Summer – sun – sunscreen

Summer, sun, sunscreen – but what to look for when buying it?

We all use it to protect our skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. "The skin remembers every ray of sunlight" is a well-known saying. Apart from the caring ingredients, the filter substances contained in the product are decisive, especially against UVA and UVB radiation. This is scattered, absorbed or reflected. Therefore, the sun creams, emulsions, oils, gels, etc., should not be used. in time (ca. half an hour before sunbathing) should be applied over as large an area as possible, without gaps and, above all, in sufficient quantity (2 grams per square centimeter of skin corresponds to about 3 – 4 large tablespoons, depending on body size).

The quality of the protective effect of the product depends mainly on the filter substances used. These usually have complicated, chemical names and not every filter is compatible for everyone. To build up the necessary shielding several filters have to be combined. Because no single substance can cover the entire spectrum of radiation.
The filter combination of the chosen product should protect against both UVA (320 – 400 nm) and UVB radiation (280 – 320 nm).


  • Triggers redness and sunburn
  • makes the skin tan
  • leads to the formation of vitamin D


  • Solves hardly any sunburnfrom
  • Damages the collagensof the skin (skin aging and wrinkling)
  • promotes the formation of free radicals[Skin cancer risk)

The designated sun protection factor (SPF) refers only to UVB radiation. It is also referred to as SPF (sun protection factor). It indicates how much longer one could remain in the sun, until it comes to the skin reddening. With an existing self-protection of about 10 minutes (depending on skin type), one should be able to protect oneself with an SPF 30 product thus ca. stay in the sun for 300 minutes. Unfortunately, this is a purely theoretical value. Therefore, for one’s own health interest, one should never exhaust this time completely. Because one risks apart from a painful sunburn premature skin aging, age spots up to the skin cancer.

To prevent long-term skin damage, it is important that there is also the UVA seal on the product. This states that UVA protection is at least one third of UVB protection. At z.B. SPF 30, you have a UVA protection of at least 10.

From a dermatological point of view:
THE HIGHER the UVA protection, THE BETTER for the skin

(IR radiation)

This heat radiation of the sun, especially the IR-A rays can also damage the skin. Unfortunately these cannot be shielded by conventional filters. That’s why good sunscreens contain special antioxidants like z.B. Vitamin C and E, coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone or ubiquinol) or grape seed extract for IR protection.

What distinguishes a GOOD UV-FILTER from?

  • He should no allergic reaction Trigger.
  • He may does not penetrate the skinand enter the bloodstream.
  • It should no hormone-like effectunfold.
  • It should not disintegrate, therefore be photostable. Because otherwise the protective effect would quickly diminish and the resulting decay products could irritate the skin.

Everyone in Austria sun protection products on the market, and thus also the filter substances used, are subject to the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.

Lip protection

Don’t forget adequate lip protection when putting on lotion.

Which FILTER TYPES there are?

Essentially, we distinguish 2 different types of UV filters:

Chemical / organic filters Convert UV rays into heat on the skin. Again and again these substances come into disrepute, since one found indications of a hormone effect and/or photo instability under formation of reactive fission products. As a precaution, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children are advised to avoid this type of filter. But without it, unfortunately, no adequate UVA protection is possible. Newer substances, however, are usually well tolerated, photostable, only minimally allergenic and without hormonal effects. They are easy to remove and cannot penetrate the skin layer.

Mineral/inorganic/physical filters reflect and scatter sunlight on the skin. In the main, small pigments made of zinc oxide (ZnO) or titanium dioxide (TiO2) are used here. They are very well tolerated, photostable and do not cause allergies as far as known. They cover a broad wavelength spectrum but mainly in the UVB range. On the other hand, they are difficult to wash off and leave a white haze on the skin after application. Furthermore, they can dry out the skin. That’s why the cosmetics industry likes to use micronized particles – i.e., highly crushed particles (nanotechnology). These are so tiny that they can be distributed better. Cons: It is under discussion whether these mini particles could penetrate the skin. If you want to be on the safe side, you should choose nanoparticle-free products.

Nanoparticles must be labeled with the word "nano" in the list of ingredients.


It remains a question of philosophy. Because in the end it also depends on what one is most comfortable with and feels most at home with. A sunscreen with well-tolerated, modern, chemical filters should be just as safe to use as one with only mineral pigments. For the latter, UVA protection can be a problem. The variety and naming of the filters used is unfortunately very confusing for the consumer. A close look and, above all, good, expert, individual advice are worthwhile here.


Most sunscreens are only waterproof to a limited extent. So much of the protective effect is lost when bathing, showering and also when drying off in a towel. But also through sweating (z.B. during sports) the applied product dissolves.

Therefore, the preparations must be applied repeatedly to maintain the protection, but this does not prolong it. Since some substances can decompose within this time, fresh products should be applied every summer season.

Sunscreens usually have a shelf life of one year after opening.

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