Different Skin Types Require Different Protection

Skin TypesGetting out and about in the sun blows away the winter blues, makes us feel reinvigorated and ready to enjoy the great outdoors.

Next on the agenda is looking forward to getting away from it all with, for many of us, a holiday where the sun shines all day. Those that decide to stay at home will still want to get that ´looking good` effect that exposure to the sun can bring.

Sun also brings instant happiness.

Whatever your choice, precautions have to be taken to prevent ending the summer with sun damaged skin.

That damage can vary from burning to the signs of premature aging, such as facial wrinkles and fine lines, to fatal skin cancer.
It is just not worth the risk of trying to fast track that great looking tan by staying unprotected in the sun for too long.

Skin Protection

There are essentially only two methods of protecting the skin from the harmful ultra violet rays emitted by the sun.

  • The first is to wear clothing that covers all of the body not forgetting a wide brimmed hat.
  • The second is to apply a sunscreen to all the areas of the body that will be exposed. For the vast majority of us the second option is our preference. It may take longer but we can still get that looking good buzz that a suntan brings us.

What is not generally recognized is that different skin types require sunscreens with the appropriate protection factor (SPF number) to suit.

It is also very important for those who will travel abroad for their holiday to know that the SPF´s of American sunscreen products differ from European sourced sunscreens.

Roughly speaking the American SPFs are around double the European for the same level of protection. For example a US sunscreen of SPF 16 has the equivalent protection of an SPF 8 European product.

If you have very pale skin and find that you burn but don’t tan it is best to stay covered up if you must go out in the sun.

There is no point in risking getting burnt or even skin cancer if you are not going to tan. On the plus side your type of fine skin will stay younger looking for a lot longer than those tanned skins.

Do remember to keep your vitamin D levels up. A little early morning or late afternoon sun will do you good and a vitamin D rich diet is a must.

A light skin tone that results in hardly a noticeable tan after an hour a day for several days accompanied by some burning requires extra precautions. Use a sunscreen with a high SPF number, at least 30-40 US, during the main summer months and avoid the risk of sun damaged skin by deciding you can live without a sun tan.

With skin that either doesn’t burn or is only slightly burnt after an hour in the sun at the hottest part of the day and gets a good tan after a weeks exposure, sunscreen protection is still necessary. When the summer begins cream up with a high SPF for a fortnight or so and then gradually lower the SPF to about 12-16 (US) as your skin takes on that golden look.
Do not be tempted to give up sunscreen protection altogether.
Take particular care with protecting children’s delicate skin, a high factor block is a must.

Most sunscreens are absorbed into the skin and protect it from getting burnt. The potentially harmful ultraviolet rays can still get through. The best protection is an ointment of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, both lie on the surface of the skin and reflect the rays of the sun. Unfortunately they look unsightly when applied and do not allow the skin to tan.

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Category: Skin Types

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