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SPF Guide: How to Choose and Use Sunscreens


Source: Rbc style

The warm season has come into its own, so it is important to figure out which products are suitable for adults and which are for children, how to prepare the skin for the beach and which care creams have protective properties. Explains Rbc style.

Photo: Shutterstock

Where to begin

Preparing the skin for a beautiful and even tan can be done not only with the help of cosmetics, but also with biologically active complexes with a special composition.

“It is better to start taking dietary supplements with antioxidants at least two weeks before the period of active insolation and continue throughout the summer season,” says cosmetologist Alexander Antonov. - Ultraviolet radiation is the main source of the formation of harmful free radicals that damage everything in their path: proteins, lipids, DNA, cell membranes. 5-15 minutes of exposure leads to the loss of 70-90% of the skin's antioxidants, while accelerating the aging process. So, to prepare the skin for tanning, you need to take antioxidants that can absorb free radicals.

According to Antonov, powerful plant antioxidants that work in all skin layers include extracts of turmeric, green tea, grape seed and blueberry, as well as lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene. These components as part of dietary supplements will provide immunostimulating, anti-inflammatory and photoprotective effects.

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“Before going on vacation, you should exfoliate the skin of your face and body so that your tan goes evenly,” notes Igor Patrin, a dermatologist, cosmetologist and medical expert of the cosmetic brand. - For the body, you can use a scrub, for example, based on sugar, and for the face - a soft scrub with artificial abrasive particles or enzyme peeling. And do not forget about high-quality hydration: serum with hyaluronic acid paired with a moisturizer like your skin. It’s also worth adding carotenoid products to the diet, such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, cherries, oranges and peaches. ”

To preserve a beautiful tan longer, Alexander Antonov advises taking biologically active complexes containing omega-3 fatty acids.

“They do not allow collagen, the main building component responsible for skin elasticity, to be destroyed,” the doctor emphasizes. - Omega-6 (gamma-linolenic acid, obtained from evening primrose) will also help prolong the tan. It accelerates metabolic processes in the cell, eliminates skin flaking, dryness and itching, has an anti-inflammatory effect and strengthens the skin's immune barrier.

Sun protection means

What is the main danger of the sun to the skin?

“The sun emits ultraviolet rays, which are of three types: A, B and C,” explains Elena Pasternak, dermatologist, cosmetologist, trichologist. Type C ultraviolet rays have a radiative effect on the body, but most of them do not pass through the atmosphere. Type A rays provoke the early appearance of wrinkles, which occurs due to a decrease in the elasticity of collagen fibers. Prolonged exposure to type B radiation leads to burns and reddening of the skin, as well as thickening of the stratum corneum.”

The sun cannot be completely discounted. UV rays contribute to the production of vitamin D and have a bactericidal effect, so they are also called dangerous friends.

How to understand the composition

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The designation SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a type B radiation protection factor (UVB). The PPD icon (Persistent Pigment Darkening) reflects the degree of protection against type A rays (UVA). The figure of the swimmer (Water Resistant) will tell you that the product is waterproof.

Chemical and physical filters. “Among the first ones, you need to choose those that have protection against radiation A and B (this is always indicated on the packaging of the product, for example, tinosorb),” notes Ksenia Kirillova, dermatologist and cosmetologist. - Such filters also work against photoaging. Physical filters (micropowders of metals: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) reflect sunlight, often cause less skin reactions and are often preferred in the presence of inflammation, which means that the risk of skin burns will be less. ”

“To help the skin protect itself from damage by external aggressive factors, restore and maintain youth, many manufacturers add caring ingredients to the product,” explains Daria Sadukha, a representative of cosmetic brands. “They not only strengthen their own protective barrier, but also help to actively recover from the effects of the sea, wind and salt, which make the skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet rays.”

How to apply

“The product should be applied 20-30 minutes before going to the beach or under the sun,” recommends Sergey Khachaturyan, Shiseido Senior Training Manager. - And if you are going to the beach, then apply the product on the body without a swimsuit, so that the area, say, under the straps, is definitely protected. Reapply at the beach every 1,5 to 2 hours.”

Do not spare money.

“Apply about half a teaspoon or two large peas to your face,” advises Valeria Khokhlova, Lancôme Care Expert. - Try not to be in the sun during its peak hours (from 12 to 16 hours).

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The skin can independently protect itself from ultraviolet radiation, but only in the first 10-30 minutes.

“The skin has a natural level of SPF, which provides partial protection from UVB rays and depends on the person’s phototype,” explains Elena Pasternak. - The Fitzpatrick classification is most often used to determine the phototype, in which there are six types: Celtic, Nordic (Aryan), dark European, Mediterranean (South European), Indonesian (Middle Eastern) and African American. In Russia, the second, third and fourth types are more common: the skin and eyes of such people are light, and their hair is light blond or chestnut. The tan doesn't fit well. People with this type of skin should choose a sunscreen with SPF 50+ when exposed to direct sunlight.

“Sun protection can be divided into daily (urban protection) and beach protection,” says Valeria Khokhlova, Lancôme skin care expert. “The activity of UV radiation depends on the geographical location, so a resident of central Russia thinks less about sunscreen, unlike a resident of Australia.”

According to the expert, when planning to go to Europe for the summer, you should pay attention to the UV index in this city: if 3-4, then at least you need to apply SPF 15, if 5 and above, then you need to start with SPF 30.

You should remember your phototype and avoid active sun with the help of hats, glasses and clothes. Those who intend to spend the summer on the beach are recommended products with a factor of SPF 30 and above, as well as a wide range of protection (UVA / UVB designation on the package).

The amount of ultraviolet will also not be the same depending on the time of year and weather conditions.

“For example, in the European part of Russia, the maximum concentration of ultraviolet radiation is in July,” notes Svetlana Lukina, marketing director for Caudalie in Russia. - Altitude is also important: the higher you climb, the more ultraviolet becomes (+ 3% every 700 m). Latitude is also important: the closer to the equator, the stronger the rays and their impact. Do not ignore the risk of UV reverberation on white sand and snow (+83% UV), as well as wind, humidity, cloudiness, all of which can reduce the feeling of warmth and cause more risk.”

Dermatologist, cosmetologist and medical expert of the Institut Esthederm brand Igor Patrin advises to gradually go out into the sun, spend more time in the shade and reduce the level of SPF protection to adapt fair skin to the sun and prepare it for tanning. That is, start with a maximum of 50+ and go down depending on the desired effect and the shade acquired by the skin.

Another important factor when choosing a remedy is the type of skin: dry, oily or combination. Is it possible to determine it yourself?

“You have dry skin if you have a feeling of tightness in the cheeks or on the whole face,” says Daria Saduha, Helen Rubinstein and Biotherm, brand expert. “The pores are almost invisible, and the skin seems thin, there are peeling, irritation and redness, increased sensitivity and a dull complexion.”

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Combined skin, prone to dryness, if in the T-zone (nose bridge, nose) it is in good condition, and in the U-zone (cheekbones, chin) - dry and dehydrated, with an unpleasant feeling of tightness. Combined skin with a tendency to oily produces a more brilliant T-zone of the face with noticeable, expanded pores in this area and the U-zone without special needs.

The skin is definitely oily, if the face is shiny (most of all in the middle of the day), inflammations regularly occur. It is characterized by expanded pores, uneven texture, and the presence of black dots. Makeup on such a skin is easily lubricated, flowing.

With the onset of summer, many change their face and body skin care, but forget about hair. After 5-7 days spent in the hot sun, the result will be disastrous.

“The sun's rays, although they give our hair a pleasant light shade, can also destroy their structure,” says Olga Muravyova, Kérastase expert and technologist. - Hair loses its elasticity, the color pigment of dyed hair is destroyed, the color intensity is lost. For summer care, hair products should contain protective filters, antioxidants and strengthening ingredients that will make hair stronger and denser. In the summer, it is important to follow three simple steps for hair care: cleansing with shampoo, using rinse-off care (milk or mask) and protecting hair with a spray or cream.

Mistakes and misconceptions regarding sun protection

“Spectrum A rays penetrate clouds and even through window glass in any weather, especially in the southern regions. Therefore, owners of dark skin also need to use products to avoid burns and premature aging of the skin, ”says Sergey Khachaturyan, Shiseido Senior Training Manager.

“Treating acne with sunbathing is a mistake. Rays aggravate the presence of inflammation on the skin, ”said Daria Saduha, brand expert Helen Rubinstein and Biotherm.

“There is an erroneous opinion that owners of fair skin should go to the solarium before the beach season,” says Igor Patrin, dermatologist, cosmetologist and medical expert for the Institut Esthederm brand. “Sunbeds are just as harmful to the skin as the sun, it causes photoaging.”

“Funds marked SPF100 are prohibited for release in the European Union. Products with SPF50 + protect against the sun by 99%, ”states Elena Pasternak.

“There is no optimal time for tanning,” recalls Daria Saduha, an expert on brands Helen Rubinstein and Biotherm. - It is known for certain that the sun's rays lead to premature age-related skin changes. Therefore, if the goal of care is to preserve youth, it is worth completely abandoning the sun baths. ”

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“So far, the only place where it is impossible to sunbathe is a dark room without light,” says Valeria Khokhlova, Lancome care expert. “None of the sunscreens can block UV radiation at 100%.”

“There are two main reasons why we burn even with sunscreen,” comments Svetlana Lukina, marketing director for Caudalie in Russia. - First: with the active sun, you can get a sunburn in a few seconds. Tanning appears on the skin from six hours to a day after exposure to the sun. Second: misuse of protection. The validity period is determined by the protection factor on the SPF package of 15, 30 or 50. The higher the number, the longer the action of the cream in time. It is always necessary to renew the sun protection layer in contact with water. ”

After returning from the beach, first of all, you need to take a shower and wash off the remaining salt and SPF from the skin. Then you can use any moisturizer if you have dry skin. For dehydrated skin, the Caudalie expert advises using nourishing products. Products that have oils in their composition that restore the skin and enhance regeneration processes are perfect: shea butter, shea butter, almond, coconut oils and others. In addition, products containing antioxidants are good, because they protect skin cells from premature aging, prevent the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and preserve the molecules responsible for youthful skin (collagen and elastin).

Sunscreens for children

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Exposure to direct sunlight is contraindicated for a child during the first six months of life.

“The skin of babies differs significantly in its anatomical and physiological characteristics and continues to form as they grow up,” explains Alexander Prokofiev, dermatovenereologist and medical expert for La Roche-Posay. - Its surface area is much smaller than in adults, so it loses heat faster, and the surface protective layer of the skin, the epidermis, is much thinner and more vulnerable. For example, if an adult needs to be in the active sun for 20 minutes to get a burn, then a baby needs 5-7 minutes.”

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According to the expert, the remedy should be chosen according to the age of the child. If it is not indicated on the package, but simply “for children”, this means that the product is intended for children from three years old. Sunscreen must contain UVB and UVA protection. The child is more active and sweats more, so it is better that the product is waterproof. It must be applied 15-20 minutes before sun exposure and renewed after 1,5-2 hours - this rule applies both on the beach and in the city.

The cream consumption for a child is approximately the following: face and neck - ¼ teaspoon, both hands - ½ tablespoon, both legs - 1 spoon, body - 1 spoon. In total, approximately 3 teaspoons of sunscreen will be required per application. You need to cover them with the whole body, even the skin that will be hidden by clothing.

Returning from the beach, the child needs to be bathed in order to remove the remaining funds.

“You can take a shower with a mild cleanser, preferably oil-based,” advises Ksenia Kirillova, a dermatologist and cosmetologist, medical expert at Bioderma. “Then you need to moisturize your skin to make up for the moisture lost on the beach and restore water balance."

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