If we were to abide by the limits set for a healthy exposure to sun, we could say that sunbathing is very healthy. That is how sufficient quantities of vitamin D are made in skin.
What causes skin changes is UV rays, which are divided in three groups: UVA, UVB and UVC rays.
- UVC rays are not important in terms of skin damage, since they are halted in the ozone layer.
- UVB rays do not damage skin in deeper layers, and their effects are only seen onthe surface and lead to burns and redness of the skin.
- UVA rays are the most dangerous, since they are potential causes of skin cancer. They penetrate in deeper layers of the skin and cause permanent and irreversible skin changes.
What can we do to reduce skin damage? We are all well aware that direct skin exposure to sun is forbidden in the summertime between 10 and 16h. If that cannot be avoided, it is necessary to cover the larger part of the body with light clothes which will disable, or at least reduce the piercing of the UV rays through the skin.
Even so, it is still very important to use UV protective factors, which will reduce the impact of the rays on the skin. The choice of the product depends on several factors.
- Choosing the right protection factor
Products contain UVA and UVB filters. Given the described effects of UV rays, the strength of the UVA filters in the products is of great importance. The standard for UVA filters requires that they absorb as much as 90% UVA rays. UVB filters express the ratio between the length of sun exposure with the product on the skin and without the product on the skin before redness of the skin appears. According to the COLIPA Association, factor values range from +2 to +50, even though marking can include higher numbers, which has been allowed in some countries. The selection of factor values is done on the basis of skin colour,in accordance with the following table:
|TYPES||EYE AND HAIR COLOUR||ALOWED TIME WITHOUT PROTECTION||PROTECTION FACTOR CHOICE|
|I - prominent sensitivity||Red or fair hair, freckles on the skin, light eyes||5-10 min||50+|
|II - increased sensitivity||Blond raid and blue eyes, pale complexion||10-20 min||30 - 40|
|III - normal sensitivity||Brown hair and eyes, light brown skin||20-30 min||20 - 30|
|IV - no sensitivity||Dark hair and eyes||30-60 min||do 20|
- Choice of product
On the basis of the skin type (whether the skin is dry, prone to dandruff, or greasy, or wrinkled) one should chose the form of the protection product.
- Creams are commonly used on the face. They are more or less greasy products, more appropriate for dry skin, and there are also shaded cream varieties which substitute make-up, while at the same time satisfying the protection need.
- Fluids very popular forms nowadays, since they are produced as non grease formulae, and do not clog the pores of the greasy and combined types of skin. For a skin prone to pimples, there are fluids which combine the protective factors and the substances for regulation of grease in the skin, thus avoiding the need for using several products simultaneously.
- Protective factor milks are meant to be used on wider regions of the skin and the application and spreading is simple. They can be found in different varieties with smaller or bigger percentages of greasy substances, thereby increasing the choice options.
- Oils have not been all that popular recently, but they are still very present, as they provide the skin with the necessary protection and care, as well as very appealing appearance.
Some producers have declared their products as anti-allergic, as sun allergies have become increasingly common nowadays. Such people do not only get skin redness and burns, but also suffer from typical symptoms of allergy, such as itchy skin, redness and rash. Anti-allergic products are free from any additional substances such as perfumes and preservatives which might cause an allergic reaction; they are made from substances which are proved to be well tolerated by skin. It is important to know that such products are not sold together with other sunbathing products, but only in pharmacies, and that they bear the note of being meant strictly for allergy susceptible skin. This group tooincludes different pharmacological forms and ranges of protective factors, from the lowest to the highest.