Sun protection: Tips on sunscreen & Co.

Sun protection: Tips on sunscreen & Co.

Careful sun protection is essential to prevent skin cancer and premature skin ageing. Which sun protection factor you need depends, among other things, on your skin type, the skin’s protection time, the length of sunbathing and the sun’s intensity. From mineral sunscreen to spray, find out what types of sunscreen there are, how sun protection relates to skin type and what else you can do to prevent sunburn.

sunscreen and other products

The selection of different sun protection products is enormous these days: sun cream, sun milk gel or a spray? Keeping track of things can be challenging. Generally, it is up to you which form of “sunscreen” you want to use. Each product has its advantages and disadvantages:

  • Sun protection gel:  Contains little fat and is therefore suitable for people with acne and athletes.
  • Sun milk particularly cares for the skin, mainly if it contains the antioxidant E.
  • Sun protection spray:  Can be spread well on the skin, but cream losses can occur when spraying. That is why you should spray about two or three more times with spray to get sufficient protection.
  • Sunscreen Offers adequate protection due to its high-fat content, which allows the active substances to bind better.

No matter which product you choose, make sure the cream protects against UV-A and UV-B rays when you buy it. This is the rule in Germany, but looking at the packaging can be good. Generally, the UV-A protection factor should be at least one-third of the UV-B protection factor.


Chemical-organic and mineral sunscreen

With sunscreen, a distinction is made between chemical-organic and mineral filter products. The former contain chemical compounds that can absorb UV radiation. This is converted into heat or light. The use of chemical-organic filters has long been controversial, as they are suspected of having a carcinogenic effect. In addition, the filters showed a hormonal effect in animal experiments.

 Mineral-based sun protection is therefore recommended, especially for children and babies . Mineral sunscreen contains titanium or zinc oxide, which reflects UV radiation. However, some products are less readily absorbed than chemical-organic sunscreens and can produce a whitening effect on the skin for a little longer.

Using a suitable cream is essential.

It would help if you used enough cream for the sunscreen to develop its complete protection. To protect the whole body, around 30 millilitres of sunscreen are needed for a height of 1.80 meters, corresponding to about three tablespoons. The following applies per body region, for example, per Arm or for the face: it should be half a teaspoon of sunscreen.

Spread the cream evenly on the skin; otherwise, the protective effect will be reduced. It is also important not to massage in the sunscreen too intensively – a light film should initially be retained.

A little help: Divide the body into the following 13 sections and use sunscreen two finger lengths per section:

  1. face and neck
  2. cleavage
  3. right Arm
  4. linker Arm
  5. upper back
  6. lower back
  7. belly
  8. right thigh
  9. left thigh
  10. right lower leg
  11. left lower leg
  12. right foot
  13. left foot

Be sure to apply lotion very carefully to so-called sun terraces such as ears, nose or the tops of the feet.


the skin’s own protection time

Which sun protection factor you need depends mainly on the skin’s protection time. Depending on the skin type, this is between 10 and 30 minutes. The skin is protected from UV radiation even without sunscreen during this time.

The level of self-protection of the skin depends on the thickness of the corneal layer (sunlight calluses) and the degree of skin tanning (proportion of the skin pigment melanin). Melanin and the cornea thus protect the cells from damage to a certain extent. The skin’s protection can be increased by UV light: over time, the thickness of the corneal layer and the pigmentation increase.

Sunscreen prolongs the self-protection time.

The use of sunscreen can extend the skin’s own protection time. The higher the sun protection factor, the longer the protective effect lasts. You can find out how long you can stay in the sun at most by multiplying your skin’s protection time by the sun protection factor. To be safe, however, you should only spend two-thirds of the calculated time in the sun.

Does re-cream prolong self-protection?

The skin’s self-protection time can only be extended once with sunscreen. Once the maximum time has been reached, you should refrain from further sunbathing on the same day. Neither the sun protection factor nor the skin self-protection time can be increased by post-cream.

However, it makes sense to reapply sunscreen because, over time, water and sweat will lose some of the sunscreens and, with it, the protective effect.


Sun protection for the face

The face cannot be protected by clothing and is therefore heavily exposed to the sun. Therefore, special attention must be paid to the proper protection. Depending on your skin type, you should choose an appropriate sunscreen for your face.

If you have oily facial skin, you should use greasy sunscreen; if you have dry skin, you should use rich sunscreen. If you tend to have sensitive skin and a rash on your face, you should avoid possible allergy triggers such as fragrances or preservatives. Some face creams also contain UV protection. This care can also be used in light sunlight.

Sun protection for the hair

Not only our skin but also our hair suffer from too much UV radiation. Especially in combination with salt water or chlorine, it often happens that the hair becomes shaggy and brittle. To prevent this, special UV products for the hair are recommended. For example, there are sprays that contain a special UV filter. They often also contain nourishing active ingredients that make the hair supple again.

Protect sensitive skin from the sun

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies you should choose your sunscreen carefully. It’s best to choose products without fragrances and preservatives. So-called polyethylene glycols (PEG), paraffins and silicones can also promote the development of allergic reactions.

First test the sunscreen carefully on a small area of ​​skin. Then wait at least 24 hours to see if your skin shows an allergic reaction. If you are unsure which remedy is right for you, it is best to seek advice from a pharmacy.


5 tips for ideal sun protection

Using sunscreen is not the only way to protect yourself from the sun. There are many other ways you can protect your skin and hair from damage caused by dangerous UV radiation. We have put together the best tips for the right sun protection for you. These can be used to effectively prevent sunburn and premature skin aging.

  1. Use sunscreen correctly

Choose a product with a sufficiently high sun protection factor: How high the factor should be depends on the skin type, the intensity of the sun and the length of stay. Be sure to take enough cream and distribute it evenly over the body. Also, reapply at regular intervals. The cream should not be massaged in too strongly.

  1. Clothing protects you from the sun

It is best to wear dark textiles as they filter UV radiation better than light clothing. There are now also special UV textiles that are intended to protect the body particularly effectively.


  1. Don’t miss out on a sun hat and sunglasses

If you are exposed to strong sunlight, you should definitely use headgear such as a hat, cap or scarf. A hat that also protects the neck and ears is best. This means you can not only prevent sunburn, but also sunstroke .

You should protect your eyes with sunglasses with a special UV filter to avoid damage. When purchasing, pay attention to the note “UV 400”. as well as the CE mark, which shows compliance with European safety standards.

  1. Stay in the shade

Avoid the blazing sun, especially during midday. Instead, it’s better to stay in the shade, where UV radiation is significantly lower. But you shouldn’t go without sufficient sun protection here either.

  1. Replace sunscreen regularly

Over time, the sunscreen filters in the cream can decompose and the fat can become rancid. In addition, recent study results from France show that the sun protection filter octocrylene contained in some sun creams converts into the molecule benzophenone over time. This can trigger allergies and is considered carcinogenic. To be on the safe side, you should not use sun protection products for longer than a year.

By the way, no sunscreen in the world can block the sun completely – not even a sunblock. Since the term is misleading, it is generally no longer used today. Sunblockers are nothing more than sunscreens with a very high sun protection factor (40+).


Sun protection: tips depending on skin type

Whether and how quickly you get sunburned depends, among other things, on your skin type. People with very light skin get sunburned more quickly than dark skin types. In general, four European skin types are distinguished. We give you tips on what you should pay attention to when sunbathing depending on your skin type.

Type 1: Celtic type

The following requirements apply to the Celtic type:

  • Self-protection time less than ten minutes
  • Definitely avoid midday sun
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses
  • Protect your arms and upper body with clothing
  • Protect your nose, ears, lips and neck with particular care
  • Recommended sun protection factor: 25-35

Type 2: Nordic type

The Nordic guy should pay attention to these points:

  • Self-protection time between ten and 20 minutes
  • Definitely avoid midday sun
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses
  • Protect your arms and upper body with clothing
  • Protect your nose, ears, lips and neck with particular care
  • Recommended sun protection factor: 20-25


Type 3: Mixed type

As a mixed type you are neither particularly sensitive nor particularly insensitive. The following applies here:

  • Self-protection time between 20 and 30 minutes
  • Avoid midday sun
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses
  • Protect lips and neck particularly carefully
  • Recommended sun protection factor: 15-20

Type 4: Mediterranean type

The Mediterranean type can be exposed to the sun the longest: The following applies to them:

  • Self-protection time 30 minutes or longer
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses
  • Particularly careful protection of the nose, ears, lips and neck at the sea and in the mountains
  • Recommended sun protection factor: 15

An exact determination of the skin type can also be carried out during a dermatological consultation.

Prevent skin aging and skin cancer

Careful sun protection is important to prevent premature skin aging and skin cancer. On the one hand, the UV radiation from the sun can cause changes to the connective tissue. This can lead to increased wrinkle formation over time.

On the other hand, UV radiation can also change the DNA of the skin cells. Such damage to the genetic material can be partially repaired by the body’s own repair mechanisms.

However, these mechanisms are not always successful. Particularly in the case of very large or repeated damage, permanent changes to the genetic makeup of the skin cells can occur. Over time, such mutated cells can develop into skin cancer.


Preventing moles from the sun

Liver spots are created when a particularly large number of melanocytes accumulate in the skin. These are cells that produce pigments, in this case the skin pigment melanin. Moles therefore have a black, brownish or reddish color.

Most moles form in childhood. Their development can be genetically determined, but is also promoted by UV radiation in sunlight. Children who are particularly exposed to the sun tend to have a higher risk of getting moles.

Sunscreens prevent sunburn but not liver spots. If you want to prevent them from developing, the only thing that helps is to avoid the intense midday sun (between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and to protect the skin from the sun’s rays with tightly woven, dark clothing.


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