Aug 19,2020

Safe sunbathing – how to protect your skin with sunscreen creams

Although summer is slowly ending, and we think more about coming back to school than about basking in the sun, knowing how to safely sunbathe will surely come in useful in the future. 😊

The sun exposure has undeniably positive impact- it helps our bodies to produce vitamin D naturally. Due to this fact it reduces depression, makes bones stronger, boosts the immune system and helps us to sleep better.  On the other hand too much sun exposure is proved to be harmful. Most notably, spending time in the sun without SPF is one cause of skin tumours. Fortunately,  suntan is not as popular as it used to, and awareness of the bad influence of sun radiation increases.

How is a suntan formed?

A suntan is an effect of skin damages. Melanocytes, pigment cells, when exposed to the solar radiation, release a pigment- melanin. The increase of melanin causes our skin to turn darker.

There are so many sun creams, how to pick the right one?

Every sun cream has it’s SPF- Sun Protection Factor. You can buy creams with SPF form 2 to 50. SPF 10 means that a person who use the cream will get a sunburn 10 times later than a person who doesn’t use it.

Creams protect our skin during sunbathing. We should apply them BEFORE we start doing it, not  after the tan or even the sunburn appears. Using a sun cream doesn’t allow us to sunbathe as long as we want. We should reapply every 2 hours to ensure proper protection.

SPF factor which we should use depends on our skin complexion.

* Pale and very pale skin, red hair – SPF 50

* Pale skin and blond hair- SPF 40

* Pale skin and dark blond hair – SPF 25- 35

* Pale skin, brown hair- 20-30

* Darker skin, brown hair- SPF 15- 25

* Very dark skin, brown hair- SPF- 10-20

To protect children we should always use SPF 50. 

There are many advantages of using sun creams: they prevent skin cancers, protect our skin from sunburns, erythema and allergy to the sun. In addition, they decrease the risk of discolouration and wrinkles. The child’s skin should be protected from the very beginning. Consequences of not using sun creams can occur many years after sun exposition and they are irreversible.

New-borns have to be particularly protected. We should avoid taking them to the open sun. Advised walking hours are before 10-11 a.m.  and after 3-4 p.m. If your child’s stroller hood has an SPF 50+ you don’t have to use sun cream during the usual walk. If you go on holiday with your new-born and spend more time outdoors you should use a special sun cream with SPF 50+.

Use sun creams not only during sunbathing

Research have shown that using sun creams every day during ordinary activities decreases risk of wrinkles and skin discolorations. It has been proved that people who use them regularly have softer and more resilient skin.

Organic, mineral or mixed filters?

We can buy 3 types of sun cream: organic, mineral and mixed.

Organic filters penetrate into superficial layers of our skin, absorb the solar radiation and release it as warmth. Mineral filters work nearly in the same way  ( in 95% they absorb the solar radiation and release it as warmth and in 5% they create a protection layer on  the epidermis surface). Mixed filters are combination of both of them.

Organic filters are proper for children over the first year and with generally healthy skin. They can whiten clothes. Mineral filters can be used to protect newborns, children with sensitive skin and illnesses like atopic dermatosis, psoriasis and scleroderma.

When it comes to newborns we should also pay attention to the sun cream penetrability. Sun creams with penetrability can sink through the skin into body. This is a quite controversial and complex issue, however, there are no researches that confirm that it is harmful for adolescents and older children. In comparison to them newborns have thinner and more sensitive skin and we have to choose the sun cream more carefully. Sun creams with penetrability are also not recommended to children with extremely sensitive skin and pregnant or nursing women.

How to use sun creams?

* Apply the sun cream on the whole body about 30 min before sun exposure. Don’t forget about ears, nose, hands and feet. If you apply it earlier, it will be able to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin.

* A new portion of sun cream should be applied every 2 hours. If you go swimming put a new portion of cream when you get out of water or use a waterproof cream.

* Avoid sunbathing between 11 a.m and 3 p.m. The best time to do this is between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m

* Every 2 h of sunbathing require a break.

* Don’t use sun cream from the previous year. Sun creams are valid 6-12 months. After this time you should buy a new one.


* The best way to sunbathe safely is not to spend too much time in the sun.

* Children should use creams with SPF 50.

* Use suncream 30 min before sunbathing, every two hours apply an extra portion.

* Use suncreams when you go: Cycling, climbing mountains, sightseeing.


Author: Alicja Jodczyk



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