Before exposing yourself to the sun, choosing a sun cream suitable for your skin type is always a good idea, depending on the season. Each sunscreen has a protection index (SPF) to consider before choosing the right sunscreen. You can choose a sunscreen by paying attention to the protection factor, called SPF, which varies depending on your phototype, and respecting some important behavioral rules, often also dictated by common sense, before exposing yourself to the sun and tanning.
Sunscreen Protection Index
The protection factor of sunscreen does not correspond to the time of exposure to the sun. It is a common mistake to think that a sunscreen with SPF 6, for example, increases the exposure time to sun rays by six times. The protection factor is like a “t-shirt” or “shield”. In this case, an SPF of 6 corresponds to six additional layers on top of the skin. Therefore, the sun creams on sale have the protection factor indicated on the label. Generally, a solar panel can have the following protection indices:
- Low Protection Solar: from 6 to 10
- Medium Protection Solar: from 15 to 20
- High Protection Solar: from 30 to 50
- Very high protection Sunscreen: over 50
The 2006 law on sunscreens states that it is not permitted to indicate a sunscreen with the words total screen or total protection because there are no such sunscreen products. Before choosing a solar product, it is always advisable to read the label carefully and, above all, avoid those that display this writing because they are not truthful. There are sunscreens with mineral filters or chemical filters. Products that contain both types of filters generally guarantee excellent protection. Mineral filters alone, all-natural, do not ensure the same results.
UVA Rays And UVB Rays
When you want to sunbathe, you are not only exposed to the hot sun’s rays but also to rays that do not always have a beneficial effect on our health. In addition to Vitamin D, which helps protect bones, the sun sometimes emits dangerous rays. UV (ultraviolet) rays are reflected mainly by the stratum corneum.
Those that are not reflected penetrate the innermost layers of the skin, generally a small part. UV rays are classified according to their wavelength into UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA rays are the rays that promote tanning. Solarium often damages the skin. These rays penetrate deeply, sometimes causing sunburn and discomfort to the epidermis and other times favoring the onset of melanomas. They are the rays present in solar lamps. They alter collagen and elastin.
Generic sunscreens do not protect against UVA rays, so if you want to buy sunscreen before using the lamp, choose one suitable for UVA rays.
- UVB rays are responsible for the much-loved tan. Sunscreens have protection from UVB rays (not UVA) indicated on the label.
- It should be remembered that if we adequately protect the body with a cream to protect against UVB rays, we still do not guarantee protection from UVA, which also penetrates through glass, for example. UVB rays do not penetrate profoundly but can still cause damage or discomfort to the skin.
- UVC rays are the most harmful to skin and health, but they are retained by ozone and do not reach the earth.
Not all people can similarly because there are different phototypes and essential variables to consider before choosing a sunscreen. Generally, six prototypes are distinguished. Before choosing a sunscreen, it is, therefore, a good idea to be careful to understand which phototype you belong to.
- Phototype 1: light blonde, red hair, freckles, easy to burn, difficult if not impossible to tan. They must use sunscreens with the highest protection index and follow common-sense rules before exposing themselves to the sun.
- Phototype 2: Compared to Phototype 1, they can tan but burn quickly.
- It is better to use high-protection sunscreens and gradually expose yourself to the sun.
- Prototype 3: dark blonde, light brown hair. The skin takes on color, but there is a risk of sunburn. Generally, the tan takes on a hazel color, so it is always better to protect yourself carefully.
- Phototype 4: brown hair, tans easily without generally getting burned. They take on an intense hazelnut tan.
- Phototype 5: dark hair, olive skin, tan intensely without burning;
- Phototype 6 generally corresponds to people of color or already very dark skin.
Helpful And Practical Tips To Follow Before Exposing Yourself To The Sun
First, it must be remembered that sunscreen left over from the previous season does not necessarily have to be thrown away but can be used as a moisturizing cream after bathing. They should not be used for exposure to the sun because advanced sunscreens lose their protection index. It is not true that before exposing yourself to the sun, it is sufficient to cover the moles with a high-protection cream to avoid skin damage. However, it would be best to use sunscreen all over your body to be less sensitive to sun damage.
A waterproof sunscreen does not guarantee total protection from the sun’s rays, even after swimming. It only adds an excellent protection screen during the bath since the water reflects the sun’s rays more, but it must be reapplied afterwards. Generally, it is advisable to spread a good amount of sun cream all over your body at least half an hour before exposure to the sun. More attention must be paid to well-covering areas less exposed to the sun during the year, such as the ears, inner armpits, stomach, buttocks, and feet. Solar should be applied at least every hour and repeated several times if you sweat a lot.
The right amount of sun cream to spread on the body corresponds to a golf ball. Always protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, especially if they are light in color, and protect your head even if you are not lying down sunbathing. Avoid exposure to the sun during the hottest hours, generally from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.It is better to expose yourself to the sun gradually. Sunscreen must be used even if you stay in the city or don’t go to the seaside or mountains. In the hottest summer months, the sun’s rays reach the city, so why not always protect your skin?
To prepare your skin for the sun, take beta-carotene supplements a month before your holiday. They are not self-tanning. Therefore, they do not give a tan, but they allow you to tan faster and with less risk of sunburn. Even with tanned skin, it is always advisable to do frequent scrubs to promote the replacement of damaged cells. It is wrongly thought that the scrub takes away the tan; this is not the case; on the contrary, the color becomes more homogeneous and intense.