The numerous benefits of the sun range from energy supply for photosynthesis to vitamin D production for humans. But as with most biological processes, the right dose is the decisive factor: Excessive exposure to sunlight is a serious health risk. Sunlight, especially UVA and UVB radiation, can cause sunburn, premature skin aging, eye damage, a weakened immune system, photo-allergic and phototoxic reactions, and even skin cancer.
Precious vitamin D
Nevertheless, our body needs the sun’s energy-rich UV light to produce healthy vitamin D. The warming rays not only lighten up our minds – the precious vitamin D, whose production in the body is unfortunately almost entirely prevented by the use of sunscreen from SPF 8, is essential for cell health and the strengthening of bones. The fairer the skin type, the faster the daily requirement of vitamin D is met: very fair skin types only need 10 minutes of direct sun exposure per day.
Vitamin D is not a vitamin in the classical sense, but rather the preliminary stage of a hormone produced in the body, which is “activated” by the sun’s UVB rays. The UVB rays penetrate the upper layers of the skin, where they first convert the body’s hormone cholesterol into the pre-vitamin D3. This is then converted into vitamin D by the contemporaneous generated heat of the infrared rays.
According to studies, the production of the messenger substance serotonin in the brain, an important neurotransmitter that lifts our mood, is directly influenced by the amount of sunlight. The level of serotonin is higher on sunny, bright days than on overcast or cloudy days. Sunlight also regulates our biorhythm. The light influences the production of hormones that are necessary for activity and sleep.
Our sun care aims at broadband protection of the entire light spectrum to optimally protect your skin from premature aging and unwanted pigmentation.
The central functional ingredient of our sun care is extracted from the blossoms of the butterfly lilac. This is known for its wealth of verbascoside and echinacoside. It not only protects the plant against UV and IRA but also offers the skin optimum protection against natural and artificial light. Besides, it can reduce the negative potential of HEV light. Highly effective extracts of blueberry and cranberry act as optimal radical scavengers and strengthen the skin’s resistance. The plant-based functional ingredients of calendula and sea buckthorn oil are particularly rich in beta-carotene and thus promote a long-lasting, healthy tan. So that you can enjoy your time outdoors without any worries.
The natural daylight is composed of an almost continuous spectrum in which all colors occur. However, our eyes can only perceive a small part of the fascinating color spectrum of sunlight. Short-wave light has a strong oxidizing effect and can cause cell damage through the formation of free oxygen radicals. In other words, the sun’s high-energy, short-wave UV light acts on the skin cells, causing them to form free radicals that damage the cells. If there is a disbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them with antioxidants, it results in so-called oxidative stress.
The ABC of UV radiation
There are two types of radiation in sunlight that have a medicinal effect on the skin: UV radiation and infrared radiation. UV radiation plays an important role in the production of vitamin D, while infrared radiation is responsible for the feeling of warmth. How much UV radiation the skin actually receives depends on various factors such as the time of day, the season, the geographical location and the altitude.
- The intensity of UVA rays remains more or less the same throughout the day
- Can almost freely pass clouds, mist, windows and glass
- Ensure immediate, short-term tanning of the skin
- Activate the precursor stages of melanin in the upper skin cells
- Deeply enter the lowest layer of the skin (dermis)
- Play an essential role in long-term damage such as premature skin aging, sun allergies, eye damage and weakening of the immune system
- Intensity varies throughout the day
- Stimulates the production of new melanin
- Ensure a long-lasting tan
- Supplies the skin with the energy to produce vitamin D
- Causes the formation of free radicals everywhere in the epidermis
- Main cause of acute light damages such as sunburn, skin cancer and damage to the eyes and retina
- Very aggressive
- Only occur rarely, as the ozone layer normally filters out the dangerous UVC rays
How do I choose the right SPF?
The appropriate sun protection factor (SPF) depends mainly on your skin type and the UV index of the sun. The higher this index and the fairer the skin, the higher the sun protection factor should be. The pigmentation of the skin partly indicates the self-protection of the skin from sunlight. Every skin has a natural self-protection time. The fairer the skin type, the shorter the skin’s natural self-protection time. And don’t forget sun protection even on cloudy days, as over 90% of UV radiation still passes through a light cloud cover.
INFO: The sun protection factor (SPF) multiplied by the skin’s natural sun protection (in minutes) indicates the period of time during which one can stay in the sun without the risk of UV-induced skin damage. The use of sunscreen, when used correctly, can, therefore, reduce the harmful effects of UV radiation on health. However, even a high SPF never completely protects the skin from solar irradiation.
Types of sun protection
A distinction is made between chemical and physical sun protection. The chemical sun protection protects the skin by organic filter compounds. These substances can absorb UV radiation of a specific wavelength and convert it into heat. Physical sun protection, in contrast, works with mineral filters. It is based on the mirror principle: like small mirrors, titanium oxide or zinc oxide particles reflect the radiation and so block the penetration of UV rays.
When do I apply the suncream?
The suncream should always be applied generously about 30 minutes before going outside. To maintain sun protection, the suncream should be applied several times a day, especially when you have been in water or have been sweating a lot. However, the repeated application does not extend the time you spend in the sun. And don’t be careless: Our cells remember any damage they have received from sunlight. If there is too much damage, the cell can mutate and this could lead to skin cancer.
Checklist for sun worshippers
- Always use a suncream with an appropriate sun protection factor.
- UV radiation is harmful in all seasons. Don’t forget to apply suncream, even if you are enjoying the first rays of sunshine in spring or rushing down the slopes in winter.
- Don’t forget to use sun protection even on cloudy days. More than 90% of UV radiation still passes through a light cloud cover.
- Avoid the intense midday sun.
- Protect your eyes from UV light by wearing sunglasses with light protection.
- Apply cream all over your body. Pay attention to often forgotten areas such as the back of your hands and feet or your ears.
- A sun hat keeps a cool head.
- Don’t forget the after sun.
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