During the summer you should apply sunscreen when you leave the house, especially during the hours when the sun is at its strongest. It is important for the health of the skin and, contrary to what one might think, the sunscreen is not a limit to tanning nor an enemy of beauty. It does not prevent, for example, from continuing to wear makeup: just follow a few simple rules. In recent years, some pharmaceutical companies have also formulated ad hoc solutions in the field of cosmetics to effectively make up and protect against the sun.
Let’s talk about this and other small precautions to be taken every day in the summer with the dermatologist Elisabetta Perosino.
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The sunscreen every time you leave the house taking into account the phototype
As a general rule – says the dermatologist – you should apply sunscreen every time you leave the house, even if you don’t plan to expose yourself for long. This rule is especially true for those with very fair skin, with a particular tendency to burn (a clear phenotype). It should be borne in mind that the photoprotection has an average duration of a couple of hours.
So, if you start before leaving the house to go to work, and then leave again to go to lunch, you are no longer covered and it is possible to burn yourself if, for example, you have lunch outside. Particular attention should be paid to children, whose skin is much more sensitive, and to whom you must always put maximum protection.
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“The damage induced by sun exposure is continuous; therefore, if we expose ourselves to the sun at the right times, the damage to the skin is less and our antioxidant system is less involved in blocking the negative action of the sun”, explains Perosino. “The same goes for melanin: with its dark color, the melanin produced is able to filter the sun’s rays that reach the skin. However, this does not mean that we are 100% protected, because there is still a percentage of the light spectrum of the sun that creates damage “.
Make-up and sunscreen are compatible, here’s how to manage them
In the case of women, applying sunscreen daily and several times a day can be a nuisance in relation to their desire or habit of wearing makeup. In general, the dermatologist reassured, this is not a problem and the two things are absolutely compatible, if you take some precautions. The ideal sequence, to ensure the effectiveness of the protection and the success of the make-up on the face in terms of homogeneity, is to apply the sun filter in direct contact with the skin.
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Sunscreen that also becomes the basis for make-up
In fact, sunscreen should act as a make-up base. For this, it is good to apply the sunscreen a little earlier than the make-up in order to let the skin absorb it, and even choosing a sunscreen with a fluid and low-oily texture can help to apply the make-up evenly. And for those who do not want to do this double step and ensure a uniform application of the foundation, on the market there are colored photoprotectors that perform both tasks.
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“Today the pharmaceutical distribution offers sunscreens enriched with pigments which, in addition to fulfilling the aesthetic purpose, also protect from the sun thanks to their reflecting power. These solutions – reassures the dermatologist – are absolutely comparable to a normal non-pigmented sun filter in terms of efficacy. “.
Protection is not the enemy of tanning
The darker phototypes, we said, have a greater production of melanin, which acts as a partial screen against the inflammation generated by the sun. This does not mean, however, that those with darker pigmentation can afford to abandon the sunscreen. Even the widespread practice of putting a higher sunscreen in the first days of exposure and then lowering it is not safe from the point of view of skin health and only makes sense in terms of increased pigmentation.
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“If you sunbathe with adequate photoprotection, the resulting tan is in any case darker and longer lasting. It is not true that using a sunscreen reduces the shade of the tan. At most, we can say that it slows it down slightly”.
Thanks to the solar filter, in fact, the skin is prevented from going through the phase of inflammation – the one in which we turn red, so to speak – a condition that should always be avoided. For very dark phototypes, it is possible to use a medium photoprotection that corresponds to a solar filter 30, in very light phototypes instead, or in people who are already damaged and have spots on the skin, it is good to always apply protection 50.
The important action of vitamin D
And now a question that has always been debated. The absorption of vitamin D, assures Perosino, is not prevented by the sun filter. There are, also in this case, some time windows in which the conversion of vitamin D takes place, and in general the process is activated more in the presence of UvB rays rather than UvA.
From 12 to 16.30, a time slot in which it would be good not to expose yourself to the sun in any case, there is no conversion of vitamin D. In the other hours of the day, however, the protective factor does not interfere in any way with the process of synthesis of the vitamin implemented by our body. Not even, the dermatologist points out, if the sunscreen she applies is designed to shield both UvA and UvB rays.