Danger of skin cancer in spring: Protection from the first rays of the sun

Spring draws families and children outdoors, especially over the long Easter weekend and during the holidays. Warm temperatures, sunshine and the longer days make you want to do sports, go for walks or spend time on the terrace and balcony. The sun is healthy, but the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can have health consequences. It can be responsible for skin cancer, skin aging and other skin damage. How to protect yourself while soaking up the sun!

The sun’s rays can cause serious problems that affect the skin in the long term. You should pay attention to this when buying sunscreen, these eight rules must be observed when applying sunscreen and sunbathing and UV radiation plays this role.

Ultraviolet Radiation: The Dangerous Waves of the Sun

The UV radiation of sunlight is divided into three sub-categories according to wavelength and properties:

  • UV-C wavelengths
  • UV-B wavelength
  • Long-wave UV-A wavelengths

While UV-C radiation is intercepted by the ozone layer, UV-B radiation and UV-A radiation can cause great damage to the skin in the short and long term. UV-A radiation is particularly responsible for the immediate pigmentation of the skin.

An “overdose” of UV-B radiation usually manifests itself as  sunburn , but can also have long-term consequences in the form of elastosis (skin aging) or photocarcinogenesis (UV-induced skin mutations).

The power of the sun: How to protect yourself from UV radiation

Sun or light protection play an important role at any time of the year. The stress is greatest in summer, but you should also pay attention to the necessary sun protection on warm spring and autumn days and when skiing. This can take various forms:

  • Responsible use of UV radiation and avoidance of excessive sun exposure:  This is reflected in the use of parasols, avoiding the strong midday sun and looking for shady places.
  • Textile sun protection:  Caps and sun hats in particular protect the face and head from excessive solar radiation. When it comes to clothing, the darker the fabric and the denser the fibres, the greater the protection against UV radiation. Especially for children but also for adults there are also special sunwear with different protection standards to buy.
  • Use of sunscreens:  Sunscreens include sun creams or sun milk that contain different sun protection factors (SPF). Depending on the skin type, different SPFs can be chosen.

Avoiding Skin Diseases: Choosing the Right Sunscreen

The commercially available light protection products are divided into two different areas:

  1. Chemical UV filters that  protect by absorbing (absorbing) UV radiation.
  2. Physical UV filters that  protect against UV radiation in the form of reflection (reflection) and scattering of light.

The sun protection factor indicates the extended period of time that a person can stay in the sun beyond their own skin protection. However, the SPF on commercial sun creams usually only refers to UV-B radiation. The protection of sun milk is divided into different categories. Children and adults who prefer sunbathing should use a higher SPF:

  • LSF 50 plus:  very high protection, especially for children and very light skin types
  • SPF 30 to 50:  high protection
  • SPF 15 to 25:  medium protection
  • SPF 6 to 10:  basic protection

8 rules about sunscreen and sunbathing

These 8 rules will help you use sunscreen correctly and enjoy sunbathing in a healthy way:

  1. Apply sunscreen before sunbathing. It is also advisable to use make-up or day cream with basic protection for the face all year round.
  2. Avoid intense midday sun, even with sunscreen.
  3. Apply sunscreen several times a day, especially after  swimming  or exercising.
  4. Use large amounts of sunscreen to provide maximum protection.
  5. Protect babies and small children in particular   from direct sunlight.
  6. Equip children, toddlers and babies with a high sun protection factor and UV clothing when sunbathing.
  7. Important: take the sun seriously, even sunscreen with a high SPF cannot offer complete protection against UV radiation.
  8. Pay attention to the expiry date: Most sunscreen can be kept for up to a year after opening. However, if the cream has been transported a lot in the heat or is dirty, you should use a new product.

The right choice of sunscreen is made individually. Sun protection is available in drugstores, supermarkets and pharmacies. Depending on the skin type and tolerance, the choice differs individually. Stiftung Warentest and specialist staff in pharmacies provide information about innovations and the compatibility of different products before the start of the season.

 

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