Protect your skin in the sun

Sun protection factor Credit: Shutterstock:SNeG17

May is deemed skin cancer awareness month worldwide to educate and prepare us for the sun exposure of the summer months.

While Spain has some of the lowest incidences of recorded melanomas, compared to the rest of Europe, it is still important to be ‘skin smart’ this summer.

The easiest and most effective way is to wear sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF).  This will ensure adequate protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays (UVB and UVA).

The rule of thumb is that the fairer you are, the higher the SPF factor you need. This is because SPF is the amount of additional time you can be exposed to the sun compared to without it. So, for those who burn within 10 minutes unprotected, an SPF 50 should protect you 50 times longer.

Wearing sunscreen should become part of your daily ritual and experts recommend that it is applied at least 30 minutes before your skin is exposed to the sun.  This is to allow for effective absorption into the skin.  It is also important to wear sunscreen even if you are not going to be sunbathing; it is just as easy to burn walking around as it is lying down in it.

Where did sunscreen originate?

The first known commercial sun product was launched in 1936 by chemist Eugene Schueller, even though ultraviolet rays were discovered in the 1800s.  The company’s founder, known today as L’Oreal, developed the first tanning oil to contain UV radiation filtering.

In 1938, Franz Greiter, a Swiss chemist, was mountaineering and got sunburnt. This led to the invention of the first modern sunscreen. In honour of the mountain that inspired the product, he named his brand Piz Buin. Greiter is also credited with inventing SPF, although this didn’t materialise until 1962.

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Written by

Donna Williams