Every summer, the sun offers us its comforting rays. It’s also a crucial time to take care of our skin. Let’s discover together why it’s so important to wisely choose your sunscreen and how to use it effectively.
The sun: friend and foe of our skin
The sun, while essential to our well-being and health, can prove to be a formidable enemy for the epidermis. While solar rays nourish our body with vitamin D, they can also cause serious damage. This is where our indispensable ally comes into play: sunblock.
Why use sunscreen?
The harmful effects of the sun on the skin are varied. An occasional sunburn may seem benign, but cumulative damage can lead to premature skin aging, and even skin cancers.
Thus, the use of sunscreen is essential to protect against these risks. It forms a protective barrier that limits the impact of ultraviolet rays.
We generally talk about UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin, causing skin aging. UVB rays, less deep, mainly cause sunburn. It is essential to protect against both.
How to choose your sunscreen?
Choice based on protection indices and skin type
The choice of a sunscreen is based on several criteria. First of all, it is essential to understand the protection indices:
- SPF (Sun Protection Factor) evaluates protection against UVB, causing sunburn.
- UVA indicates defense against UVA, associated with skin aging and the risk of cancers.
A good sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB.
Diversity of formulas and environmental impact
There are a multitude of sunscreen formulas: lotions, sticks, sprays, gels… Your choice will depend on your comfort of application and the intended use. For example, sticks are convenient for application on the face.
Depending on your activities, adapt your choice:
- If you plan to swim, opt for a water-resistant cream.
- For outdoor activities, a cream with a high protection index is recommended.
- Finally, don’t forget to preserve the environment: more and more ecological sunblocks are emerging. They are free of harmful substances for ocean life.
Technological advances and specific formulas for each skin type
Dermatology has been enriched thanks to technological advances. Sophisticated formulas now meet various needs.
For acne-prone or oily skin, non-comedogenic products have been designed. They prevent clogging of the pores, protecting against pimples and blackheads.
Sensitive or dry skin can opt for hypoallergenic creams. Some products also offer soothing ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile…
For mature skin, anti-aging creams are available, containing active ingredients that fight the signs of aging.
How to properly use your sunscreen?
Sunscreen should be applied 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure and should be reapplied every two hours, as well as after each swim or heavy sweating.
Don’t skimp on the amount of sunscreen for the face: a teaspoon for the face and two tablespoons for the body are recommended for optimal protection.
Also, don’t forget areas often neglected such as the ears, the back of the knees, or the feet.
It is crucial not to neglect certain parts of the body that are often forgotten when applying sunscreen. For example, lips are very sensitive and can easily burn. Use a lip balm with SPF protection to protect them.
Ears are often neglected when applying sunscreen. Yet, they are very exposed to the sun and can therefore easily burn.
Also, don’t forget to protect the scalp, especially if you have thinning or shaved hair. You can use a spray sunscreen or a hat to protect this area.
Sunscreen and children: special precautions
Children’s skin, thinner and more sensitive, requires special attention. Opt for a children’s sunscreen specific to high protection SPF 50+, water-resistant and hypoallergenic.
The application should be generous and frequent, especially during peak hours of solar radiation, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Also, consider complementing the protection with a hat, sunglasses, and suitable clothing.
Clean beauty and eco-responsible trend in sun protection
The "clean beauty" and eco-responsible trend in sun protection is gaining popularity.
Increasingly, consumers are turning to eco-friendly and health-conscious care products, including sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreens are an excellent alternative for those looking for a more natural option. They contain mineral filters like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They act like a reflecting mirror, unlike chemical filters which are absorbent.
Many sunscreens contain harmful ingredients for the oceans, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. These bleach and destroy coral reefs. Eco-friendly sunblocks are formulated without these ingredients to minimize their environmental impact.
Myths and Realities about Sun Protection
- A higher SPF means better protection. False. An SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 blocks about 98%. The difference is therefore minimal. However, for optimal protection, prefer the use of an SPF 50 sunscreen and make sure to apply it sufficiently and reapply it regularly. Using a higher SPF index can be beneficial for people very sensitive to sunburn or for prolonged exposure to the sun, even if the difference in protection is minimal.
- No need for sunscreen if the sky is cloudy. False. UV rays can penetrate clouds, so it is necessary to protect yourself even in overcast weather.
- Sunscreen prevents tanning. False. Sunscreen protects against UV rays, but does not completely block tanning. You can still tan, but in a safer and more gradual way.
Alternatives to Sunscreen
Although sunscreen is essential to protect the skin from UV rays, other measures can complement your protection:
- UV protective clothing: They are made from special fabrics that block or absorb UV rays. They are particularly useful for prolonged outdoor activities.
- Accessories: Hats, sunglasses, umbrellas… They offer physical protection against the sun and can be particularly useful during peak UV radiation hours.
- Avoid the sun during the hottest hours: Generally, UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, try to stay in the shade during these hours.
Sunblock: Our Protective Shield
Sunscreen is a real shield for our skin. It is essential, whether the weather is sunny or cloudy, whether you are at the beach, in the mountains or in the city.
It is crucial to choose your sunscreen well, taking into account your skin type, the protection index and the composition of the product.
Protecting yourself from the sun is a habit to take from an early age and to maintain throughout your life.
Let’s not forget that the sun is both our friend and our enemy: let’s enjoy its benefits, but stay cautious.
There are a multitude of sunscreens on the market, offering a variety of textures, levels of protection and specific formulations.
Feel free to consult our product recommendations in our buying guide or ask a dermatologist for advice.
Protect yourself, love your skin and enjoy the sun responsibly. It’s the guarantee of a radiant summer and a healthy skin!