Summer`s warm glow can be deceiving. While it beckons us with long days and playful vibes, the sun`s rays also pose a threat to our skin and hair. Increased sun exposure can lead to sunburn, premature ageing, and even a higher risk of skin cancer. The sun can strip away natural oils of your hair, leading to dryness, frizz, and split ends. In order to protect your skin, it is advisable to thoroughly cleanse, hydrate, soothe or calm the skin and last but not least, protect your skin with sunscreen.

“Sunscreen is extremely imperative not just in summer, but throughout the year. During the hot summer months in India, people tend to avoid excessive layering to avoid sticky and oily skin, resulting in inadequate protection from sun damage as sunscreen is often the last layer applied,” says Dr. Rashmi Shetty, cosmetic dermatologist, Ra Aesthetics and Dermatology. 
Sun protection is no longer confined to messy lotions and greasy creams. Sunscreen sticks are revolutionising sun care with their convenient, portable design. They`re perfect for quick reapplication throughout the day, ensuring you stay shielded from the sun`s damaging effects no matter how busy your schedule gets. Shetty explains, “Re-application of sunscreen is recommended every 2-3 hours as the effect of the sunscreen starts to wear off, especially if you are out in the sun for longer periods of time. A simple solution to reapplication is sunscreen sticks.” Below, the skin expert squashes all doubts, and shares a guide to selecting the right sunscreen stick.
How do sunscreen sticks work?
: Sunscreen sticks are an excellent option for sun protection, especially for those on the go. These sticks contain a blend of physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and sometimes chemical blockers like avobenzone. Their solid, wax-based formulation allows for precise application, which is ideal for delicate areas such as the face, nose, and ears. The texture ensures that the product stays put, providing a water-resistant barrier that`s less likely to rub off with sweat or water exposure. Additionally, the convenience of a stick format makes it easy to carry and reapply, ensuring continuous protection without the mess.
How are they different from sunscreens?
: A few key differences between sunscreen sticks and regular sunscreens are:

Formulation or consistency: Sunscreen sticks are more solid whereas regular sunscreens are merely creams or lotions.

Application: Sunscreen sticks are more precise and meant for small, delicate areas whereas regular sunscreens cover larger areas of the body and require blending.

Texture and longevity: Sunscreen sticks are usually water-resistant whereas regular sunscreens may be runnier and require more frequent application, particularly after swimming or if you’re sweating.

Convenience: Sunscreen sticks are easy to apply whereas regular sunscreens tend to get messier on account of the blending.

Usage: Sunscreen sticks are ideal for on-the-go use and reapplication whereas regular sunscreens are more suited for comprehensive coverage of larger body areas

Eye safety: Sunscreen sticks, due to their waxy nature, are less likely to run into the eyes and cause irritation when compared to regular sunscreens which may run into the eyes when sweating. 
Are sunscreen sticks easier to apply? How frequently are they supposed to be reapplied?
: Sunscreen sticks should be reapplied every two hours for optimal protection, especially if you are outdoors and exposed to sunlight. If you are swimming or sweating heavily, it is essential to reapply more frequently, ideally every 80 minutes, as water and sweat can reduce the effectiveness of the sunscreen. Always ensure thorough coverage, particularly on areas prone to sun exposure, to maintain continuous protection throughout the day.
Are sunscreen sticks capable of leaving a white cast? 
: Sunscreen sticks can sometimes leave a white cast, especially those that contain physical blockers like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. This is because these ingredients sit on the skin’s surface to reflect UV rays, which can result in a visible white residue. However, many modern formulations have improved significantly to minimise this effect. For those concerned about a white cast, opting for a tinted sunscreen stick could pose as a good solution. However, always remember to test the product on a small area of your skin to see how it blends before full application.
How to select the best option?
: Selecting the right sunscreen stick is crucial for effective sun protection, particularly among the cluttered market. A few points to keep in mind:
Consider your skin type: Determine if you have dry, oily, sensitive, or ageing skin. Look for a sunscreen stick formulated to address your specific skin concerns.
Check the SPF: Ensure the sunscreen stick has a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Look for key ingredients: Depending on your skin type and concerns, choose a sunscreen stick with appropriate ingredients. For example, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for sensitive skin, niacinamide for oily skin, or antioxidants for ageing skin.
Texture and feel: Test the texture of the sunscreen stick to ensure it glides smoothly onto the skin without feeling greasy or heavy. It should also blend easily without leaving a noticeable white cast.
Water-resistance: If you’ll be sweating or swimming, opt for a water-resistant sunscreen stick to ensure long-lasting protection.
Which ingredients to look for different skin types?
: Based on your skin type, here are a few key ingredients to look for:
For dry skin
Look for sunscreen sticks containing moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or shea butter. These ingredientshelp hydrate the skin while providing sun protection.
For oily or acne-prone skin
Opt for oil-free or non-comedogenic sunscreen sticks. Ingredients such as niacinamide or salicylic acid can help control oil production and prevent breakouts.
For sensitive skin
Choose sunscreen sticks with gentle, mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formulas are also beneficial to reduce the risk of irritation.
For ageing or mature skin
Look for sunscreen sticks enriched with antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, or green tea extract. These ingredients help combat free radicals and protect against premature ageing.

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