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Creme, Gel & Co: Sun protection from inside and outside

Summer sun brings good spirits. Summer sun increases well-being. Outdoor training is also much more fun. But staying in the sun for too long damages your skin. The UVA and UVB rays of the sun are highly aggressive. Sunburn, sun allergies, skin cancer, premature skin aging and disorders of the immune system are the result. This is why reliable sun protection is so important.

External sun protection - with cream, spray and gel

Sun creams prolong the natural protection of the skin. They minimize the harmful UV rays, but cannot block them completely. Sunscreens have different effects: chemical or mineral.

Chemical sun creams

Chemical sunscreen is the conventional variant. Here, chemical filters convert the UV rays into heat. The cream must penetrate the skin for this purpose. That is why sun protection is only active about 20 minutes after applying the cream.

Some of the chemical ingredients are suspected of harming the skin rather than doing it good. UV filters like octylmethoxycinnamate, oxybenzone and octocrylene penetrate into deeper skin layers and produce highly reactive oxygen compounds which trigger the same thing as the UV rays they are supposed to protect against: oxidative stress.

Mineral sun creams

Mineral sun creams are not absorbed into the skin. They form a protective film on the surface, which reflects the sun's rays through titanium or zinc particles. This way, no active ingredients get into the skin.

Mineral sun creams are therefore not necessarily better. Some products contain so-called nanoparticles. These tiny atoms and molecules are suspected to cause cancer. Nanoparticles have hardly been researched yet, but they seem to enter the bloodstream through damaged skin. What the mini-particles can do there is still questionable. Products without nanoparticles are, however, harmless. If you want to be on the safe side, avoid sunscreens whose composition contains the term "nano".

It is somewhat more difficult to cream with mineral creams: they are not as easy to spread and are visible on the skin as a whitish film. After applying the cream, you can go straight into the sun. Mineral sun creams work immediately.

A lot is just right - apply plenty of cream

Don't skimp on sunscreen: you should use about one shot glass full to apply sunscreen. Apply it often, at least every two hours and additionally after bathing or during a sweaty sport.

As a rule of thumb for the correct sun protection factor (SPF): Adults should generally use a sun protection factor of at least 20, children are well advised to use a sun protection factor of 50. Light skin needs a higher sun protection factor than tanned skin or naturally darker skin.

The sun protection factor is the factor by which the skin's own protection time increases. Depending on the skin type, this is between 10 and 40 minutes. If you can stay in the sun for 10 minutes without protection, this time is extended to 300 minutes with a SPF 30 - theoretically. The following applies: Always apply a good, even amount of sunscreen.

At some point, however, your sun protection will be exhausted. Then, despite a high sun protection factor and regular application of sunscreen, nothing will work. And now it's time to go into the shade.

Sun protection from within - with antioxidants for healthy skin

Sun creams have many disadvantages: they have to be applied constantly, are sometimes sticky, are poorly absorbed and often contain questionable chemical filters or nanoparticles. Sun protection from the inside is a good supplement.

Antioxidants protect the skin from the sun from within. They trap the aggressive oxygen compounds (oxidants) that are produced by UV rays and render them harmless. Antioxidants are therefore a good supplement to "normal" sun protection in the shade or with sun cream.

Antioxidants are contained in tomatoes, olive oil, blueberries and green tea, for example. 

Astaxanthin traps UV rays

Astaxanthin acts very quickly throughout the body in every single cell and can render free radicals harmless. This benefits the joints and organs and also the skin. You may also be able to better prevent sunburn.

To support sun protection from the inside, for example, before a holiday, experts recommend taking four milligrams daily for four weeks. In addition, you should always use other sun protection measures. Astaxanthin is by no means a substitute for sunscreen!

Astaxanthin is fat soluble. Astaxanthin is best taken with something containing oil to improve absorption. The Vitamaze 3-month Astaxanthin diet contains 90 vegan capsules with valuable astaxanthin from the blood rain algae (Haematococcus pluvialis) - without animal gelatine, glycerine, gluten and other allergens.

Enjoy the weather in the shade

Actually it's logical: the best protection against the sun is to avoid it. Shadow is your skin's best friend. No oxidative stress, no sunburn, no wrinkles, no constant reapplication of cream - it couldn't be easier.

Be sure to avoid the sunniest time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. But even in the morning and evening hours the sun can still be very aggressive. Go into the shade as often as possible. Long clothes and hats also offer good, additional protection against too much sun.

Anyone who is sensitive to the sun should be in the shade immediately. For example, if you have been out in the sun for a long time and suddenly find yourself in the sun for a very long time, your skin is quickly irritated and forms red, itchy spots and pustules. This is a polymorphic light dermatosis, colloquially also called sun allergy. The therapy: good sun protection and plenty of shade.

 

Sun protection for children and babies

The skin of babies and small children is still very thin and sensitive. Aggressive sunrays can quickly lead to skin irritation and sunburn. This is not only unpleasant and sometimes painful. It is also dangerous. Because the skin never forgets. Sunburn in childhood can lead to skin cancer in adulthood. A large proportion of light-related skin damage occurs in childhood. This is why consistent sun protection is so important.

Children are in the sun often and for a long time, much more often than adults. These sun protection tips help to protect the little "sunshine" when playing, romping and swimming outdoors:

  • Shade
    Consistent playing in the shade is the best protection against the sun. But beware: sun sails and parasols still let surprisingly much UV radiation through. Even an overcast sky does not protect against sunburn. Take your child into the "right" shade, which for example a house or a big tree throws. Babies should not be in the sun for the first two years anyway.

  • Take a siesta
    Avoid the midday heat. Between 11 and 15 o'clock the sun is particularly aggressive. The harmful UV radiation is strongest then.

  • Cream, cream, cream
    Apply sunscreen to your child regularly. At least every two hours and additionally after a bath or when he or she has sweated heavily. 

  • Well-protected
    A sun hat is mandatory, especially for babies. The hair is often still thin and fluffy so that the sun shines all the way to the scalp. Burns can easily occur. Hats and caps ideally have a wide brim at the neck and in front of the forehead. In this way, the sun terraces scalp, neck and forehead are well protected from the sun.

  • Well dressed
    If possible, put on something long and airy for your child. Dark colours block more UV rays, light colours slightly less. There are also very nice UV-protective clothes for children. You can protect the still very sensitive eyes of your child with sunglasses. However, some babies do not like glasses. If your baby can cope with them - fine.

 


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Pictures: © istock / RossHelen, istock / travnikovstudio

 
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