How does solar work and affect our skin and what are the substances useful to combat the effects of ultraviolet rays?
In this article, we want to talk about solar protection and try to explain how they work and what are the things to be taken into account when you are having to buy one.
Exposure to sunlight is not in itself a bad thing, as the sun’s rays stimulate the creation of melanin, produced by the melanocytes present in the basal state of the epidermis (with the consequent appearance of the long-awaited tan) and activate the synthesis of vitamin D. However, be careful not to overdo it, to avoid the negative effects: sunburn, erythema, oedema, ageing and skin cancers.
The solar radiation is classified according to the wavelength and among the UV rays we report:
UV-A rays, those that penetrate deeply and are responsible for tanning and to a much lesser degree of erythema. They are also present in overcast and cloudy and their negative impact can occur even after years;
UV-B rays, potentially more harmful than UVA because they are the most responsible for sunburn and sunburn but also produce a stimulating action for the neo-synthesis of melanin and for vitamin D.
The sun is not the same in all parts of the world; near the equator and at high altitudes, the intensity of the radiation increases. We must be careful of the reflections produced by the water but also by the glaciers because these multiply the rays making them arrive from every angle.
To prepare for the sun, a good rule is to take supplements that counteract the oxidative damage produced by the sun, stimulating the production of melanin (and therefore the future development of tanning) and enhancing the natural mechanisms of skin protection.
The substances useful to combat the effects of ultraviolet rays are carotenoids, including beta-carotene, astaxanthin, lycopene and lutein; vitamins A, C and E and trace elements such as zinc, selenium, copper and magnesium. Supplements should be taken one month before exposure and during the holiday itself. We offer them especially to those people who do not expose themselves to the sun for months and those who are subject to burns and rashes.
The sun protection factor (Sun Protection Factor or SPF) measures the protective capacity of the solar product against UVB rays. This is a numerical coefficient (from 6 to 50+) calculated by comparing the amount of time necessary to produce a burn on the skin protected with a filter or without a protective filter. According to the European legislation, it is no longer allowed to use misleading words such as “sunblock” or “total screen” and products of less than 6 or more than 50+ should no longer be on the market.
The SPF index does not refer to UVA rays because there is not yet a real system of evaluation of effectiveness; on the solar packages, you should check the writing “broad-spectrum product”, which means that there are filters that protect the skin at the same time from UVB and UVA (according to the latest recommendations of the European Union, a solar must contain filters and screens that allow a good UVB / UVA protection ratio where UVA protection should correspond to 1/3 of the declared UVB protection).
The filters contained in the creams can be physical and chemical.
The physical filters are inert minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which physically reflect sunlight. In the past it was those creams that once applied to the skin made it white; today, thanks to the new, more micronized formulas, this white patina effect is avoided;
The chemical filters are substances which have the property to capture the energy of UV rays returning it in the form of other energy, such as heat (salicylates, cinnamate oxybenzone …).
The sunscreen creams have an expiration date and once opened, the creams come into contact with the air and can deteriorate. Generally, then the creams are taken to the beach, remaining warm for hours and this is another factor that deteriorates over time. Our advice is, therefore, to change the sunscreen creams every year and not to waste the advanced product, just returned from vacation, you can put the sunscreen cream on the face as a day cream and use the sunscreen cream as a substitute for a moisturizing body cream.
The sunscreen creams are products that are prepared to avoid the phenomena of dryness caused by prolonged exposure to sun radiation, for this reason, they are excellent moisturizers for the body and in addition to moisturizing, sunscreen creams also contain soothing, decongesting and refreshing extracts.
In recent years, accelerators or tanning extensions have spread, sunscreen creams to stimulate the production of melanin, useful for people who have difficulty in taking colour and for people who want to keep colour for a long time; we remind you that these products do not contain filters and therefore if used alone they will cause all the negative effects of the sun.