How much sun does my skin tolerate? – 7 sun protection tips.
August 21, 2019
One thing is clear, we have to protect ourselves from the sun. But sunscreen is more than just applying sunscreen or applying a day cream with UV protection every morning. It’s also about finding the right size for your individual skin type. How much sun does my skin tolerate and when should I avoid the sun? Do I need sunscreen every day or is it enough if I take care not to get sunburned?
Ibiza tan or snow white pallor?
It’s spring! Almost. Do you also use every ray of sunshine to warm your mind and your body against the warm rays? So after six months of fog and cold that is probably allowed. But how much sun does my still winter skin tolerate?
Quite often I will ask you about sunscreen. I have studied the issue intensively and came to the conclusion that ultimately it is about knowing your skin type well and correctly assessing the current conditions. This also includes the fundamental discussion with the tan:
Is the summer tan so important to me that I’m willing to take risks? Or do I decide this summer for the noble, but not very trendy Snow White paleness?
I personally will not sunbathe this year. Simply, because I’m hardly going to get brown anyway and I do not want to accelerate my skin aging intentionally.
As I write this blog post, I realize once again that common sense and risk-taking should be the basis for rational decisions. For me, this means comparing one evil (sunscreen) and the other evil (skin cancer).
The data is unique. It is much less risky to protect your skin with a sunscreen than to do without sunscreen. Since I can sometimes overlook a discolored T-shirt.
Do not orient yourself to sunburn
Sure, if your skin is red like a tomato, it’s a clear sign that you’ve been over-demanding your skin. But your Vegi-Plätzli is also not roasted until it has set a few charred spots.
Even without sunburn, the skin must be protected from the sun’s rays. A sunburn is the super growth for your skin and more than an alarm sign. You should never let it get that far.
The sunburn is triggered by UV-B rays. For the skin aging but above all the UV-A-rays are responsible. They invade the deeper layers of the skin. And that’s exactly where skin aging takes place: the free radicals that are formed accelerate the breakdown of collagen fibers. The skin loses its elasticity and becomes flabby.
This damage is irreparable, no anti-aging cream is there, something to align. So if your closet is full of anti-aging products, but you’re out in the sun all summer, then you should seriously consider your priorities.
There is no cream that can repair the damage caused by the sun, and even an après-soleole only manages to moisturize the uppermost layer of the skin.
The crowd does it
You certainly know the saying: The skin does not forget sunburn. Correctly, it should mean, the skin does not forget a ray of sunshine.
UV rays damage the genetic material. To a certain extent, the body can repair this DNA damage, but some cells can remain damaged and develop into cancer cells. A cell degenerates when the skin cell has accumulated many genetic defects and the cellular repair systems are overwhelmed.
Once again: the crowd makes it. Therefore, tanning does not help, because every sun exposure is harmful to health.
My goal with this post is to make you think of your personal priorities and, this summer with a conscious strategy, find a way to protect yourself well from the sun but still not lose the joy of it. And that’s why here are some tips:
Know your skin type and estimate the UV radiation correctly
Skin types are different. Also in terms of sensitivity to the UV rays. It has been proven that people with a darker skin type tolerate more sun and also have a lower skin cancer risk. Again, there are light skin types that absolutely do not like the sun.
Those who think about their individual sunscreen should take this into account. Likewise, there is a greater risk of developing dangerous black skin cancer when you almost never sunbathe and then lie in the sun from 0 to 100 on holiday, for two weeks.
UV rays have a different intensity. To judge the strength correctly is not easy. In general, in the mountains, the intensity is greatly increased, and not only in snow. Next, the season must be taken into account and at noon the load is the strongest.
Uff, that’s pretty much a factor. But there is also a remedy here: Many weather apps have integrated a UV index. For example, weather XL (iOS) or the website wetter.de. For Switzerland, the app of Meteo Switzerland is recommended. It’s a great way to easily read the current value for your location and, together with the knowledge of your skin type, determine the best level of protection for you.
I know that nowadays no one voluntarily takes a sunburn, but it happens anyway. With the UV index, you can avoid this in the future.
Sunscreen is not your number one sunscreen
Recently, I was allowed to attend a lecture by dermatologist dr. med. Paul Scheidegger participate. He mentioned in it a simple three-step rule that is very plausible, but gladly forgotten. The best protection against UV damage offers the following sequence:
1. Avoid the sun
2. Protective clothing
Sunscreen comes in third place, quite rightly, because even a sunscreen with SPF 50 does not shield you completely from the harmful UV radiation.
The three step rule does not mean that you should no longer use sunscreen, but shows the effect of each action. No sunscreen can protect you from intense sunshine for a day, but tightly-woven clothing can. Paired with an airy, stylish cut, this should not be a problem in the summer and even fun.
Balancing risks rationally. Sunscreen vs. sunscreen. Sun
Applying cream to the whole body is difficult. The clothes are yellow, the skin impure and anyway, sun creams are also harmful. (And, I also want to get brown, hello!) Does this line of reasoning seem familiar to you?
You’re right, sunscreens with chemical filters are suspected of acting hormonal. And they consist of a cocktail of partly questionable ingredients, that’s fact. And although the formulations are getting better and better, the clothes are still discolored and I personally acknowledge any application of sunscreen with pimples.
But it is also a fact that the dermatologist’s practices are overcrowded with skin cancer patients. Black skin cancer is the 5 most common type of cancer in German-speaking countries. And black skin cancer is no trifle.
Check your vitamin D status
Sunscreen is said to prevent the absorption of sufficient vitamin D, so a popular argument. I can understand the excuse, did not each of us a few days ago have a felt or proven vitamin D deficiency to complain? After all, vitamin D also ensures a good mood and we do not want to miss that.
However, experts simply disagree as to whether sunscreen restricts the intake of vitamin D to such an extent that a deficiency could arise or if the influence is too low and the vitamin D stores are filled in the summer anyway.
The fact is, vitamin D deficiency does not affect all people equally. A simple blood test gives clarity. If there really is a vitamin D deficiency, you can still think about whether you prefer to take drops or tablets or rather go without sunscreen in the sun to fill the tank.
But if risks and benefits are weighed, experts agree that oral intake of vitamin D is the lesser evil.
Think about day creams with UV filters
Many day creams, primers or make-up have a sun protection factor (SPF) built-in. I find day creams with SPF questionable for two reasons:
The amount is crucial: do you put a whole teaspoon full of your day cream on your skin? Just. But so much would be needed so that the SPF can even achieve the effect described.
As mentioned above, one must always compare the one sunscreen with the other sunscreen: Day creams with SPF almost exclusively contain chemical filters and preservatives, as physical filters would simply “whitewash” way too much. These ingredients are suspected of having a hormonal effect.
In the office you do not need UV filters in your care. Either way, you should not go in the sun. Especially not at lunchtime. However, it is recommended to always have a sunscreen in your handbag. Should it then go to the after-work aperitif on the sunny terrace, then wear a proper sunscreen about 20 minutes before.
By the way, the day cream with the sun protection factor that you may have applied in the morning has most likely already lost protection by early evening.
Be clear about your skin type and be guided by it and not by your fellow humans, with whom you are together in the sun, because the self-protection time is individual. Use apps with UV index to get a picture of the current sun intensity.
Not only sunscreen protects you from UV radiation. Try to avoid the sun especially at noon and use airy but tightly woven clothes as sun protection.
Even if sun creams contain harmful ingredients, you should not give it up, because the risk of developing skin cancer is greater than to suffer damage from any of the ingredients.
Do not orient yourself to sunburn. Sunburn is caused by UV-B rays, but premature skin aging is primarily caused by UV-A rays.
Your cells save every sun experience. At some point it will be too much for them and they can degenerate. Therefore, avoid any extra sun exposure, the amount does it.
A possible vitamin D deficiency can be compensated fairly easily with tablets. You will probably take enough Vitamin D despite sunscreen. A blood test clarifies that.
Day creams with SPF offer little protection. Preferably use sunscreen in a targeted manner and apply it generously for about 20 minutes before sun exposure. It always helps to have a sunscreen in your handbag. Do not spare the amount: Three tablespoons (!) Are needed for the whole body.