Sun Protection and Sunscreen

Stop wrinkles, discolorations and dull skin. Advice for the best sun protection to keep your skin young, healthy and beautiful

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Author Mads Timmermann

Mads has 14+ years of experience as a skin expert and has written/read this article.

Your skin’s best friend

Sun is an amazing source of light, heat, and vitamin D, and most people love the warming rays of the sun, also called UV rays.

Unfortunately, the UV rays from the sun are also one of the worst enemies for your skin.

The sun causes wrinkles (fine lines and especially deep wrinkles), changes in pigmentation that appears as dark or light discolorations ( and no, it is not just something that comes with age), degradation of the skin’s immune system (reduces the skin’s natural ability to heal, for example, blemishes), destroyed collagen (that otherwise keeps the skin young and firm), and skin cancer (many young girls especially get skin cancer because of extreme sun tanning).

But fear not! As long as you protect your skin every day using the guidelines below, you will keep these problems at a minimum, and at the same time achieve visibly more beautiful and younge-looking skin that will stay that way for a long time.

UVA and UVB rays

The sun radiates two types of UV rays that are destructive for your skin: UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays are the longer rays, which means that they penetrate deeper into your skin and create the most damage (wrinkles, skin cancer, etc.)

UVA rays are so strong that they are present all year round (even on a gray, rainy day) and can even penetrate glass, including car windows.

UVB rays are damaging when the sun is shining and will make your skin red and burned.

SPF factor

The best you can do is to use plenty of sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) during the daytime all year round.

SPF 15 will protect you from 95% of the damaging UVB rays and SPF 30 will protect you from 97% of UVB rays–the greatest protection available..

As long as you use plenty of sunscreen (a teaspoonful for your face and neck and a shot-glass full for the rest of your body), SPF 15 will be the most protective, with the lowest risk of irritation.

SPF is an indication of how long you can stay out in the sun without burning. Of course, this is different from one person to the next, but in general it corresponds to 7 hours in the sun.

SPF is only an estimate for protection from the UVB rays. You should also make sure that your sun protection contains ingredients for protection against UVA rays as well (check the packaging or ask the sales clerk).

Water and sweat reduces the effect

Unfortunately, it is not chemically possible to produce “waterproof sunscreen,”because all sunscreens decompose on the skin when they are subjected to liquids.

If you sweat during a sunny summer day or bathe in the ocean, lake, or pool, you have to remember to re-apply the sunscreen.

Sun cream has to be absorbed last

There are many different types of sunscreen. Some work immediately (physical sunscreen) and some have to be absorbed in the skin first (chemical sunscreen).

The best you can do is to apply the sunscreen approximately 20 minutes before you go out in the sun. This also means that you have to apply sunscreen before you go to the beach.

Another important thing to remember is that you have to apply sunscreen on your skin as the very last skin-care product to obtain the very best protection.

Vitamin D and sun protection

Vitamin D is important for the functioning and general health of your body. Your body produces the so-called vitamin D3 when it is subjected to UVB rays from the sun.

Many people don’t use sunscreen, thinking they will obtain a lot of vitamin D from sunlight.

Even if you use sun protection, your body will still obtain enough UVB rays to produce the important vitamin D.

If you skip using sunscreen in order to obtain extra vitamin D, you will instead get premature wrinkles and deeper lines, changes in pigmentation, a degraded immune system, and–worst case scenario–skin cancer.

To protect your skin and health, you should use sunscreen daily, eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, and fish, and perhaps take a vitamin D supplement.

Tanning beds and Vitamin D

A big misconception is that tanning beds help the body’s production of vitamin D.

Tanning beds emit UVA rays, which have no effect on the body’s production of vitamin D. It is UVB rays that boosts vitamin D production (UVB rays are most active in direct sunlight and during the summer).

Let’s pretend that tanning beds are stimulating your body’s production of vitamin D, it would then be foolish to expose your skin to something harmful (tanning bed) to achieve something positive (vitamin D). It’s like smoking a cigarettes in order to avoid stress but then instead risking to get lung cancer.

Select make-up with sun protection

More and more make-up products like foundation and powder contain sun protection, which is an excellent way to protect your skin from sun damages.

If you use make-up daily, buy make-up with sunscreen. This way you will apply extra sunscreen to your skin, and you can also re-apply sunscreen during the day when you touch up your powder.

Oily skin and sun protection with make-up

If you have very oily skin, even the thinnest moisturizer with sunscreen will be too heavy for your skin and will cause clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes.

Instead of using a traditional sunscreen, people with very oily skin can help themselves by selecting make-up (foundation and powder) with sun protection.

Eat/drink yourself to sun protection

Nature in itself contains active ingredients that protect the skin from damaging sunlight naturally.

In truth, you can eat yourself to extra sun protection!

To boost the body with natural sun protection, you should eat a lot of fruit and vegetables every day.

The green and orange fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene, which is early-stage vitamin A and which protects the skin from sun damage.

You can eat/drink yourself to natural sun protection by consuming carrots, apricots, parsley, spinach, and nettles, among other things.

Remember to protect…

Many people forget to apply sunscreen vulnerable areas other than the face.

The ears, lips, neck, cleavage and hands are areas that appear more wrinkled and discolored on some people.

The hands of elderly people often have brown discolorations. These are not so-called “age spots/liver spots” but occur as a result of unprotected exposure to sunlight for many years.

Sunscreen for children and sensitive skin

Some people are extremely sensitive to certain types of sunscreen. Those people should choose a sun-protection product that contains only the physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).

Sunscreen for children

Children need the same beneficial antioxidants and sunscreens as adults, but the physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) are better for children, because their skin is extremely sensitive.

Remember sunscreen today!

Proof: To your left you can see a truck driver who has driven for many years without using sunscreen.

The left side of his face, which has been subjected to a lot more sunlight than the right side, has more wrinkles and is more damaged.

It is never too late to begin using sunscreen 365 days a year, but the sooner you start protecting your skin, the better.

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