Sunscreen: choose the right protection for outdoor sports. Only some people feel like working out at the gym when the good weather starts. Many people want to train outdoors: Calisthenics, circuits in the park, bike rides, brisk walks or runs… You can also practice many sports outdoors, especially since they allow you to combine business with pleasure and allow us to train and get a tan simultaneously. But… There is a fundamental but: the most suitable sunscreen is essential! You don’t mess around with leather, and it’s important to protect yourself correctly.
The Importance Of Sunscreen
Sunscreen, for some, is a purely cosmetic product and is only used to be able to get a tan, but that’s not the case at all! The main function of sunscreen is to protect us! Sunscreen is used to avoid rashes from burns and chronic damage due to excessive exposure, which could favor the onset of skin cancer. Playing outdoor sports is very pleasant, but always remember that it has been shown that if a person burns 5 times in a decade, the risk of developing melanoma increases by 3 times.
Sun And Vitamin D
There is only one valid reason to stay in the sun without sunscreen: the skin must be in the sun even without protection to synthesize vitamin D, which is important for bones. Be careful, though! Exposure without protection must be related to the skin type of each of us. A person with a fair complexion can be in the sun without protection for 15 minutes daily, two to three times a week. To synthesize the same quantity of vitamin D as a person with dark skin, a person with light skin must be exposed for a long time because his complexion represents a natural “barrier” to the sun’s radiation, however, never in the central hours of the day and for prolonged periods.
Tips For Protecting Yourself From The Sun
To avoid burns, it is important to:
- Apply sunscreen all over the body: especially on the directly exposed parts such as the face, hands, and neck/shoulders.
- Apply the sunscreen evenly, paying attention to the quantity: 2 mg of cream should be applied for every square cm of skin.
- Renew the application of the sunscreen every two hours or, in any case, after swimming or sweating.
Sunscreen: Which One To Choose?
Choosing sunscreen may seem easy, but I know it’s more complicated as I get sunburned even in April! It must protect us both from UVA rays, which cause rashes, and UVB rays, the most dangerous because they can increase the risk of the onset of melanoma. Another fundamental point: it must be stable or photostable, i.e., the product must maintain its composition unchanged once applied to the skin. There are many factors to consider, and it is good to take stock of the situation so that you can shop consciously and train without the risk of sunburn. Let’s see together the essential things to know when buying sunscreen!
The Rays Of The Sun
The sun emits three types of radiation :
- visible light,
- the infrared,
- Ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays stimulate tanning and vitamin D production, but they can also be extremely harmful because they can cause sunburn. They are distinguished, according to their wavelength, in
- UVA, UVA penetrates the deep layers of the skin, aging the tissues and weakening the immune system
- UVB, UVB rays stop at the superficial layers of the skin and are responsible for burns, sunburn, and, in the worst case, skin tumors
- UVC, UVC do not reach us because they are shielded by the ozone layer that covers the Earth
The Protection Factor Of Sunscreens
Sunscreens contain substances called sunscreens that protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. The SPF protection factor refers exclusively to UVB rays! The assessment of protection against UVA rays, in the current state of knowledge, is difficult because there is no easily measurable biological parameter universally shared by the scientific community that can reflect all the effects of UVA on the skin.
In 2006, the Commission regulated the wording that must be shown on the packaging of sunscreens, obliging the manufacturing companies to write not only the SPF but also the quantified minimum protection values against UVA rays. The level of UVA protection is a minimum ratio of 1:3 UVA protection / UVB protection. Therefore, prefer products that bear these indications and ensure adequate protection against UVB and UVA.
SPF: Sun Protection Factor
The SPF is that number (e.g., 15, 30, 50, 50+) shown on the package, which defines the degree of protection and is calculated experimentally with a universally recognized method and adopted by the major sunscreen companies. In 2008, the Commission established new directives concerning the labeling standards for sunscreens, which it is good to know:
- Total screen or total protection are definitions that can no longer be used, as no sunscreen guarantees 100% protection from UV rays;
- The new photoprotection categories are low (old sunscreens with SPF between 6 and 10), medium (previous SPF 15.20 2 25), high (between 30 and 50), and very high. (the 50+);
- The labels must carry instructions and warnings for correct exposure to the sun.
Always remember that even 50+ protections do not guarantee total protection. Furthermore, the validity of the formulation must also be taken into account because some tend to degrade easily due to their unbalanced chemical composition and to have ingredients that separate from each other, losing the effectiveness of the sunscreen itself. Now I’m going to give you a pattern that I already know will undermine some of your beliefs:
- SPF 15 shields 93% of UVB rays
- an SPF 30 shields 97% of UVB rays
- SPF 50 shields 98% of UVB rays
- an SPF 50+ shields 99% of UVB rays
As you can see, there is no total protection, and the differences between 50 and 50 + are minimal. In short, a 30 does not protect twice as much as a 15, so be careful when choosing the right sunscreen. The recommendations of the Commission provide that when its spf is verified, and it has a value greater than 59.9, protection 50 + should be written on the packaging. No sunscreen filters 100%. In addition to protection, pay great attention to the good formulation. The sunscreen should be chosen based on your skin type, sensitivity, reactivity, type of skin pathology possibly present, and the UV index of the area where you will be exposing yourself to the sun. Having said that, once you have found the ideal sunscreen, always remember that it is essential:
- Apply the right amount of sunscreen: you must apply an amount equal to 2mg/cm2 on the skin. It has been shown that applying less, for example, 0.5-1.5 mg/cm2 reduces the degree of protection so much that a sunscreen would see its SPF 50 reduced to a value between 5 and 20.
- Renew the application at least every 2 hours, even earlier if you bathe or sweat particularly heavily.
Choose The Type Of Sun Protection
The type of sunscreen should be chosen to take into account the following:
Phototype is commonly used to identify the color of a person’s skin, hair, and eyes and its sensitivity following exposure to the sun.
In addition to the definition of prototype, there is also that of phenotype, which refers only to the color of our skin, hair, and eyes.
Also Read: Best Foods For Healthy Skin