Sunscreen creams: instructions for use

Protection from the sun worries us and this is attested to by the digital panel that has been produced by the National Association of Perfumery and Cosmetics (STANPA) . It specifies that what interests us most is the composition of the products (25.3%), their texture (25%), sensitive skin (24.5%) and the Sun Protection Factor or SPF (21, 3%). According to the Consumers and Users Confederation (CECU) , to be sure that we acquire a product in optimal conditions and adapted to our needs, it is essential to know the following aspects:

—It is important that the consumer purchases these products from trusted establishments . Keep in mind that there is still a minority of stores (generally bazaars, multi-price stores or street vendors), where you can find products that do not comply with the regulations or are from stocks from previous years, whose effectiveness may be diminished. In this sense, it must be remembered that you should not use open sunscreens from the previous year .

—It must protect against UVB and UVA radiation . The minimum degree of protection recommended by the European Union is a factor 6. The maximum degree, above which protection is not substantially increased, is factor 50.

—It must have a complete label that contains instructions for use and the amount that must be applied for the product to be effective and it must be noted that they do not constitute 100% or total protection. You must indicate the degree of protection by means of the low, medium, high or very high categories, as well as the guarantee of protection against UVA or PPD rays (indicated with a UVA circle).

—Use a protector, with an SPF appropriate to the phototype and skin type. The phototype refers to the skin type in relation to its sensitivity to solar ultraviolet radiation. Low phototypes (light-skinned people, blue eyes, blonde hair) need a very high SPF, while high phototypes (dark-skinned people, brown eyes, dark hair) may use lower protection.

—You should avoid sun exposure between 12 and 16 hours and apply the protector 30 minutes before exposure, following the application and repeat instructions (for example, after bathing).

—Child protection is also a point of great concern. Therefore, it should be remembered that children under 3 years of age should not be exposed to direct sunlight . If the child is under one year of age, it is recommended to use sunscreens that only have a physical sunscreen (unscented) and, from that age, those products designed specifically for children, fragrance-free and waterproof.

—Caution with reflective surfaces such as sand, snow and water, as they can reflect more than half of the sun’s rays on the skin . Sitting in the shade does not guarantee protection, so protection must also be used on cloudy days and eyes must be protected with approved sunglasses.

—Finally, it must be borne in mind that certain medications can induce sunburn or rashes after sun exposure (photosensitivity). Consult with your dermatologist or GP for any treatment that is underway or is about to start. It is interesting not to use perfumes, colognes or other cosmetics before sun exposure , as some may be photosensitive.


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