Advanced screening
Date: 02 June 2016

Figure out in what situations using an SPF is non-negotiable (don’t even try putting on your puppy dog face to get out of it) - By Parizaad Khan Sethi

Humans, as a species, are notorious for choosing what feels good to us over what is good for us. It doesn’t help that do-gooders, like green veggies or TRX training are, well, tedious. (Sorry kale advocates and TRX worshippers, your holy leaf and suspension system, respectively, have failed to convince most of us otherwise).

But we’re hoping to convince you to do the one thing people find pretty damn tedious—wear SPF. We’ve blabbered on and on about why everyone, irrespective of age, cast and sexual orientation should wear sunscreen here but there are three instances when you should NEVER be without it (yes those all caps were totally justified).

1) While using a retinol or an AHA or BHA product in your skincare routine

Retinols, alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are powerful anti-ageing ingredients and the gold standard when it comes to skincare. They work in different ways, but the common factor is they speed up the production of skin cells, helping you shed old, dull ones and replace them with shiny new ones. However, the fresh cells that are revealed are more susceptible than usual to UV light and need to be protected, just like a baby. To avoid burns and damage to your skin, slather on a high SPF like La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Fluid - SPF 50 PA+.

2) When you’re prone to acne

Acne is a beast, and even more beastly are the marks it leaves behind, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The marks can range in colour from pink to red and brown and the sun has been proven to darken these spots, which causes them to linger much longer. A sunscreen will not stop them from forming, but will make a world of a difference in the amount of time they spend with you.

3) When pigmentation is a problem

Indian skin types suffer from a variety of pigmentation problems which are triggered by an overproduction of melanin. The skin takes on a mottled appearance and looks darker in patches. Some hyperpigmentation may be caused by hormonal factors and can be quite hard to treat, but applying a quality sunscreen like Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ will help. In addition, hyperpigmentation sufferers should wear a hat and limit their time outdoors, as research shows that excessive amounts of heat as well as sunlight aggravate the problem.

It’s worth remembering that sun spots and other signs of sun damage become visible several years after the damage has been done. Start wearing sunscreen when you’re young and unmarked by the golden ball of doom, so you can keep looking that way. And while you’re at it, don’t do drugs and eat your veggies.

Advanced screening
Parizaad Khan Sethi

is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.