A bronze tan used to be a must-have attribute of summer, along with ice cream and beach vacations. We're sure you've met sun lovers on beaches who spend almost all day sunbathing. But medicine keeps evolving, and research in recent decades has shown that there is a direct connection between the risk of melanoma and tanning and that excessive sun exposure causes skin aging and pigmentation. But another important component of sun exposure is the absorption of the hormone-like vitamin D, which is not produced in the body on its own and is crucial for human health. 

So what if tanning is both an extreme risk and an extreme benefit at the same time?

Tanning rules

Tanning rules

Of course, no one is suggesting that you stay indoors to avoid the harmful effects of UV radiation. But to get a beautiful tan and vitamin D, you need to follow a few important rules.

  1. Do not stay under the sun for a long time, especially in the summer, specifically between 10 and 16, when the sun is extremely strong. Prefer morning or evening sunbathing, when the rays are less aggressive.

  2. Don't get sunburned. Sunburn seems to be familiar to everyone who has ever spent too much time outside in the summer. However, did you know that the number of sunburns you receive is directly proportional to your risk of developing melanoma, a skin cancer? This happens because ultraviolet rays change the skin's cellular structure with prolonged exposure. After a burn, the skin tries to recover as quickly as possible, and the immune system becomes weaker, which is why the rapid proliferation of "wrong" cells that the immune system has not stopped leads to the onset of serious diseases. It is also important to note that sun exposure has a cumulative effect, so you need to use SPF products on a daily basis.

  3. Dress properly. Of course, shorts, and tops are the first things that come to mind when you imagine 30-degree heat. Still, closed, loose clothing made of natural fabrics will protect you from the heat much better and prevent your skin from burning quickly. Also, pay attention to things that protect you from sunlight, because you still need to wear usual clothes after applying SPF.

  4. Wear sunglasses. Yes, it's not just a stylish accessory, but first and foremost, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation and too much light. Choose sunglasses with polarized lenses that are guaranteed to protect your eyes.

  5. Wear caps or use an umbrella. Summer hats have become popular in recent years and for good reason. Panamas, caps, scarves, and hats are a great way to protect yourself from sunstroke and keep your hair and skin from excessive sun exposure.

  6. The main rule is - when going outdoors, use sunscreens with a suitable SPF level! Creams with SPF filters allow the skin to absorb such an important vitamin D and avoid the risk of burning.

The best sunscreens

The best sunscreens

The best sunscreens are those that have a sufficient UV protection level. The SPF (sun protection factor) label indicates the rate of sun protection. It means that the lighter your skin is, the more it is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, for the lightest skin, it is recommended to use SPF 50, and for dark skin, SPF 15 will be enough. But even people with dark skin should not neglect sunscreen, because if your skin does not react with burns or redness, it does not mean that it is not exposed to the harmful effects of sunlight.

We will tell you about the different sunscreens available, and you will be able to choose the options that you like best. Foremost, we need to understand what exactly we want to protect ourselves from and why.

There are three types of solar radiation: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

  • UVC rays are almost completely dissipated in the upper layers of the earth's atmosphere, so they do not cause any harm to our skin.

  • UVB is the sun's rays that affect the pigmentation of the skin, and thanks to this type of rays, the skin gets its bronze color, but sunburns are also caused by this type of radiation. UVB radiation has different intensities at certain times of the year, and these rays do not pass through clouds and glass.

  • UVA is 95% of the most aggressive type of radiation from which you need to protect your skin. Exactly this type of radiation reduces collagen production, affects deep skin layers dehydration, which provokes premature aging, and also leads to the possibility of oncological skin diseases. The intensity of UVA rays does not change with the season, and these rays can pass through clouds and even glass.

Varieties and types of SPF products

Varieties and types of SPF products

Products with sunscreen filters can be found in various formats to suit every preference. The most popular are creams, milk, sprays, oils, and sticks.

Sunscreens are divided into two categories, depending on the composition - with chemical or physical filters.

SPF with physical or mineral filters.

Such products work like a mirror, they create a protective layer on the skin that reflects the sun's rays.

The advantages of such SPFs consist of the fact that physical filters have rather large molecules. As a result, they do not enter the skin but remain on its surface, so this type of SPF is suitable for people with sensitive or allergic skin.

The disadvantage of these filters is that they give the skin a white shade, as they contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are characterized by white color. Also, you should avoid SPF products on which the manufacturer indicates the size of the molecules as nano. Since such particles can pass into the skin, their effect, unlike products with physical filters of normal size, does not work immediately, but after 20-30 minutes.

SPF with chemical filters

Products based on chemical filters absorb the sun's ultraviolet radiation and convert it into heat energy.

SPF products with chemical filters have gained a bad reputation because the substances previously used in sunscreens were too microscopic, which caused allergic reactions when they got into the skin. Today, a new generation of substances are used, which have been specially formulated with larger particles to avoid absorption by the skin.

Advantages of such products: light texture, no white coating on the skin.

Among the disadvantages - although new-generation substances are now used, there is still a higher risk of an allergic reaction compared to SPF products with physical filters.

Facial sunscreens

Facial sunscreens

How to use SPF correctly?

Sunscreen should be used daily if you want to avoid premature photoaging and age spots. Especially if your daily skincare routine includes products with acids or retinol, using SPF is a necessity.

You should apply the cream after your usual morning routine, when all your products are absorbed by the skin, in about 10–15 minutes. You need to apply about 2 fingers of SPF. This may seem like a lot, but based on UV research, this amount of SPF will definitely protect your skin from the harmful effects of solar radiation. Also, please note that the recommended amount, about a teaspoon, should be applied not only to the face, but also to the ears, neck, and décolleté. If you plan to apply sunscreen only to your face, 1 finger of the product will be enough.

Also, we advise you to pay attention to face care creams that also perform the function of sun protection:

The Shiseido Vital Perfection Uplifting and Firming SPF25 cream with a lifting effect has SPF 25, which will be a great option for the cold season or for those with medium skin tone.

The Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Day Cream with ceramides and SPF 30 is also a great option that will not only protect your skin but also restore, moisturize, and give a lifting effect.

Also, for those who don't want to overload their skin with multi-layer care, you can use decorative cosmetics with SPF, such as foundation or cushion.

Pay attention to the fact that SPF protection levels do not add up, which means that if you put on a cream with SPF 30 and then put on a foundation with SPF 20, the protection level will be SPF 30, not SPF 50. Therefore, keep this in mind when choosing sunscreen cosmetics.

Also, products with SPF require high-quality skin cleansing, especially with chemical filters. In order not to provoke inflammation, rashes, and allergies, it is imperative to wash off SPF before going to bed.

Children's sunscreens
Children's sunscreens

Sunscreens for children are most often made with physical filters. Since children's skin is more delicate and sensitive, it needs gentle care. Of course, parents know how difficult it is to make a child sit still while the cream is absorbed into the skin. Thus, we advise you to pay attention to children's sunscreens that are quickly absorbed and do not leave a sticky layer. Also, sunscreens for children are appropriate for owners of very sensitive and allergic skin.

Each manufacturer provides instructions for using their product. Some creams need to be renewed every 2 hours, some SPF products do not need to be refreshed during the day, and even waterproof sunscreens exist.

Choose the ones that are perfect for you, take care of your skin, and tan properly!  You can save time, money, and space in your suitcase by pre-ordering sunscreen before your trip on!

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