UV Rays Threaten Skin Health

Excessive exposure to UV rays damages the skin and can cause skin cancer. Melanoma is a dangerous type of skin cancer because it can also damage other organs. The most important symptom is the formation of a mole that did not exist before or a change in an existing mole. This can take the form of irregular structures containing several colors. It may be larger than normal and/or itchy. The risk may increase with age.

How sunscreens prevent UV ray damage

By reflecting back dangerous rays

By absorbing UV rays before they penetrate the skin

How to choose sunscreen

According to the British Association of Dermatologists:

SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’. This is a measure of filtration of UV-B rays. The higher the SPF, the stronger the protection. SPF can also be an indication of how long the protection factor used can provide protection before a burn occurs. For example, a person who burns ten minutes after contact with the sun can be considered to burn after 15×10=150 minutes of sun exposure if he/she uses a sunscreen of SPF15. Using a sunscreen with SPF15 factor is considered to provide 15 times more protection than not using it at all. Here it is necessary to make sure that the product actually provides this protection factor. To avoid taking risks, it may be mathematically correct to assume that the protection factor provides half or a third of the protection time. When choosing, it should pay attention to factors such as the product being EU (European Union) approved and being protective against both UV-A and UV-B.

There are asterisks on the sunscreen bottles. These asterisks are 0 to 5. For well protection, asterisks of 4-5 are the best.

How to use sunscreen

For healthy protection, sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure. It should be reapplied every two hours. It should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, sweating or drying off. Nevertheless, for risk reasons, SPF Factor 30 should be used.

For good protection, adults should apply the equivalent of at least six teaspoons evenly over the whole body.

Do sunscreens inhibit vitamin D synthesis?

Although this requires further studies, it is conceivable that regular use of SPF Factor 15 sunscreens may maintain normal levels of vitamin D synthesis, but it is not yet clear that they with higher protection factors inhibit synthesis.

Is sunscreen harmful for babies?

Although no such harm has yet been reported, SPF Factor 30 creams and sunscreens with 4-5 asterisks, especially for babies, should be preferred and should not be used again if they cause an allergy-like reaction. Babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to the sun.

How sunlight is linked to cancer

Regardless of skin color, any individual exposed to the sun can be at risk of skin cancer from too much UV light exposure. Sunlight accounts for 80% of all skin cancer risks.

The cancer risk of UV protective sunscreens is still being studied; however, experts say that at this stage, protection from UV rays of the sun far outweighs the risk posed by sunscreens

(E. Silva, R. Tavares, F. de Silva Paulitsch, L. Zhang; Eur J Dermatol, 2018 Apr 1;28(2);186-201)