SPF sunscreens can offer better protection. Higher SPFs can help!
Higher SPF values offer some safety margin, since consumers generally do not apply enough sunscreen. To evaluate SPFs in a laboratory setting, testers apply two milligrams of sunscreen
per square centimeter of skin. But in everyday life, most people apply from only 0.5 to one milligram per square centimeter of skin. Consequently, the actual SPF they achieve is approximately 1/3 of the labeled value.

Do I need SPF-70 or SPF-90 even if SPF-30 blocks 96% of UVB rays?
Yes, if you want a healthier skin over a lifetime! A higher number is better. 99% is still better than 97% or 96%. Over a lifetime, a few more percentage points of protection can add up to a lot less sun damage!
Also, consumers typically apply very less sunscreens to achieve the protection levels as labeled on the products. To get the SPF on the pack, you must use a liberal amount on your body. And
that’s another benefit of wearing a UVB-UVA sunscreen with the highest possible SPF. Blocking an extra percent of UVB rays makes a significant difference over a lifetime! UV radiation also impairs the skin’s immune system in alarming ways. Sun exposure reduces the number of watchdog cells that help recognize and respond to antigens, and alters their function so they are as effective as dozing prison guards. The effect on immune suppression can set in
even before a sunburn.
A study in The British Journal of Dermatology in 2010 found that applying less than two ounces over the entire body at one time can leave people with an SPF rating far lower than what is on the bottle. Some studies have shown that people typically apply just 10 percent of the amount recommended.
“Consumers do not typically apply sunscreen in the proper amount, and only use anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the recommended amount. So they are not getting the protection they think they are getting."
Add to this, consumers do-not re-apply every 2hrs or the product gets wiped away by sweat, rubbing, touching or by clothing.
So, a sunscreen/sunblock with higher SPFs used over a lifetime may translate to healthier and better skin in later life. While the difference in the percentage of UV radiation blocked betweenan SPF-50 and SPF-90 may be slightly less than 1%, applying an SPF-90 may lead to much less cumulative sun damage over a lifetime and hence a much more healthier and better skin.
In summary:
  • Consumers use anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the recommended sunscreen/sunblock amount. So they are not getting the protection they think they are getting
  • Consumers do-not re-apply sunscreen/sunblock every 2hrs or the product gets wiped away by sweat, rubbing, touching or by clothing.
  • Over a lifetime, a few more percentage points of protection can add up to a lot less sun damage skin.
  • 99% is still better than 97% or 96%.
  • Higher SPF formulations also tend to last longer.
  • Blocking an extra percent of UVB rays makes a significant difference over a lifetime!
Why would you not want the opportunity to use a higher and better sunscreen?

Will a higher SPF damage/irritate my skin?

A sunscreen/sunblock with higher SPF does have higher amount of UV filters. Ofcourse! This necessarily does not mean it will damage/irritate your skin. There is no scientific proof in this
Lotus Herbals has gone a step ahead and formulated its higher SPF products without any preservatives (like parabens and phenoxy ethanols) but infused them with nourishing and neutralizing botanical extracts like Avacado and Carrot extracts.
Some dermatologists say SPF-30 or SPF-40 is more than optimum for Indian skin but some have started prescribing higher SPFs, which ones should I follow?
As sun protection is an evolving dermatology area, not all dermatologists may agree to the level of sun protection required for consumers. Follow the dermatologists you trust and make the
right choice for your skin.

I need to go to beach, which SPF should I use?
The level of skin protection depends upon:
1. Your Skin type – fairer skins require more UVB (SPF) protection than darker skins.
2. Duration of sun exposure.
3. Altitude – higher the altitude, higher is the protection required. People in mountainous regions need more protection.
4. Latitude – lower the altitude, higher is the protection required. Nearer to equator is higher protection need.
5. Time of the day – 12PM to 3PM is when you need high protection.

Also remember: many consumers returning from beach holidays or ski trips complain of burning within 45mins and aggressive tanning despite using SPF-40. The reason that they forget to re-apply every 2hrs or the product gets wiped away by sweat, rubbing, touching or by clothing.

Dark skin doesn't burn, so I don't need sunscreen?

All complexions can burn! A dark-skinned African consumer doesn't need as high an SPF sunblock as someone with fairer skin and red hair, since she has more melanin in her skin for natural protection. Still, that extra melanin doesn't guard against the UV damage that accelerates aging or causes cancer. If you have dark skin, you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Produced by Lotus Herbals Ltd. Research & Development Lab.
© All rights reserved.


  1. Very very good post pooja . . .extremely informative .. thanks for sharing <3

    1. Glad to help...and we should thank the Lotus Herbals team for coming up with this comprehensive information on this topic! :)

  2. This is such an informative post <3 I am so prone to tanning <3


  3. Wow! Loads of information in your post Pooja. I have very oily skin so I have to be careful as to what lotion or sunscreen I use. I am currently using Parachute advansed body lotion summer fresh. It has mint in it which is good for the summer months and it also has double sunscreen that protects my skin from the harch sun.


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