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Home / All / General Health / Sunscreens and Other Methods: How to Choose and Use the Right One to Protect Your Skin

Sunscreens and Other Methods: How to Choose and Use the Right One to Protect Your Skin

Everyone knows how important it is to protect your skin from the sun, and this becomes even more crucial if you work outdoors all day. Continuous exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can have detrimental effects on our skin. These include sunburn, premature skin aging such as the appearance of pigmented spots, and even an increased risk of skin cancer.

One of the key means of protection against the harmful effects of the sun is the use of sunscreen. However, with the wide variety of products available on the market, it can be challenging to determine which one is best suited for your needs. This article is intended to provide you with information about choosing the appropriate sunscreen and its proper use, especially in prolonged sun exposure conditions. It also discusses additional methods, in addition to sunscreen, that can help you ensure the best protection against solar radiation.

Risk of Skin Cancer for Those Who Experienced Sunburns

Numerous studies have shown that prolonged and repeated sunburns are associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. This underscores the importance of proper UV protection and taking precautions to minimize potential risks.

  • Individuals who experienced sunburns frequently during childhood or adolescence are at a higher risk of developing melanoma, an aggressive type of skin cancer.
  • Repeated sunburns in adults are also linked to an increased risk of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
  • People living in regions with high levels of UV radiation (e.g., closer to the equator) have an elevated risk of skin cancer.
  • Visiting tanning beds, which expose the skin to intense UV radiation, is also associated with an increased risk of skin cancer.
  • Individuals working outdoors or in conditions of high sun activity (e.g., construction workers, farmers) may be at higher risk of skin cancer due to prolonged exposure to UV radiation.

All of this emphasizes the importance of proper UV protection and taking precautions to minimize potential risks.

Sunscreen products are classified based on their abilities to filter UV radiation

  • Physical sunscreens: These contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which form a barrier on the skin and reflect UV radiation. They work immediately upon application and do not require time for activation.
    • Comment: It’s worth noting that it’s preferable for the sunscreen to contain zinc oxide, as it has a broader spectrum of protection, effectively blocking the entire range of radiations. Moreover, zinc oxide is less likely to irritate the skin and does not clog pores. These characteristics make it a preferred choice for people with more sensitive skin, especially if the skin is prone to acne. The only drawback of zinc oxide sunscreen is its slightly higher price compared to titanium dioxide sunscreen.
  • Chemical sunscreens: These contain chemical compounds that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat. When a sunscreen with chemical filters is applied to the skin, these compounds interact with the UV rays and transform them into less harmful forms of energy.
    • Comment: Chemical filters may take some time to activate, usually around 15-30 minutes after application, to provide full protection. Additionally, there’s a possibility of an allergic reaction with such sunscreen if you have sensitive skin.
  • Combination sunscreens: These include both physical and chemical ingredients to enhance protection.
    • Comment: These products combine both the positive and negative aspects of both types of sunscreens.

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Choosing SPF and Protection Spectrum

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure that determines how effectively a sunscreen shields the skin from UV rays. UV radiation comprises three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-A and UV-B rays penetrate the atmosphere and reach the Earth’s surface, while UV-C radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and poses no threat to humans.

It is generally recommended to opt for sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher to ensure effective protection. The higher the SPF value, the greater the protection from UV-B rays the sunscreen provides. For instance, a sunscreen with SPF 30 offers approximately 97% protection from UV-B rays, while an SPF 50 sunscreen provides around 98% protection.

Additionally, look for products labeled as “Broad Spectrum.” These sunscreens offer protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays.

Sunscreen Composition

For those who spend extended periods in the sun and engage in physical activities, choosing the right sunscreen plays a crucial role.

  • Check the expiration date of the product and avoid using sunscreens after their expiry date.
  • Heavy and sticky creams can cause discomfort and may be inconvenient during work. Opt for lightweight, quickly absorbing formulas that don’t leave a greasy feeling on the skin.
  • When selecting sunscreen, pay attention to ingredient safety, favoring creams with minimal potentially harmful components.
  • Opt for water-resistant sunscreen formulas to ensure durability even during heavy sweating, common during physical work. Water-resistant formulas are also suitable for water activities.
  • If you have sensitive skin or specific needs, choose sunscreens with gentle and moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and panthenol.
  • Opt for sunscreens enriched with antioxidants such as vitamin E or vitamin C. These help protect the skin from free radicals and premature aging.
  • Avoid alcohol-containing sunscreens as they can further dry out the skin.
  • If you have sensitive skin or allergies, patch-test the cream on a small area of skin first.

Application and Frequency of Use

Proper application of sunscreen is essential for its effectiveness.

  • Depending on the type of sunscreen, it may be necessary to apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Apply the sunscreen generously and evenly to all exposed skin areas, including the face, neck, arms, and other exposed areas. On average, an adult needs about 30 ml (approximately 2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to cover their entire body: a teaspoon for each limb and half a teaspoon for the face and neck.
  • Spread the sunscreen evenly over the skin’s surface, including the face, neck, ears, back, and other exposed body areas.
  • Don’t forget sensitive areas: protect particularly sensitive skin areas like the nose, lips, moles, and scars. Use lip balm with sunscreen for the lips.
  • Avoid applying sunscreen to the area around the eyes to prevent irritation.
  • When working with tools, choose a sunscreen based on gel.
  • Reapply every one to two hours (depending on the sunscreen’s duration of action indicated on the label).
  • If the sunscreen is not water-resistant, reapply more frequently after swimming or heavy sweating.

Skin Types and Sunscreens:

Different skin types require different sunscreen choices. Here are some tips and recommendations:

  • For fair and sensitive skin, choose sunscreens with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 and above to prevent sunburn and skin damage.
  • For darker skin: SPF 15-30 might be sufficient to protect skin from sunburn and premature aging.
  • For oily or problematic skin, look for sunscreens that don’t leave white residue on the skin or help control excess oil. Gel-based or lightweight creams may be better suited for oily skin.
  • For dry skin, opt for sunscreens with moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid.
  • For sensitive skin, choose sunscreens with minimal fragrance and preservatives, and hypoallergenic formulas with gentle ingredients.
  • For children, select sunscreens specially designed for kids, without fragrance and irritating substances. Use SPF 30 and higher for maximum protection.

Additional Protection Measures

Remember, sunscreen is just one form of protection. Don’t forget about other protective methods:

  • Wear protective clothing and headgear.
  • Try to avoid or minimize sun exposure during peak hours when UV rays are most active, typically from 10 AM to 4 PM.
  • Use sunglasses with UV protection or regular glasses with UV protection. Eyes are highly vulnerable to the negative effects of ultraviolet light.
  • Use sunglasses or regular glasses with UV protection. Eyes are most susceptible to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. For more information on this topic, you can refer to the article “Basic principles of eye care to reduce the risk of vision loss“.
  • Also, ensure to stay adequately hydrated while working in the sun to prevent dehydration and maintain skin health.

Calculating Basic Water Needs

Everyone is familiar with the general recommendation of 8 glasses a day. But what kind of glasses? Is there a difference between adults and children? Do these glasses account for all liquid resources consumed in a day, or just water? Several studies provide varying recommendations. Here’s a more individualized calculation:

  • Multiply your weight (in kilograms) by 0.03 to determine the amount of water in liters you should drink per day.
  • For example, if your weight is 70 kg: 70 kg * 0.03 = 2.1 liters of water per day.
  • Under conditions of moderate activity, consider adding about 0.5 liters for each hour of physical work to your base water requirement. Therefore, if you work in the sun for 8 hours: 2.1 liters + (0.5 liters/hr * 8 hrs) = 6.1 liters of water per day.

To this, it’s worth adding that drinking all this water at once is not advisable; it should be consumed gradually. The article “Everything You Need to Know About Hyperhydration: Symptoms, Dangers, and Prevention ” provides more information on this topic.

Hydration and Dehydration

In conditions of physical work under the sun, sweating can be significant, so special attention should be given to maintaining optimal hydration levels and adjusting this norm if necessary. Here are symptoms to watch out for:

  • Dry mouth and thirst
  • Reduced urination and dark-colored urine
  • Dry skin and decreased elasticity
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Rapid pulse
  • Lack of tears and reduced sweating
  • Reduced appetite
  • Confusion or irritability

If you or someone around you shows signs of dehydration, it’s important to take immediate measures to restore hydration. Regular consumption of water and other fluids containing electrolytes can help prevent and manage dehydration. In cases of severe or prolonged dehydration, seek medical assistance.

Supplements Can Also Help Reduce Sun Damage

Some supplements and substances can be beneficial for maintaining healthy skin in the context of sun protection.

  • Vitamin D: Important for skin health, it can help reduce inflammation and enhance the skin’s natural defense against UV rays.
  • Lycopene: This carotenoid, found in tomatoes and other fruits, has properties that contribute to protecting the skin from UV rays. This antioxidant is also important for eye health.
  • Antioxidants: Vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium are examples of antioxidants that help combat the effects of free radicals caused by UV rays.
  • Glutathione: A powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in protecting the body’s cells from damage, including damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Glutathione helps neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, which can reduce inflammation and minimize skin damage. While the body typically synthesizes glutathione on its own, its levels may decrease due to factors like age, stress, pollution, and UV exposure. In some cases, additional glutathione intake through supplements can be beneficial. However, it’s worth noting that glutathione may not always be well absorbed when taken as supplements due to its molecular structure and formation in the body. More information in this article: “Glutathione: Your Ultimate Body’s Defense Against Infections and Toxins.”
  • Multivitamins and Minerals: Ensure your body gets an adequate supply of all necessary vitamins and minerals as they are crucial for overall skin health. They are also important for replenishing glutathione after oxidation in the body.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: They can help reduce inflammation and support skin health in the presence of UV rays.
  • Polyphenols: Some polyphenolic compounds, such as resveratrol (found in grapes) and quercetin (present in fruits and vegetables), have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid: These supplements can support skin elasticity and hydration, making it more resilient to damage.

However, it’s important to note that supplements are not a replacement for sunscreen and proper skincare.


The combination of sun protection measures and essential hydration are fundamental aspects of maintaining skin health and preventing skin cancer triggered by oxidative stress caused by UV rays. However, beyond this, it’s important to note that there are diverse methods that contribute to skin recovery after oxidative stress and have a positive impact on slowing down the aging processes and age-related skin pigmentation.

These skin recovery methods may encompass intravenous antioxidant therapies, such as glutathione, and other innovative approaches that contribute to reducing inflammation, strengthening the immune system, and combatting oxidative stress. These methods have the potential not only to expedite skin recovery but also to exert a favorable influence on overall skin health in the long term.

It’s essential to underscore that the application of such methods requires consultation with medical professionals. A planned consultation with a doctor will provide more accurate and personalized information about the available methods for restoring skin health and decelerating aging processes.