Photoprotection means protection against the sun. Most people believe that sun protection (or sunscreen) is enough to give us that protection, but this is not true, sunscreen is not synonymous with sun protection.
The sun emits different types of radiation waves of different lengths. Each of these wavelengths determine the effects of this radiation for humans.
There are four main types of radiation that reach the surface of the Earth:
- Ultraviolet B (UVB) – Light almost imperceptible, responsible for sunburn, tanning of the skin, darkening of spots and most skin cancers. This radiation is most intense near noon, in summer and in the tropics.
- Ultraviolet A (UVA) – Represents 95% of the light that reaches the Earth and is responsible for skin aging, tanning of the skin, darkening of spots and some types of skin cancer. Compared with UVB radiation, it varies little throughout the year, the day and the world.
- Infrared (IR) – This reddish light is responsible for part of the perception of light and heat that we have under the sun. It seems to be associated with the darkening of some types of spots.
- Visible light – It is the different wavelengths within this group that allow us to distinguish mainly colors. There is controversy about its potential to stain the skin.
It is very important to pay attention to the fact that clouds are not able to block mainly UVA and UVB radiation, despite the decrease in light and heat on rainy days.
So now we know why radiation A and B are the most harmful to our health and what are the times when they are most exposed to each of them, we will understand a little more about the products offered by the pharmaceutical industry.
How to choose the best sunscreen?
Sunscreens have the initials SPF on the packaging, which means “Sun protection factor“. This factor should help to standardize the different products, facilitating the life of the consumer, but in practice this is not what happens. The FPS is based on sunburn, that is, only UVB (see above), and it mainly determines the exposure time we can have without getting to the skin pink (first sign of sunburn).
For example, imagine a person with clear skin without any product on the skin, pink skin after 10 minutes of exposure to the sun and another, dark skin, which begins to color Pink after 20 minutes to the same exposure. If you apply a SPF 30 sunscreen, theoretically, the white skin can get to stay 30 for 10 minutes (300 minutes) and dark skin 30 for 20 minutes (600 minutes) until it begins to turn pink.
In addition, each FPS has a percentage of protection against UVB rays. An SPF 30, for example, protect approximately 96% of UVB and FPS 50, 98%. Therefore, despite being within the time that has been explained above, the protection will never be 100%. Knowing this is easy to understand that products with SPF greater than 50 probably will not bring additional benefits.
Another fact that is very important to determine the FPS, the tests are done with an amount that hardly a person can use. This would be for a 70 kg adult, on a day at the beach, for example, a 60 ml bottle of sunscreen. In practice, only 25% to 50% of that amount is used.
How to protect our skin from the sun?
Everything that has been explained so far does not mean that we should not use sunscreens, on the contrary, they are very useful, but we must know that the use of shields as the only method of protection against the sun, will do more damage than Well, since a good protection against UVB rays and the consequent absence of sunburn, you can stay longer in the sun, but exposes us much longer to UVA rays.
Therefore, it is essential that, in addition to generously apply a sunscreen, reapply every 2 hours or every time the skin is moist, stay in the shade and wear hats or hats and thick fabrics, even in sunny hours less intense.
That attention should be redoubled in those people who have skin spots or diseases that can be aggravated by the sun.
To choose the best sunscreen you have to have an idea of how they are made up. Sunscreens contain active ingredients that can be divided into chemical filters (or neutralize substances that absorb UV radiation) and physical (substances that make a mechanical barrier, trying to prevent radiation from entering the skin cells).
In each commercial product, there are different combinations of chemical and physical filters, but the latter are the most important for anyone who is concerned about protecting themselves against UVA as well – the most common are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
In addition to looking for products that contain the substances mentioned above, you should consider the type of skin and the type of exposure you intend to have. For example, thicker and fatty products form a thicker layer and do not come off so easily in water, the best choice for children and athletes, but they can cause acne in those with oily skin.
What is the best sunscreen for the face?
The problem arises when you have to make the choice of the product. You arrive at the pharmacy and there are thousands of options. In this case we have a TOP 5 of the best sunscreen for your soft skin and face.
1. UV ESSENTIEL FPS 50 (CHANEL)
It can be used both on a day-to-day basis, followed by makeup, and for vacations (beach or mountain) due to its texture and matte finish. It is very fluid, with 3 drops covering the entire face, so the small boat lasts several months.
2. Fusion fluid FPS 50 (ISDIN)
It protects well and lasts several hours despite the recommendation to reapply every two hours. It has gel texture and it also spreads well, but it is recommended to use it for the beach or the pool, because despite not leaving the skin oily, it leaves shine.
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For those who use foundation, cream or powder makeup, it can be used throughout the day. It lasts around 18.00 hours, is 50 ml and is easily found in European pharmacies. It also has the color version, which saves you the trouble of putting makeup.
3. Cleanance FPS 30 (Avène)
It is intended for oily skin. It is not as fluid as the two mentioned above, but it still spreads well. It leaves a matt finish and a little shine, while it is not absorbed, it has great durability even in water. The package, in my opinion is the most practical of all the protectors of the TOP 5.
4. Advanced XF GEL FPS 50 (Heliocare)
I believe that all Heliocare line protectors do not need presentation. The Spanish brand is a leader in the development of products for the sun. This shield has the technology Fernblock, developed by the laboratory of the IFC (that produces the Heliocare), together with the University of Harvard Medical School.
This technology not only helps protect the skin against short-term sun damage, as well as its continued use to increase its defenses against allergies and skin cancer. This is a gel cream, it spreads well and has a light color. Use in day to day. It leaves the whole white face and although there are people who hate it, this means that there are no spots after the end of summer.
The laboratory has recently launched Helicare 360, which protects against infrared as well as ultraviolet rays.
5. Ultra facial FPS defense 50 (Skinceuticals)
Moisturizes well and protects the skin. For those who want a super matte finish, I do not recommend it, as it leaves a slight shine. Needless to say, you have to buy branded products with your eyes closed, despite the high prices.
They all have the latest technology and years of research. It forms a protective physical barrier on the skin and is excellent. It can be found in two versions: with and without color. It is quickly absorbed and is ideal for day-to-day use due to its drier finish.