Is sunscreen really important for your skin?

Sunscreen is considered much-needed skin care ritual by many people across globe, however, it may not be essential

By Web Desk
June 15, 2024
A person applying sunscreen on their hands. — Unsplash/File

Sunscreen is regarded as an important skin protecting tool especially by the people residing in regions with extreme sunlight.

As the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) instructs people to “apply sunscreen every day on skin not covered by clothing if you will be outside,” conversation on the internet has made it clear that not everyone goes by with this strict approach.


Sunscreen works with the formation of a coating that absorbs ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the Sun before it enters the skin. Spurring the formation of a mutation that may become a cancerous cell, this radiation can permanently damage skin cell DNA.

Speaking about the requirement of sun exposure, Jonathan Ungar, an assistant professor of dermatology and medical director of the Waldman Melanoma and Skin Cancer Centre at Mount Sinai, told Health: “Generally speaking, light-skinned people only need about 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure on the face, arms, and legs a few times a week to get all the vitamin D they need.”

Before exposure to very short bursts of sunshine, such as a quick walk to your car, he thinks that it is necessary to apply sunscreen. However, according to him whether you should go outside without sunscreen for more prolonged periods is a more complicated question.

“It is ultimately a matter of finding a balance between risks and benefits, ideally one in which the benefits outweigh the risks,” Ungar said. “As I tell my patients, there are two main ways to get Vitamin D, sun exposure vs supplementation. Only one of these is known to increase the risk of skin cancer, but you have to choose for yourself.”

The main idea is to gather the benefits of the Sun without causing changes or damage to your skin’s appearance. Moreover, sun damage can be indicated even by a mild redness and a tan.