When should I protect my skin from the sun?
Actually, the word “sun protection” is wrong, because we only have to protect our skin from invisible UV radiation and not, for example, from visible light. And this misconception often leads people to assume that “sunscreen” can be dispensed with in the shade or on cloudy days. But: in the shade, almost half of the direct sunlight still hits the skin. Even when the sky is completely cloudy, about two-thirds of the UV rays on a sunny day reach the ground. UV radiation always hits our skin, albeit with different intensities. UV-A radiation reaches us even through glass. Due to the scattering and reflection of light, it is also exposed to ultraviolet radiation in the shade.
That is why sun protection, or rather UV protection, is always popular everywhere: both on the balcony and in the mountains, by the sea, at the stadium and in the outdoor pool. And it's not just in season in summer: in winter, snow reflects radiation, in spring, the sun's rays, soothing and warm, hit sun-weaned winter skin with rapidly increasing intensity. In summer you are not protected from UV rays even when the sky is cloudy. And here the reflection of water and sand increases the risk of sunburn.
How can I know my exposure to UV rays?
UV exposure not only varies by time of day, but also by month, location, and altitude. Exposure to UV rays is greater in summer, both in the water and in the mountains. And the greater the exposure to UV rays, the shorter the period of protection for the skin.
UV exposure in the mountains
The intensity of UV radiation increases from the Earth's poles towards the equator and increases with height above sea level: about 10% for every 1,000 meters of altitude.
UV exposure in, on and in water
Water, whether from the sea, lake or swimming pool, reflects the sun's rays and increases skin exposure to UV rays by up to 90%. Seawater and sand also reflect radiation and also increase the intensity of UV rays on land. And even underwater you are not safe from UV rays. At a depth of 50 cm more than 60 percent of UV-B rays and even 85 percent of UV-A rays reach.
LSF - The sun protection factor
The abbreviation SPF stands for Sun Protector Factor (or SPF) and indicates how long your specific skin type is protected from harmful effects by this protection factor. There are 4 levels of sun protection: SPF 50+ (very high), SPF 50 to 30 (high), SPF 25 to 15 (medium), SPF 6 to 10 (low). Important: The SPF indicates the level of protection against UVB rays and not against UVA rays. The lighter the skin, the higher the SPF should be.
A sunscreen should also protect against UVA rays. To be able to carry the UVA seal, products must have a protection that corresponds to 1/3 of the sun protection factor indicated on the label.
Why children's skin needs special protection
Children's skin needs the best possible protection from the sun, because its natural protective mechanisms are not yet fully developed. Despite this, children spend more time outdoors and in the sun than adults. By the time a child is 18 years old, their skin has already received an average of 75% of the lifetime dose of UV radiation. And every childhood sunburn increases the risk of developing skin cancer later on. Dermatologists advise against exposing babies and young children to direct sunlight for the first twelve months of life! Therefore, in addition to sun protection cream with at least SPF 30, special UV protection clothing is ideal for children.
More protective measures for your skin
- Observe the sunny times
Between 11 a.m. m. and 3 p.m. m., ultraviolet radiation is stronger everywhere. During this time you should give your skin a break and avoid direct sunlight. Morning and afternoon or evening hours are much more suitable.
- Protect with clothing
Hats and caps with a visor provide additional protection for the head and face, and suitable textiles effectively protect the skin from UV radiation; as long as they are thick enough and well woven. But be careful: cotton absorbs UV-B rays very poorly, which cause sunburn; Polyester fabrics, on the other hand, provide relatively good protection.