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Sunscreen or sun creams: which to choose?

September 22, 2021Health

The sun is essential for life and has positive effects on the body, such as facilitating vitamin D synthesis and improving mood.

On the other hand, ultraviolet radiation from the sun also has negative effects. It weakens immune defences, prematurely ages the skin and can cause the appearance of skin cancer and eye cataracts.

Factors to take into account are:

Types of sunscreen

The index that estimates how much extra time you can expose yourself to the sun is known as the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and this value is found on all packages. For example, if your skin reddens after an exposure of 10 minutes, a sunscreen with SPF 15 would allow you to be exposed for up to 15 times longer without burning. In other words, 150 minutes (2.5 hours), although in practice this is only an estimate.

When you are first exposed, you need a high SPF and can reduce it over the following days. The SPF must be higher for low phototypes (people with fair skin tone): children, days of prolonged exposure time, in the mountains, in contact with water, snow, grass, asphalt or earth and for people at risk.

Depending on the composition, protectors are classified into three types: physical filters (mineral screen effect), chemical or organic and biological. Because they’re less harmful (they aren’t absorbed) and effective, organic filters are the most highly recommended.

Most sunscreens offer good protection against UVB light but not against the action of UVA. You must look at the packaging to check if they’re wide spectrum filters that cover both and if they also filter the infrared even better.


Exposure to the sun should be practised responsibly:

Dra. Laura Marqués
Dermatologist at Hospital-Clinic Costa Brava

ASSSA Health Insurance
The information published in this media neither substitutes nor complements in any way the direct supervision of a doctor, his diagnosis or the treatment that he may prescribe. It should also not be used for self-diagnosis.
The exclusive responsibility for the use of this service lies with the reader.
ASSSA advises you to always consult your doctor about any issue concerning your health.

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