Skin needs effective protection from the sun. A little cream in the morning is not enough. But how is it correct? And can you still use the tube from last year?

Sun protection is not only mandatory on summer holidays, but also on weekends in the park or lake. But which sun protection factor is the right one? And how much sunscreen do I need? The most important things about sun protection at a glance.

When is sun protection necessary?

It depends on the intensity of the sun’s rays. From a UV index of three, sun protection with cream, hat and sunglasses is the order of the day. From level eight it is better not to be outside at all.

How long does sunscreen keep?

As soon as you have opened a sunscreen, the information on the packaging, for example the tube or jar, applies. It indicates how many months the cream lasts after opening. The corresponding symbol is an open, round can containing, for example, the information “12 M”. That means twelve months.

However, if the bottle has been lying in the blazing sun, the time is significantly reduced. It is therefore better not to bring the cream from your last summer vacation with you.

Tip: In order not to lose track of exactly when you opened a sunscreen, it is advisable to write the date of opening on the tube with a waterproof felt pen.

However, sunscreens that contain the active ingredient octocrylene can actually be harmful to health if they are stored for too long. A study has shown that octocrylene turns into the harmful substance benzophenone over time. It is still unclear whether it is carcinogenic.

Sunscreen without a sell-by date: what to do?

In addition, sun creams sometimes, but by no means always, have a best-before date . If this is exceeded, they should also no longer be used – even if they are still unopened.

However, there is often no concrete best-before date on the tubes. This is because cosmetic products in the European Union (EU) only have to have an MHD if they do not have a shelf life of more than 30 months.

Manufacturer Nivea writes, for example, that sun protection products can be kept for at least 30 months from the date of manufacture when stored in a cool and dry place – this applies equally to sprays and creams.

The manufacturer advises: discard the cream if it smells acrid or unusual, has changed consistency, has become oily or watery, or if the contents are discolored.

Which sunscreen do I need?

The most important thing is the sun protection factor. It should be at least 30, 50 is better. The skin type is also important. If you have dry skin, it is better to use a rich cream. If you have oily skin, you should switch to oil-free products. Sun protection does not have to be expensive.

Can I reduce the sun protection factor during the summer?

No: The skin type stays the same – no matter how tanned someone is. If you want to protect your skin, you always use the same high sun protection factor.

Isn’t make-up with a sun protection factor enough?

No: Women can use the following tactic: First apply the day cream, then plenty of sunscreen. Let everything move in. Now apply the covering make-up.

How much sunscreen do I need?

The rule of thumb is two milligrams per square centimeter of skin. For a 1.80 meter tall person of normal weight, that’s around 20 to 30 grams – or around three tablespoons of sunscreen. After bathing or sports , cream must be applied again. Without sweating after three hours at the latest.

If you calculate that for a week’s beach holiday, you need a lot more sunscreen than many people think: If you apply sunscreen three times a day with 30 grams each for seven days, you need 630 grams of sunscreen – a good three bottles.

Can I spray myself too?

The sprays themselves are good. But there is a risk that you will use even less than with cream. But if you spray plenty, you are just as well protected as with cream.

How long can I stay protected in the sun?

It depends on the sun protection factor and skin type. Someone who can stay in the sun without sunscreen for ten minutes without the skin turning red can theoretically stay in the sun with a factor of 30 for 300 minutes. However, this only applies if the cream is applied correctly and constantly replenished.

Incidentally, this time does not start again from the beginning. If you apply sunscreen with a factor of ten, you have to get out of the sun after 100 minutes. No matter how much he applies cream.

Do children need a special cream?

Not necessarily. It is crucial that they are generously creamed with a factor of 50. The parents are responsible for that. However, special children’s sunscreens have the advantage that they are often fragrance-free and better tolerated. In addition, physical sun protection in the form of clothing is better for children than chemical sun protection.

Are children better protected with special sun protection clothing?

Since these clothes actually block the sun completely: yes. However, this only applies if the textile protective clothing is tested. Liebich warns against cheap fakes from beach stalls. Then rub it in better.

What is sun protection besides sunscreen?

A hat is a must, because the scalp should be well protected from the sun. In addition to the hat, sunglasses are mandatory. It should ideally be large enough so that no UV rays fall on sensitive eyes from the side. In addition, the glasses need a CE mark and a suitable glare protection level. This is level three for a beach holiday and level two for a stroll through the city.

Sunscreen alone is also not the perfect way to keep the risk of skin cancer low. This also includes clothing suitable for sun protection and avoiding the sun when there is high UV exposure, for example during lunchtime.

With regard to clothing, it should be noted that it offers very different levels of UV protection. The sun protection factor of dark blue jeans is therefore around 500, while a thin white cotton T-shirt only has 10.

If precise UV protection values ​​are important to you, you can of course fall back on UV protective clothing. According to the report, however, their textile sun protection factor is reduced by frequent washing. And if you generally go swimming with clothes on, you should consider: Wet clothes offer less protection in comparison.

Do clouds make UV protection redundant?

A fallacious assumption is that clouds make UV protection obsolete. In fact, clouds affect the level of UV radiation in different ways: while thunderclouds greatly attenuate it, other cloud types and combinations can even increase it through scattering effects.

In general, clouds only reduce UV radiation intensity by 10 to 50 percent. They do not offer reliable protection, especially during lunchtime. The same applies to tanned skin: Apart from the fact that this is a stress reaction of the skin, it only corresponds to a sun protection factor of around 4. Every sunscreen has more.

And what do I do if I get sunburned?

Then the only thing that helps is to cool down and wait. Poultices with quark or yoghurt have a cooling and pain-relieving effect. Those who tolerate it well can also take a painkiller such as ASA. In severe cases, those affected must see a doctor.


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