Which sunscreen choose: what you need to know

Who doesn’t like to be kissed by the sun? If you love the tan or the sun just makes you feel good, you must always protect your skin with the best sunscreen!
The effects of the sun can be harmful, both in the immediate, with sunburn and dry skin, and in the long term, with wrinkles and sunspots, up to the risk of appearance of skin tumors.
That’s why it should not be neglected!

If you are wondering which are the best sunscreens, in this article we help you find the most suitable for your skin, the safest and most effective,
with an eye to respect for the environment, which is fundamental for us. Let’s start, therefore, to analyze the most important aspects for a careful choice.

What “phototype” are you?

Start by identifying the characteristics of your face, your hair and your skin: what complexion do you have? What color are your eyes? What about your hair?
All these variables, they are different from subject to subject, for melanin.
This is produced naturally in several quantities by our DNA, to protect us from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.
In dermatology are classified six different “phototypes” in which we can frame ourselves:

Phototype I: very light complexion – light blue/green eyes – red or light blonde hair – lots of freckles;
Phototype II: very light complexion – blue/green eyes – blond hair – many freckles;
Phototype III: light complexion – dark blue/dark green eyes – dark blond/brown hair – some freckles;
Phototype IV: slightly dark/olive coloured complexion – brown/light brown eyes – brown/dark brown hair – very few freckles;
Phototype V: dark complexion – brown eyes – black hair – no freckles;
Phototype VI: very dark/black complexion – dark brown eyes – black hair – no freckles.

Each phototype should use a different degree of protection: the lower the phototype, the higher the protection.
Have you identified yours? Well. Then let’s choose the protection factor.

What SPF is, what it indicates and how much it affects the exposure time

The indication SPF (Sun Protection Factor = sun protection factor) is mandatory on the labels of solar, as per Racc. No. 2006/647/EC of 22 September 2006,
and is represented by a number ranging from 6 to 50+:

  • SPF 6 and 10: low protection category
  • SPF 15 and 20: medium protection category
  • SPF 30 and 50: high protection category
  • SPF 50+: very high protection category

This number represents the multiplication factor of the time when a given phototype can be exposed to the sun before obtaining a solar erythema.
For example, if a erythema appears to you in a certain time, without having applied any protection, the cream with protection factor 30,
lengthens this interval, multiplying by 30 the time you “could” expose yourself safely.
This is why you choose your sunscreen, as well as according to your phototype, also according to the time for which you intend to expose.

UVA and UVB rays: which sunscreen?

Not everyone knows that, as per legislation, the number of protection factor on the label, indicates the degree of protection from UVB rays.
The same legislation specifies, however, that solar products must also protect against UVA rays and that UVA protection must be at least 1/3 of that UVB.
If in the sun cream label you find the indication UVA inside a circle, it means that the product also protects from UVA rays (as well as UVB).
For this, choose the sunscreen that has both the number of protection factor, and the indication of protection against UVA rays.

Physical or chemical solar filters? What a dilemma!

You may have heard that natural and organic sunscreens usually only contain “physical filters”.
But do you know what sun filters are? They are the ingredients of sunscreens that protect against ultraviolet radiation (UVB/ UVA).
They can be physical (also called “minerals”) and chemical.

  • Physical filters are obtained from natural minerals and act as a reflecting barrier against solar radiation.
    These in combination with particular plant extracts, are effective on the whole range of UV rays. The most common mineral filters are zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide.
    They are obtained by crushing the same minerals. The most rigorous manufacturers of cosmetics use these filters in “encapsulated” form,
    coated with substances that avoid direct skin contact of these minerals and that improve the “reflective effect”.
  • Chemical filters, on the other hand, absorb ultraviolet radiation, transforming it partially into heat, with a real chemical reaction on the skin,with feeling of heat after being sprinkled with sunscreen.
    The different chemical filters are distinguished by the wavelength of the absorbed sunlight, are often present in large numbers and must be photostable (resistant to heat) or made such.
    However, they cause bioaccumulation and are not eco-compatible, while some are accused of interfering with the endocrine system.
    Because the chemical industry creates them continuously, it is difficult to know their long-term safety well, given the limited use over time.

Other “dark” ingredients you can find on the label

If you try to read the label of bio sunscreens, in the beginning you should not find:

  • allergens, present as fragrances;
  • complexing substances such as EDTA, non-biodegradable and creating accumulation of heavy metals in fish;
  • silicones that make the sunscreens more spreadable and less water-soluble but not safe for the skin (they are found in solar so-called “waterproof”);
  • toxic colourants and preservatives such as formaldehyde releaser,
  • parabens, studies appear to indicate that they are dangerous to the hormonal system;
  • other ingredients in which preservative activities and fragrance agents are not easily recognizable.

If you care about health and the environment, oriented, therefore towards sunscreens with good inci that do not contain these ingredients.

Always valid recommendation to avoid sunburn

Finally, there are indications that it is always good to follow to have maximum protection, because they are the result of rigorous tests:

  • the correct amount of sunscreen is 2 mg/cm2, equal to 6 teaspoons (about 36 gr) per application, for the entire body of an average adult (as per regulation).
    Much more than you would apply, try to measure this amount with a scale!
  • apply the cream several times a day, especially after bathing, to maintain the effectiveness of the product.
    The movement, rubbing of towels and clothing can inadvertently subtract the cream and greatly reduce the protection.

Now you know all the secrets of the best sunscreen and ready to sunbathe in total safety!

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