Sunscreen is protection against skin cancer

The skin does not forget anything

The skin remembers a sunburn a whole lifetime. Ultraviolet rays penetrate deep below the skin. It is true that UVC rays are almost completely absorbed by the ozone layer. UV radiation, however, is able to attack cells and DNA directly. But UVA rays are also dangerous: They trigger oxidative stress, thus causing damages in an indirect way. Effective sun protection is not only a preventive measure against premature skin ageing, but also an essential protection against skin cancer. A large number of publications prove this.

Protective effect

Sunscreen products is based on two factors: chemical and physical light protection. In order to be effective they contain filtering substances which absorb the sun’s high-energy UV radiation, thus making it harmless to the skin. On the other hand, they contain tiny particles which block and reflect the light by physical means. This double mode of action protects the skin, provided that sunscreen products have been applied in sufficient quantity. A rule of thumb for adults: Use about a teaspoon of sun cream or sun lotion for the face and the neck and six teaspoons for the other parts of your body. In case of spray bottles apply 15 sprays altogether.

Reasonable selection of products

The selected product, however, have to match skin type, pre-tanning, length of exposure to the sun and UV index. The light protection factor (LPF) states how much longer someone using sunscreen can stay out in the sun without getting a sunburn. On or with the help of an app having the same name you can determine your individual maximum daily dosage. At the same time, apart from the natural self-protection time of the specific skin type, the weather situation is also taken into consideration and the appropriate light protection factor is recommended. But be careful: the exposure period to the sun should, nevertheless, be limited, because there simply is no absolute sun protection.

Important rules

When applying sunscreen to the skin it is important not to leave out ears, nose and, above all, lips. The red of the lips is sensitive, because the natural protection of tanning does not exist. You can use care sticks with light protection factor instead. Moreover, it is useful to follow some rules, as for instance: Limit or avoid exposure to the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. because the sun’s UV rays are the strongest during these hours. This also applies to shade and clouded sky. Long sleeved, tightly woven clothing and hats with a wide brim can provide additional protection against the sun, provided that the other parts of the body are creamed well.

Protecting children

Children under two years should be kept out of the sun altogether as their skin is too thin and sensitive and the intrinsic protective mechanism of the skin is still in the process of developing. When they get older they should also be taken care of in a particular way. Always apply the best sunscreen available. Australia is a pioneer when it comes to matters of sun protection. The children are introduced into the subject in a playful way. With the slogan “Slip, slop, seek shadow and slide!” they learn how reasonable sun protection works: “Slip” on sun-protective clothing, “slop” on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, “slap” on a hat, “seek” shade, “slip” on sunglasses.

Particularly when you have been suffering from severe sunburns a regular visit to your dermatologist is very important. A skin cancer precaution will show us in how far your skin has already been damaged.

Learn more:
Skin cancer, prevention and aftercare


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