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Sunscreen - what's important to know

Updated on December 21, 2013

They are the best allies in defense of your skin against the aggressions of the ultraviolets (UV) rays. In the summer or any time of year, use and abuse of sunscreens and prepare the skin to receive the sun.

Sun and skin - a risk relationship

Solar radiation and skin do not do well and the proof is tanning: a skin reaction to the aggression of the rays that cross, making it to produce more melanin (a substance that gives color to the skin). In each sun exposure, the marks of aggression keep accumulating : the most immediate risk is sunburn and the most serious is skin cancer, which joins the premature aging of skin.

The ultraviolet (UV) guilty of this aggression comprises invisible rays, which do not heat the skin and may be of two types: UVA, which penetrate deeper into the skin, and UVB more superficial and more dangerous, although they are both cause of sunburns and skin cancer.

The risk of aggression can be measured: the UV index measures the intensity of the sun, depending on the area of the globe, the time of year, climate and altitude.Presents a scale of 1 to 11, and the higher the value the higher the risk. In summer it reaches high values between 11 and 16 hours, so we should not be exposed to the sun at this time of day.

Order to protect, protect and protect!

Given the risk, it is essential that the skin is prepared to receive the sun. This is synonymous to use sunscreen, especially in hot seasons, but also the rest of the year. Even if the weather is cloudy: 80% of UV rays pass through clouds and fog, reaching an unprotected skin with equal severity.

For greater security, is important to know well the sunscreens, which acts as allies of the skin to help prevent sun damage.

How the sunscreens work?

There are two main types of sunscreen, depending on how they exert that protection:

- Chemicals - absorb and convert the radiation into heat, are more cosmetically pleasant but can unchain allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.

- Physical or minerals - reflect radiation and is not absorbed through the skin, they are less cosmetically pleasant but do not generate skin sensitivity. Especially recommended for children and sensitive skin.

What distinguishes them?

Whether chemical or physical the sunscreens present a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) associated. The SPF is rated on a scale ranging from "6" to "50 +". These values ​​reflect the product's ability to protect from UVB rays. For UVA, is stated on the pack if confers protection or not.

How to use sunscreen?

Solar protection must be practiced daily whenever there is outdoor activities. Reinforced of course on the hottest days. The correct use of sunscreen is halfway to its effectiveness:

- Apply it 15-30 minutes before exposure, on dry skin, renewing it every two hoursand after swimming or sweating.

- Cover generously in exposed areas, focusing on the most sensitive areas: face, ears, hands and arms. The lips should be protected with a appropriate lipstick.

- If you wear make up, apply the sunscreen first and prefer cosmetic with protection factor.

- Keep the protection even on cloudy days.

- Reinforce the protection near the water or sand because they reflect UV radiation,

increasing their impact on the skin.

The action of sunscreen should be complemented with other types of care:

- avoid sun exposure between 11 and 16 hours,

- make a slow and gradual exposure, so the skin can adapt,

- use light-colored clothes and large, natural materials like cotton,

- wear sunglasses,

- avoid solariums - artificial light also causes skin damage,

- if you choose to use self-tanning products to get a more intense tan, remember to keep the use of sunscreen.

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    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 

      5 years ago

      Useful information, especially for summer preparation.

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