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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fairer skin with sunblock?



Asians in particular are really very fond of fair skin.

Hence, I have always been asked whether it is possible to obtain fairer skin with constant use of sunblock.

But before I answer that, let us look at the mechanism of how sunblocks work, first

Most sunblocks contain aromatic molecules conjugated with carbonyl groups. This structure is capable of absorbing high-energy UV rays. However, some of the structures are not as stable as the rest, e.g. avobenzone, as they break down under the presence of strong UV rays.


Fruit of The Earth SPF 50 Block Up! is an example of sunblock that uses avobenzone


So if you want to get yourself a sunblock, make sure it's a minimum of SPF30, Pa++, and does not contain avobenzone.

Now, let's talk about what happens to our skin when exposed to sun rays

When sun rays come in contact with our skin, melanin is produced to counter the ultraviolet rays from damaging our skin. Melanin are pigments produced by our skin as a natural form of protection against the sun.

Naturally, we will get darker if we were to stay under the sun very often, as our skin has to produce more melanin to protect our cells from being killed by the high-energy UV rays

So what if we were to apply sunblock?




When we apply a good broad spectrum sunblock on our skin, the ingredient in the sunblock is sufficient to provide protection for our skin cells from the sun, and there is no need to produce more melanin.

Sunblocks do NOT make your fairer, as they can't eliminate the melanin that has been present in your skin (unless they contain whitening ingredients) . It just prevents you from getting darker.


Sunplay Powdery White SPF 47 is an example of sunblock that contains whitening ingredients


So, if you are naturally dark, and you believe you couldn't get an darker, does that mean you can forget about applying sunblock?

That's not exactly correct

While it may be true that "getting darker" would not be noticeable on you, but production of melanin is just one of the side-effects of exposure to sun rays.

Constant exposure to sun rays can also lead to hyperpigmentation, discolorisation of the skin, sagging skin, skin cancer, etc.

Studies have also shown that more than 90 per cent of premature skin aging is caused by exposure to UV rays.




So if you wouldn't want to end up looking like a prune when you grow old, you'd probably want to get yourself a good sunblock.

Thanks for reading, and please leave me a comment, as it would motivate me to post more :D

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