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How to sunbathe properly without harming your skin: 7 questions and answers about sunscreens
How to sunbathe properly without harming your skin: 7 questions and answers about sunscreens

Summer is imminently approaching, which means we will be spending more time outdoors and in the sun.

The sun's ultraviolet rays damage the skin in just 15 minutes, increasing the likelihood of wrinkles, age spots and cancer. To prevent the sun from turning into a disaster worse for us than COVID-19, it is important to know how to protect yourself and your skin.

To avoid the troubles associated with active sun, it is necessary to apply sunscreen to the skin, wear protective clothing and hide in the shade - this is what many have heard before.

However, questions remain regarding sunscreens. I will try to answer some of them.

Are Mineral Sunscreens Safe?

Sunscreens are mineral or chemical based. Mineral sunscreens usually contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and are applied to the skin to reflect the sun's rays. In contrast, chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin and absorb the sun's rays.

Recent research in the United States has shown that chemical ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream, which can break down hormones in the human body. But, research is still being carried out and unambiguous precise data have not yet been identified. Given the uncertainty of chemical sunscreens, dermatological surgeons in the US recommend using mineral products, especially since they are better for sensitive skin.

While it is unclear if the chemical ingredients in sunscreen that have been found in the bloodstream pose a threat, or if they pose any risk to human health, mineral-based sunscreens are generally found to be safer and more effective. Using them in place of chemical sunscreens avoids concerns about potential unproven negative effects

- says the American doctor-dermatologist Kathleen Suozzi.


What's more, mineral-based sunscreens are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergies, Dr. Suozzi adds.

They are safer for people with sensitive skin, which is especially important for people with eczema.

she says.

But, mineral sunscreens are more difficult to rub into the skin, they can leave a white coating and are not suitable for everyone. Therefore, your personal comfort and additional protection in the form of hats and clothing is the key to choosing a sunscreen.

Do I need to reapply sunscreen every two hours?

Most bottles of sunscreen recommend reapplying the cream every two hours outdoors or after swimming or sweating. But what if you're indoors for two hours or more after applying sunscreen?

If you are indoors, away from windows and not sweating, you do not need to reapply sunscreen, but be sure to reapply before going outside.


If you are in the open sun, while swimming or sweating, then yes! It is imperative to reapply the cream. If the cream has a higher SPF (30 or higher), you can reapply the cream every 4-6 hours.

Should you wait 15-20 minutes after applying sunscreen before going outside?

On this occasion, all dermatologists agree: Yes, it is necessary.This is especially true for chemical sunscreens as they must be absorbed into the skin to be effective, while mineral sunscreens act as a barrier over the skin and protect it immediately after application. And do not forget to rub the cream well over the entire surface of the skin.

Is a higher SPF always better?

Dermatologists recommend choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen first. This means that the cream will protect the skin from UVA rays (which cause skin aging) and UVB rays (which cause burning and redness).


SPF is the quantitative UV protection of the skin. For example, SPF 15 protects your skin 15 times longer than if you hadn't applied sunscreen. Moreover, SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 - about 97% and SPF 50 - 98%.

Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or 50 only until the skin is slightly tanned. After that, it makes no sense to apply a cream with a higher SPF, but on the contrary, you can reduce its level to SPF 15 or lower. Keep in mind that higher SPF sunscreens are not easy to apply. As a rule, they are thicker and more greasy in consistency.

Should I first apply a moisturizer or sunscreen?

Some moisturizers already contain sunscreen, which is a convenient and reliable option. But if you prefer individual products, then the order in which they are applied does not really matter. However, most recommend applying sunscreen before makeup, on top of your main moisturizer.


Are separate face and body sunscreens needed?

The short answer is no, but there are benefits to using sunscreen on its own as long as it is labeled “non-comedogenic”. This means it won't clog your pores, which will help prevent acne and blackhead inflammation.

Do you need sunscreen on cloudy days?

Ultraviolet rays can penetrate clouds, and if you're not wearing protective clothing or headgear, sunscreen is needed even on cloudy days.

So, sunscreen is certainly easy and convenient to use, but don't rely on it alone!

Remember, sunscreen is just a screen, not a block. Avoid sun exposure when it is particularly intense, relying on your sunscreen. Remember, this is not a protective armor.

For the best sun protection, use sunscreen in combination with other sun protection products such as clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

Using all of these products in combination will give you the best protection and keep your skin youthful, healthy and tanned.

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