Choose the right sun protection 

Careful sunbathing

People who think to be well protected from harmful sun rays by wearing a T-shirt are deceived. Therefore, it is important that you use sunscreen products.

In good sun protection, proper preparation is required. Let your skin slowly get used to the sun. This can prevent skin burns. But it is also a lifetime investment. A skin that burns once is burned considerably, stays extra sensitive to the sun. Wise sunbathing using a good sunscreen is therefore necessary.

Use Sun protectors

Sun protectors are specially made to prevent sunburn. They contain UV filters, resulting in less UV radiation reaching the skin. However, a sun protector that filters all UV radiation does not exist. Even anti-sunscreens that are highly effective and protect against UVA radiation and UVB radiation can not provide full protection. A sunscreen should therefore be seen as an additional measure, in addition to wearing protective clothing and looking up the shade on sunny days.

Natural protection

Another - natural - protection mechanism is the formation of melanin under the influence of the sun. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their color. By getting brown, the skin protects itself. Small children have almost no melanin, which causes too little pigment to provide sufficient protection. Therefore, it is important to lubricate small children well. Too much UV radiation at a young age can lead to a greater chance of skin cancer later. Research has even shown that who has been burned more than three times in childhood, has five times more chance of skin cancer.

Protection factor

The protection factor of a sunscreen is indicated by SPF, which represents Sun Protection Factor. The SPF should be chosen carefully depending on your skin type. Someone with pale skin, blond hair and blue eyes will burn faster in the sun than someone with a tanned skin and brown eyes. To explain how SPF works we use as an example a person who burns in the sun after ten minutes. The protection factor in a sunscreen multiplies the number of minutes that someone can stay in the sun. When this person uses a sunscreen with an SPF of eight, sunburn will only occur after eight x ten minutes (ie after 80 minutes). A new coat of sunscreen after eighty minutes does not extend this time. It is also a fable that a higher SPF factor is slowing down the tanning. A cream with a higher factor prevents redness and burning, but does not stop tanning.

Skin types and SPF

  • Skin type one: very light skin. People with this skin type become little or not at all brown and burn very quickly. Recommended SPF 25-30.
  • Skin type two: light skin. Someone with this skin type will burn quickly and slowly tan. Recommended SPF 15-25.
  • Skin type three: light-colored skin. These people do not burn so quickly and become easily brown. Recommended SPF 10-15.
  • Skin type four: tinted skin. A person with this type of skin tans quickly and burns almost never. Recommended SPF 5-10.

SPF replaced by categories

The European Commission has drawn up guidelines to get more clarity in the labels of sunscreen products. The plan is that the term SPF disappear, in its place there will be four new categories: weak, average, high and very high. Each category offers a certain protection against UVA radiation and UVB radiation. On the label you can read exactly what product it is, and how much you need to use. Although it is a directive, most cosmetics brands (in the E.U.) will have adjusted their labels during 2007/2008.

Generously and regularly lubricate

In addition to choosing the right product, there is an important rule for sunbathing that is often forgotten: spread generously and regularly. Do not go too economically with sunscreen. To get the protection that the sunscreen promises to give, the cream should be applied quite thick to the skin. Economical lubrication results in a much lower protection factor than stated on the packaging. Precise guidelines on quantities of cream to be applied are not to be given, but a 'handful' for each skin lubrication is not exaggerated. It is also important to re-lubricate the skin regularly.

Ten golden rules for sunbathing

In 1995, leading Dutch skin specialists and scientists made ten directives together with the solar (cream) industry, the Dutch Cancer Control (KWF) and many other experts:

  • Enjoy the sun, but think of your skin.
  • Carefully adjust the skin to the sun and avoid sunburn.
  • Stay between 12:00 and 15:00 as much as possible in the shade.
  • Preferably wear a hat or sunshade and clothes in the full sun.
  • Going long in the sun? Lubricate exposed skin than good with a sunscreen.
  • Ask the drugstore or pharmacy information about the correct protection factor.
  • Let sunbathing and using tanning devices to people over fifteen years and people with skin type two, three and four.
  • Follow the instructions for solar equipment carefully.
  • Ask in a solarium studio for personal advice.
  • Get out of the sun and certainly not under the tanning bed if your skin reacts oddly with, for example, rashes, itching or rapid burning.
  • Consult a doctor if necessary.
  • In some skin conditions, UV radiation helps, with others just not.
  • Ask a dermatologist for advice.
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