Sunscreens are the lifeline of our skin. They protect us from sunburn, photo-aging and skin cancer. Of course, for photoresistors to be effective you have to know how to choose them and use them correctly.
In addition to taking into account the photo type of each person and the circumstances in which the sun exposure occurs , it is very important to know how to interpret the information that the photo protector gives us.
What should we look for when choosing sunscreen?
* Broad spectrum protection . The first thing to be sure when buying the photoresist is that it offers ‘ broad spectrum protection ‘. This means that it defends us against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation . Thus, the photoprotector must clearly indicate on the package that it offers protection against both radiations. The new generation of photoresists can also include protection against infrared-A (IR-A) and visible light (HEvis).
* Solar Protection Factor . The protection against UVB radiation is determined by the Sun Protection Factor (the figure that appears next to the initials FPS or in English, SPF) and indicates the number of times that the photoresist increases the natural defense time of the skin against to the redness before the burn. So, if a skin would turn red after 10 minutes of being in the sun at twelve noon on a summer day, after applying a filter of factor 10 (FPS 10), it could support ten times more solar radiation without burning . That is, 100 minutes.
The European Commission proposes that the degree of protection be included on the label of photoresistors through four categories: low (SPF of 6 to 10), moderate (SPF of 15 to 25), high (SPF of 30 to 50) and very high ( SPF of 30 to 50). FPS of more than 50).
Even using high or very high protection sunscreen, it is very important to take into account that there is no ‘total’ sun protection, since these always allow the penetration of a certain amount of radiation. An SPF 15 blocks up to 93.3% of the radiation and an SPF of 50, around 98%.
* Type of filters . The sunscreen is effective because in its composition it has different solar filters that reflect the radiation (physical), absorb it (chemicals) or repair the damage it produces (organic or biological). Currently, most formulas combine the three modes of photo protection to act in synergy. Even so, in certain cases it is better to opt for one type of filter or another.
The chemical filters are advised in the case of children, since when absorbed into the skin, are at increased risk of allergy, as happens with intolerant skin. In these cases, you have to choose physical filters. This type of filter is also recommended in the case of athletes or people who, due to their working condition, spend a lot of time outdoors, since they ensure coverage of the entire spectrum of sunlight, they act immediately (they do not have to be applied). minutes before exposure as in the case of chemicals) and offer great resistance to water or sweat. The drawback of physical filters is that they tend to be less cosmetic by leaving a thin whitish layer on the skin. These filters can be identified with terms such as ‘physical or mineral screen’ on the labeling.
Chemists, on the other hand, are increasingly imperceptible and allow pleasant textures even with high SPF, so they are, in general, the most used.
* Water resistance . There are two expressions that collect, on the label, the protective capacity of the formula on the skin when it comes into contact with the aquatic environment. On the one hand, ‘ water resistant ‘, which is when the photoprotector has not lost efficiency after 40 minutes of immersion; and on the other, ‘ very resistant to water ‘, which extends the time to 80 minutes. Although the filters resist a certain amount of time in the water, we have to take into account that, if we then dry ourselves with the towel, we will eliminate part of the photoprotection. Hence, it is necessary to reapply the product after each bath or in conditions of excessive sweating.
* Formula, type of skin and body area . It is key that the textures of the photo protectors are pleasant and adapt to the area of application and the skin type of each one. Although it may seem a little relevant issue, that the application is comfortable and pleasant greatly influences the amount of product that ends up spreading on the skin and its frequency of use, which guarantees a better photo protection.
Thus, the chosen formula (cream, gel, lotion, spray, stick, etc.) may be different depending on where it will be used: face, body, sensitive areas, lips or bald.
Also, depending on whether the skin is drier or more greasy, some textures or others will be appropriate and its composition must be taken into account. In the case of acne skin, for example, it is essential that they are oil-free and non-condogenic products that do not clog the pores, so as not to aggravate the problem.
* Duration after opening . Keep in mind that sunscreens not only expire, but lose their properties after a few months open. Therefore, we should look at the number that appears inside the image of an open jar and not use them once those months have passed.