Sunscreen guide: everything you need to know to choose the right sunscreen

Sunscreen guide: everything you need to know to choose the right sunscreen

Not sure which sunscreen to choose for yourself or your child? In our sunscreen guide you will find answers to everything from why you need to use sunscreen, to how much sunscreen you should use.

Sunbathing without sun protection can cause lasting sun damage, sunburn, allergy, pigmentation and, at worst, increase the risk of skin cancer.

Sun protection (SPF) protection means you can stay longer in the sun than you can without skin protection. The figure indicates how long the cream provides adequate protection against the dangerous UV rays.

This makes UV radiation with the skin

There are two different types of UV radiation that reach the Earth’s surface: UVA and UVB radiation. The main difference between UVA and UVB rays is how deep they penetrate the skin. Both types of radiation can eventually cause lasting sun damage and, at worst, cancer. There are effects and damages from UVB rays that are immediately visible on the skin in the form of tan or sunburn.

UVA rays: A for aging / allergy

These penetrate deep into the skin and can cause lasting sun damage such as wrinkles, pigment disorders, allergies and, in the worst case, the development of skin cancer. UVA rays account for 95 percent of the sun’s UV radiation. The damage from UVA radiation is not visible on the skin until many years after the damage has occurred.

UVB rays: B for burnt / brown skin

It is the UVB rays that make you brown or sunburnt when you are in the sun, but they can also cause damage such as allergy and skin cancer. Although UVB radiation accounts for only 5 percent of the UV rays that hit the earth, these are much stronger than the UVA radiation and therefore more important to protect against.

Buy sunscreen that protects against UVA radiation

Look for a sunscreen with the UVA mark when you are buying a sunscreen, and you are sure you have the right protection. The usual thing is that the sun cream with the UVA mark gives UVA protection equivalent to one third of the sun factor stated on the bottle.

Choose a higher solar factor for the kids

For adults, the Cancer Society recommends the use of sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15. In southern and sunny countries, the recommendation is to use SPF 30 or more.

Children’s skin is extra sensitive to dangerous sun rays. Therefore, children’s skin should be protected with sunscreen with a high sun factor. Children must have a minimum solar factor of 30, or solar factor of 50 where the sun is stronger.

It is recommended to use sunscreen specially adapted for children’s skin, as it also contains a physical UV filter which lays as a protective layer on the skin. In addition, baby sunscreen is often less allergenic than sunscreen for adults, which protects mainly with the help of chemical UV filters that penetrate the skin.