Sun cream: how to choose the best
Protecting the face and body skin with a special cream from the sun is the most important element of proper tanning. Scientific studies show that it is ultraviolet rays that are responsible for 90% of skin lesions leading to its premature aging (1) - and the characteristic redness of the face after exposure to the sun is a complete burn that affects the deep layers of the epidermis.
At the same time, choosing a high-quality sunscreen is not just buying sun cream with the maximum SPF protection factor. If you plan to use such a cream primarily for the face, its composition and light texture will play a key role - cheap synthetic ingredients will protect you from the sun, but they will literally clog your skin and lead to acne.
We also note that the composition of sunscreens includes titanium dioxide - in fact, it is this substance that reflects the sun's rays from the surface of the skin. Recent scientific studies have shown that titanium nanoparticles are stored in the body, disrupting metabolism and harming the brain and digestive system. In France, this substance has been banned since 2020 as an ingredient in food.
Sun protection factor
SPF ( Sun Protection Factor ) is the degree of protection against the sun or the proportion of solar radiation reaching the skin. The marking SPF10 means that when applying the cream, only 1/10 (or 10%) of the ultraviolet rays will have a damaging effect on it, SPF50 - 1/50 rays (or 2%). In fact, SPF tanning cream creates a reflective surface on the skin.
As a result, 10 minutes of exposure to the sun without sunscreen is equivalent to 300 minutes of tanning with correctly applied SPF30 lotion. However, the mechanics of applying sunscreen and its regular renewal are extremely important, significantly affecting the final degree of protection - when sweating, bathing or using a towel, the cream simply erases.
Sunscreens: SPF50 or SPF30?
For use in the city or when in the sun for no more than 30-50 minutes, a sunscreen for face with protection SPF15 is suitable, for ordinary tanning on the beach - cream with SPF30. Products with SPF50 are necessary either for extremely fair skin, or in the first days of tanning. Note that in most cases, the SPF30 is sufficient, since the texture of the SPF50 is usually thicker and heavier.
It should be understood that a higher protective factor SPF does not always mean stronger protection from the sun (especially in the case of body cream). No matter how high the SPF is, sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours to maintain effectiveness. In addition, the density and uniformity of the applied layer also plays a significant role.
How to protect yourself from the sun correctly?
In order for the sunblock to really protect the skin from ultraviolet rays, it must be applied tightly enough - you should use approximately 2 mg of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. In the end, the amount of cream the size of a 5-ruble coin is enough to cover the face, and the whole body will need about 20-30 g.
Once again, the sunscreen for the body must be updated after contact with water, wiping with a towel or profuse sweating. Among other things, on the beach it is important to apply sunblock not only to the face and body, but also to the ears, as well as to use special lipstick to protect the lips and sunglasses, since UV rays can also damage the retina.
Sun cream or sunblock?
When choosing a sunscreen for the face, it is better to stay on the 2-in-1 combination products containing both the protective factor SPF and moisturizing components. At the same time, remember that the presence of sun cream on the skin does not prevent tanning at all, but only blocks harmful ultraviolet rays, protecting the skin from burns, premature aging and wrinkles.
Although even cheap sunscreens really protect against tanning, they often contain petroleum jelly and low-quality mineral oils. After applying such funds to the face, a pronounced effect of oily sheen appears and pores get clogged, causing acne. Moreover, the higher the SPF factor of such a cream and the more water-resistant it is, the stronger the skin suffers as a result.
Sunscreen: the rules of choice
Carefully study the composition of the cream and avoid the following ingredients: isoparaffin, hexylene glycol, lanolin alcohol, hydrogenated vegetable oil, decyl oleate. If possible, try to check the sunscreen on the back of your hand before buying and choose one that does not make the skin sticky and quickly absorbs completely.
- Do not chase the low price . Cheap sunscreens contain petroleum jelly, mineral oils, and other comedogenic ingredients. Such a cream is not completely absorbed, retaining an unpleasant sticky sensation and making the skin oily, leading to the formation of acne. This plays a critical role when using sunblock on the face.
- Choose double protection . A good sunscreen should protect against UVB rays that cause redness and skin burns, and UVA rays that damage DNA and affect aging. According to European standards, the package of sunscreen must contain a mention of what rays it protects from.
- Use the optimal SPF factor . For everyday urban use, a sunscreen with SPF15 is enough; for sunburn on a yarn, a cream with SPF30 is recommended. For light, sensitive to burns and tanned skin, use SPF50. However, remember that a higher degree of protection usually means a denser cream texture.
- Apply the cream correctly . Sunscreen is guaranteed to work only the first two hours (then it is recommended to be applied again), and after contact with water or a towel, part of the cream is erased from the skin, leaving it defenseless. At the same time, the disadvantage of moisture-resistant creams is that, again, they clog the skin.
- Rinse off thoroughly after sunbathing . The nature of sunscreens is such that they physically reflect the sun's rays due to the presence of zinc oxide, titanium and other metals in the composition. After sunbathing, it is important to remove the remnants of these products by thoroughly washing the skin with a washcloth and using a facial scrub .
A good tanning cream should be quickly absorbed and leave no sticky residue on the skin. Cheap sunscreens (especially those with SPF50 and higher, and also labeled “moisture resistant”) create a thick film on the skin, clogging pores, causing acne and preventing tissues from breathing. After tanning, it is extremely important to completely wash off the rest of the cream from the face and body.
- Skin cancer facts and statistics, source