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Sun protection for the skin: why the sun is only our friend when we protect ourselves from it

August 2, 2020

There are people who, for reasons of self-protection, should be given a sticker with "young parents" on it, as a warning so to speak. How can you recognize them? They are a bit dishevelled and, proud like their neighbor's dog, they push the reason for their sleepless nights in a pram that matches the color of their handbag in front of them. Young parents are perfect for making a good deal, they are overtired, they concentrate in every moment primarily on a project with their own will and needs and are basically afraid of doing something wrong, they want only the best and worry all the time. Need I to say more? The first summer with a child and with rising temperatures is coming closer and in the toddler group you have already been eyed like a total failure several times because you bought yourself peace with a pacifier and in several shops you were accused of wanting to kill your child because you found the sinfully expensive baby equipment a bit too expensive at first and anyway, generally everybody knows everything better. 

Their own parents, passers-by on the street, other mommies doing remedial gymnastics and especially those without children. In clever books the exhausted mother learns that the sunscreen she has been using (and in which she actually wanted to bathe her child) is not as great as she thought. That a baby in its first year should not come into contact with anything at all except breast milk. God forbid with sunscreen. Now the modern woman asks herself the question how she should manage to lead the little bundle of energy the whole summer long only at night outside the door. So a solution must be found. The Google Odyssey begins.

Why do we even need sunscreen?

First of all, the sun is good for us, our immune system benefits when we are outdoors because we produce vitamin D naturally, which automatically improves our mood. However, it also has its dangers and to reduce these, we need to pay attention to a few things.

The skin's own protection time against the dangerous UVA and UVB rays can be prolonged with using sunscreen. The prevention of sunburn is the obvious desired effect, and then there is premature aging of the skin and the reduction of the risk of skin cancer. The aim is to prevent UV rays from damaging our skin.

Chemical vs. physical or mineral filter

At best, sunscreen has a little bit of both. That's because of the way it works. Conventional creams that are available in the supermarket increasingly use chemical filters. Special children's preparations usually have an additional physical component (but still contain chemical filters) and then there are the products labelled as mineral sun creams, with a pure physical filter, and the creams especially for babies.

Chemical sun protection absorbs UV rays and transforms them into harmless heat rays, these substances first have to penetrate the skin to be effective and are then broken down again, which makes it necessary to apply the sunscreen about half an hour before sunbathing and to reapply it after about two hours. Although some of these chemical filters are suspected of being hormonally effective, they can cause allergies and are even suspected of being carcinogenic, experts nevertheless agree that protection against UVA and UVB rays takes precedence.

Physical filters scatter and reflect the sunlight, they remain on the skin surface and colour the skin whitish to greyish - depending on the skin colour - due to the microscopic particles that reflect the light. The applied film has an immediate effect and does not need to be affected.

Because physical filters do not penetrate the skin and normally do not cause allergies, they are used in children's sun creams.

SPF – what is actually meant by sun protection factor?

The sun protection factor indicates by how much the skin's own protection is prolonged by the product used. The minutes that our skin can withstand the sun without protection are multiplied by the SPF. However, this varies depending on the skin type and should only be a guide value.

What does nature provide in terms of sun protection factor?

Natural sun protection can be achieved particularly well with oils, olive and coconut oil, for example, have a very high sun protection factor of 8, almond oil follows with SPF 5, and products with CBD are also well suited because the extract from the hemp plant has a natural sun protection factor. CBD skin care is therefore also very suitable for warm summer days outdoors and can be used without any problems even for sensitive children's cheeks.  

In connection with natural sun protection, zinc and titanium dioxides in particular are very often mentioned. These are mineral filters which, depending on the quantity and thus also on the level of the sun protection factor, can turn creams into a real paste and leave a white film on the skin’s surface. Natural sun protection is thus visible. To avoid this effect, some manufacturers use nanoparticles – the particles are broken down into tiny, microscopic particles, which is a great help against the unwanted coloration, but the particles are so small that they can penetrate the skin and cause damage.

Can I have a little bit more?

The quantity is important for both variants. In order to provide sufficient protection, care should be taken that the cream is applied generously and over the entire surface. Unless otherwise stated, apply another layer 30 minutes before going out in the sun and after 2 hours at the latest.

For adults:

For children:

All set? Since we can only do it as right as we can.

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