Sun cream: Protecting the skin properly from UV radiation

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Summer, sun and beach: the most beautiful season has begun. However, it can become a problem for the skin if it is not sufficiently protected. Enjoy the summer? No problem, but only with sunscreen and sun protection. In cooperation with the experts from Douglas, we reveal what is important when it comes to sun protection.

What effects do UVA & UVB rays have on the skin?

That part of the sun’s rays that passes through the earth’s atmosphere and then hits our bodies consists of the invisible infrared radiation, the visible light with the colours of the rainbow and the also invisible UV radiation. UV radiation in turn is divided into UVA, UVB and UVC radiation. The latter is short-wave and is reflected by the skin. UVA and UVB radiation, on the other hand, penetrates the skin.

Of course, sunlight is also healthy and even vital, because it replenishes our vitamin D stores. In addition, sunshine provides a good mood, mental and physical well-being and is good for our immune system. To benefit from these positive effects, even a small amount of sunlight is enough.


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But sunlight can quickly become a disadvantage for the health of the skin. UVB radiation triggers the tanning of the skin, but also the dangerous sunburn.

In addition, the skin thickens more and more under the influence of UVB radiation. UVA radiation penetrates even deeper into the skin and can destroy important skin structures and the stabilising framework. The consequences can be acute, for example through the appearance of a sun allergy or phototoxic reaction. In the longer term, the typical signs of skin ageing (photoaging) appear, including sagging skin, wrinkles and age spots. In the worst case, UV radiation promotes the development of skin cancer. For this reason, direct sunlight should only be enjoyed with sun protection.

UV filters: What are they and what are the differences?

UV filters are an effective component in sun creams to protect the skin from dangerous solar radiation. Their structure and properties are such that they filter the UV rays before they can penetrate the skin. As you can read in this informative article from Douglas, there are different types of UV filters, which are divided into two categories:

  • inorganic / physical UV filters (mineral) and
  • organic / chemical UV filters.

Inorganic or physical UV filters are based on a specific chemical structure. Here, certain inorganic compounds such as zinc oxide or titanium oxide are present; sun creams based on these are also called mineral. The filters are called physical because they scatter and absorb UV light. Mineral filters cover the entire spectrum of UV light, i.e. both UVA and UVB. Chemical or organic filters are usually based on the element carbon. They also contain other chemical elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, halogens or sulphur. Depending on the individual filter substances, the organic / chemical filters protect mainly in the UV-B ranges. In the meantime, however, there are also modern filters that cover the UVA spectrum.

Tips for choosing sunscreen

The first thing people usually look for in a sunscreen is the sun protection factor. To ensure sufficient protection, this should be at least 30, 50 is better.

Important to know: The higher the protection against UVB rays, indicated by the abbreviations SPF or LSF, the higher the protection against UVA rays.

The skin’s condition is also a criterion for choosing the right sunscreen.

  • Normal skin: neither too dry nor too greasy, sun cream with alcohol is usually well tolerated.
  • Sensitive skin: hardly any irritating ingredients such as fragrances, essential oils or alcohol; nourishing ingredients are good.
  • Dry skin: few fragrances, no alcohol, nourishing and moisturising ingredients are good.
  • Oily skin: light creams, lotions, emulsions, sun sprays or gels, no products containing alcohol.

Whether you have normal, dry or sensitive skin, those looking for suitable sun protection products will find a large selection of lotions, sprays and creams online at Douglas that are suitable for different skin types.


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Apply sunscreen correctly

Most people do not apply enough sunscreen, which is why adequate protection is not provided. About 1 teaspoon of sunscreen is recommended for the face. In addition, a systematic approach should be taken so that no part of the body is forgotten. For example, you can start with the left arm, and only when this is completely covered with sunscreen, the right arm follows. Continue with both lower legs and thighs. Once the limbs have been creamed, the abdomen, back (it is best to have someone help you here), chest and décolleté follow, and the neck and face are the final areas. Depending on the size of the body part, a teaspoon to a tablespoon of sun cream should be applied. The skin should be dry and the hands clean before application.

Tip: To prevent the skin from looking too greasy at the end, you can apply a thin layer of cream, wait a few minutes and then apply another thin layer. This way, part of the cream is already absorbed.

Always reapply after bathing, swimming, showering or other contact with water. Even if the sunscreen is waterproof, the protection is somewhat reduced. It is also important to pay attention to the durability of the sunscreen, which can be seen on the cream bottle. Expired creams, sun creams have a shelf life of only about one year, no longer offer reliable protection.


Source coverimage: pexels / Anna Tarazevich

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