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2018.07.20 - The right use of sunscreens

The right use of sunscreens

Either brown skin is fashionable or not, we need protection against sunburn in intense summer sunshine. Maybe some people decide to save their winter white skin but it’s useful to know even for them when, how much and which kind of sunscreen should be used, if it’s unavoidable to get some sunshine.


Which agent should be trusted?

There are two main types of sunscreens. The first offers chemical protection against the sunshine’s cell disruption impact in a way that the chemical gets decomposed so its protection fades away as time passes. These types of sunscreens get absorbed by the skin and during the decomposition they turn into components, the working mechanism of which isn’t always known. The other type contains physical light consumer materials (titan-dioxide or zinc-dioxide – you have to search for these among the components) which consume sunshine, this is why their effect lasts longer and since they don’t decompose, they are harmless. Unfortunately such agent that makes our skin capable of protection doesn’t exist, so if we aren’t brown already we can only trust in the agent in the sunscreen. Maybe we could say that antioxidants and vitamins are in this third group, but their effect is negligible compared to the chemical and physical ones, these just complete their effect.


How much earlier shall we use sunscreen before sunbathing?

It’s obvious that the ones that contain physical matters affect instantly, so you don’t have to wait for it to get absorbed. The chemical agent doesn’t get absorbed immediately, but its protecting effect doesn’t depend on absorption so it works straight away as well. Other vitamins and antioxidants need more time to be absorbed, but this is not an important point of view. A much more important aspect is that our skin works like a photo paper, in a way that it gets sunburnt where the sun reaches it directly. Since the sunscreen doesn’t get spread on its own, it can lead to serious sunburn in places where we forget to apply it. Especially young teenagers tend to think that that a “kind of okay application of sunscreen” is enough to protect their skin, since it must work the same way as mosquito repellents or perfumes.

Cream or spray?

The only important thing we need to consider is whether we are able to apply sunscreen evenly and properly thick everywhere on our bodies where it meets sunshine. Maybe it’s easier to spread it with a spray for someone, however, others may think that the spray only gives the illusion of an even spread, while there are uncovered places, and that’s why it’s better to have it daubed everywhere by hand. Daubing each other is not only good for the feeling, but it’s useful since another person spots the left out places better...


Can we jump into the water with sunscreen on?

It’s clear that the sunscreen that contains physical agent loses its effect if we spend a lot of time in the water. If we don’t go into the water, it gets worn out later anyway, so we need to apply it again from time to time or go into shadow after bathing. The one with chemical agent resist more, but this doesn’t mean that you can jump right into the water after dabbing, since it needs time to absorb, and it’s not very polite to go into any type of water with a ton of sunscreen on your body either. Sunscreen harms the wildlife of natural waters and it doesn’t help pool water either, with the oils dissolving in it. At the same time, fear from getting sunburnt in the water is absolutely legitimate because it’s a misbelief that you can’t get browner or sunburnt in the water. Moreover water reflects the sunshine so our body parts above the surface are at a high risk of getting sunburnt.


What does the factor number mean and when do we have to daub again?

A sunscreen’s factor number (SPF) basically indicates how many times more time we can be outside in intense sunshine wearing it than without it. So if someone has a skin type of being able to be outside for 10 minutes, then with an SPF 20 sunscreen applied that person can be outside for 200 minutes, so more than 3 hours! It’s very important to know that after the 200 minutes have passed you can’t start the clock again for another 200 minutes, but you have to go inside or under cover since your skin has absorbed enough sunshine, so any more time outside will probably lead to sunburn. The only possible reason to reapply sunscreen is when it’s been worn down because you had a shower or went into the water despite the advice given above. Knowing this only makes sense if you are conscious about the time you can spend outside without sunscreen! We have to know our skin type, skin tone and the current UV index on that exact day.