The fables and facts about sunscreen

If you want to be tan, you should sunbathe. At least; if you want to get tan from the sun. Sunbathing is not recommended anyway, but if you lie in the sun (or go outside) on these hot days, it is important that you apply well.

We cannot emphasize the importance of good lubrication enough. Especially now o Girlfriend reported that sun power 8 will be achieved on Sunday! But if you put on sunscreen, do you get brown? Can you just buy sunscreen abroad, or can you just buy junk? Subway previously spoke with dermatologist Nicole Kukutsch of the Skin Cancer Center of the LUMC (Leids University Medical Center) and Advisory Board member of the Melanoma Foundation. She listed the fables and facts for you. Time to repeat it!

1. If you have dark skin, you don’t have to apply

Not true, says Kukutsch. “If you have dark skin, you are less likely to develop skin cancer. That is, if you have skin type 4 or darker, do not normally burn and always tan. You don’t have to worry as much about skin cancer, but even with such skin, your skin ages faster if you spend a lot of time in the sun.

“If you have tanned skin, you tan easily, but still burn with strong UV radiation (like many people from Mediterranean areas), then you do have a chance of both skin cancer and skin aging. Also because the amount of sunlight you are exposed to in Mediterranean areas is often very high.”

“If you have dark skin, it is therefore still useful to apply sunscreen. Especially if you want to prevent skin aging such as wrinkle formation and irregular pigmentation spots. Fortunately, we see that many people do too. Make sure that you absorb enough vitamin D, if necessary with an extra tablet. Vitamin D is mainly produced in the skin by UV-B and people with dark skin and extra sunblock can develop a vitamin D deficiency.”

A woman is sunbathing on the beach in a blue bikini.
Young woman laying on beach sun tanning. Photo: Colourbox

2. Factor 50 is nonsense and does not exist

Fable, says Kukutsch. “What is true is that the difference between factor 30 and factor 50 is not very large. Factor 30 protects – if you lubricate properly – 95 percent against the sun. However, it is the art that you really lubricate well and in fact you never actually lubricate the right amount. If you apply a higher factor, you will ultimately benefit more from it, because that factor protects extra well. If you burn quickly, it is therefore no superfluous luxury to apply factor 50 in the places where you burn quickly.”

3. If you apply it you will become less (or not) brown.

“That’s true, because tanning happens because the skin comes into contact with UVA and UVB light. Sunscreen never blocks the sunlight 100 percent, however, unless you apply zinc paste or something similar. So you always get a little brown, simply because you never apply consistently enough. What would be enough? Apply every two hours, repeat every time and if you have been in the water or have been sweating, apply again immediately. Impossible actually, because whoever lies in the sun sweats. And when you sweat, the sunburn goes off your body…”

4. If I apply myself well enough, I can bake for hours.

Kukutsch: “Absolutely a fable. If we go back to the previous point: you never apply consistently enough and sunscreen does not have an infinite effect. You can’t sunbathe endlessly. If you apply factor 30, for example, while you can normally stay in the sun unprotected – without getting red – for 10 minutes, you can therefore stay protected in the sun for about 30 x 10 = 300 minutes.”

“However, it does not work that you then lubricate again and can sit protected in the sun for another 300 minutes. There is always a little UV through the sunscreen and that is simply too much after that period. Then you should actually put on a shirt or look for the shade. And by the way: baking is, in my opinion, just very out of fashion.”

A woman with sunscreen in the shape of a sun on her back.

5. Sunscreen abroad is often not good or fake.

According to Kukutsch, it really depends on where you are abroad. “For example, within the European Union there is a standard with regard to sunscreen that every producer must adhere to. So in Spain you have the same products as here. And in countries like Australia, Japan and the US you notice that the standards are just as strict,” says Kukutsch. She does point out, however, that it is not smart to buy sunscreen at a ramshackle stall somewhere in the middle of nowhere. “Then you don’t know what kind of products they are”

6. Sunscreen Can Go Bad

That’s a fact, says Kukutsch. “Sunscreen does not have an expiration date for nothing. After that it just doesn’t work as well. You can often use the sun protection for about a year, sometimes it can be less. For example, what you should not do is put the sunscreen in the car when it gets very hot, or in the bright sun when you are at the beach. Always try to store the bottle in the shade.”

First aid for burnt genitals

7. If I apply myself well, I can’t get skin cancer

According to Kukutsch, that is a myth; “But with good rubbing you do reduce the risk of skin cancer. However, it has to be done really well. What many opponents of sunscreen use as an argument is that sunscreen is misused to allow you to spend longer in the sun, which we just discussed. Then you are not sufficiently protected, you burn or get too much UV in and then the risk of skin cancer is increased again.

Kukutsch understands where all the misunderstandings about sunscreen come from and the fact that many people still like to lie (unprotected) in the sun. “The sun feels very nice and pleasant. The risk of skin cancer and skin aging are then a bit of an abstract thing, because it only comes into play years later. You actually have to protect yourself now, so as not to get sick and/or be full of wrinkles later in life. If you are burned, you are already at a higher risk.”

A mother applies sunscreen to her child.

The younger, the worse

“Prevention is hard to get into people’s heads,” continues Kukutsch. “That’s a shame, because every time you get sunburnt is bad. The younger it happens, the worse the effect can be as you get older. That is why it is so important to protect your children properly. Added to this is the feeling that – because it is fashion – it is healthy to be tan. Those who are brown look ‘better’ according to our standard. But in my opinion everyone should just be happy with their own skin color. And another advantage: you don’t have to use botox later if you use your sunscreen now!”

Skin cancer at 26: ‘Never lie in a bikini again’

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The fables and facts about sunscreen

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