Recommended, 2020

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Sunscreen What sun protection factor is right for my skin?

Sunshine not only lifts our mood, but also gives us a beautiful complexion - provided our skin gets the UV protection it needs.

Photo: iStock // CentralITAlliance

Unfortunately, UV radiation can not only affect our well-being positively but also negatively. In addition to sunburn, the unsightly effects of excessive sunbathing include premature skin aging by free radicals. If you are looking for pure sun pleasure, you should know which protection your own skin needs.

Sunscreen is always a type of thing and every skin type - depending on whether lighter or darker - reacts very differently to the sunlight. Which type you yourself can be determined well based on the hair, skin and eye color. There are a total of six different skin types whose tinting is influenced by the melanin content. The higher the melanin content - ie the content of the browning pigment - the higher the self-protection of the skin against negative effects of UV radiation. A distinction is made between the Celtic, Nordic, Mediterranean, dark and very dark skin types as well as the mixed type.

The Celtic skin type

These are the typical features for a Celtic skin type:

  • very light skin, blonde or red hair and mostly blue eyes
  • Freckles on the face as well as on the arms, shoulders, legs and décolleté
  • not at all to hardly tanning skin
  • very prone to sunburn and sun allergy

Celtic skin types are very sensitive to the sun and have a self-protection of less than 10 minutes. Therefore, they should always resort to a very high sun protection factor (SPF 50 plus) in the summer to avoid sunburn, allergies or even premature skin aging. In autumn and winter, this skin type is well advised to apply daily a face cream with a sun protection factor.

The blazing midday sun should always be avoided if possible and for protection, it is useful to carry a cloth or a sun hat with him.

The Nordic skin type

The Nordic skin type is characterized by the following features:

  • fair skin, blonde, brown or dark brown hair
  • Tendency to freckles
  • Without pre-tanning, the skin tends to redness
  • It takes a long time until the complexion has a slight tan

The Nordic skin type should expose its skin to the suns for a maximum of 10 to 20 minutes unprotected. Everything that goes beyond that is not without consequences. This skin type should definitely use a sun protection factor of 30 to 50. In particularly sun-intensive regions, such. As the Caribbean, it is recommended for the Nordic type, however, to grab a SPF 50 plus.

The mixed type

The mixed type is composed of the Nordic and Mediterranean types. And these are his features:

  • medium skin color, hair dark blond to brown
  • Skin tans gradually and a sunburn is rare

Although the skin has a self-protection of about 30 minutes and rather does not tend to get sunburned, should not be dispensed with a sun protection factor. Healthy tanning with a sun protection factor of 30 is better than exposing the skin without protection from the sun.

Mediterranean skin type

Mediterranean skin types are characterized by the following features:

  • olive to brownish skin tone and brown to black hair
  • fast browning of medium brown intensity

A 30 to 40-minute sunbath survives this skin type, without getting a sunburn. After that, it is called creaming. However, it is better to put sunscreen with SPF 20 on to prevent premature skin aging and skin cancer.

Dark type

This skin type is mostly in southern regions on the way. Him make these features:

  • light to dark brown complexion
  • brown eyes and dark brown to black hair
  • Skin tans very quickly without getting a sunburn

The fact that this skin type is relatively insensitive to light, it can be up to 60 minutes in the sun and it does not suffer from sunburn. Nevertheless, a basic protection with SPF 10 or better 20 always makes sense to prevent skin cancer.

Very dark skin type

These are the typical features of a very dark skin type:

  • very dark brown to almost black skin
  • dark brown eyes and deep brown to black hair
  • Skin hardly tans under the influence of sunlight and a sunburn is extremely rare

This skin type has mostly African roots and has a very dark color of the skin. The proportion of melanin is correspondingly high, which means that the skin's own protection is so high that 90 minutes can be spent in the sun without sunburn. But here too, protection against skin cancer and premature skin aging makes basic protection sensible.

Tips for choosing the right sun protection factor

If we stand in the drugstore or the pharmacy in front of the shelf with the sunscreen products, the selection is quite large. The various SPFs range from mild (6 to 10), medium (15 to 25) and high (30 to 50) to very high (50 plus). Those who value a healthy tan should always resort to one of the higher sun protection factors, because this way the skin cancer risk can be better controlled and the aging of the skin becomes slower. For adults, the Federal Office for Radiation Information recommends an LFS of at least 20. Children, however, should always be creamed with a SPF of at least 30 - better still 50 plus - before they go into the sun.

How can I find out which sun protection factor I have to use?

It is actually quite easy to determine which sun protection factor is suitable for your own skin.

An example of who has fair skin and blond hair, whose self-protection time is around 10 minutes. With an LSF 30, this time is thirty times longer. This means that out of the 10 will be around 300 minutes or 5 hours. In order to maintain the UV protection, at least every two hours must be re-creamed.

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