Use the Correct Sunprotection
When using sun protective agents it is important to pay attention to their ability to protect against UVA- and UVB radiation. The sun protection factor (SPF) indicates by which factor the skin’s innate protective ability is multiplied, hence how long the sun exposure may safely be prolonged without getting a sunburn.
Example: If an individual would develop sun induced erythema (sunburn) after ten minutes without sun protection, the application of a product with SPF 10 would extend the time until sunburn development until a max. of 100 minutes. These effects are not additive, when several layers are applied, or numerous applications are performed.
Generally, the sun protection factor indicates the protection against UVB radiation, the major cause of sunburn. The protection against UVA radiation is more difficult to determine, since UVA radiation does not immediately induce a notable damage to the skin. In particular with respect to the higher range of UV protective agents, the protection against UVA radiation does not match UVB protective properties. The Australian standard 2607 indicates that under laboratory conditions more than 90 percent of UVA radiation is blocked.
Sun protective agents should have a sun protection factor of at least 25 in the UVB range and a high protection against UVA radiation. Since a number of agents are not effective immediately after application, it is generally recommended to apply them between 20 and 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Nowadays there is a large variety of commerically available sun screen products, including lotions, cremes, gels and sprays allowing everyone to find an appropriate product.
Sunprotection and Sports
The sun protection factor indicated on commercially available products does not guarantee continued protection during activities associated with significant sweating or swimming. When performing water sport activities, special attention should be paid to using only water resistant products. Frequent re-applications may be indicated to re-establish the protective ability, without extending the overall time of safe sun-exposure. Sun exposure needs to be discontinued with any incipient skin erythema.
Sunprotection and Allergic Reactions
Any adverse cutaneous effects including allergic skin reactions cannot be excluded completely when sun screen agents are applied in association with oral medications or other topical formulations or products. If any redness, irritation or skin rash occurs on the skin areas following the application of a sun screen product and in succession of the sun exposure it may be an indication for a local undesirable side effect or intolerance. Under these circumstances the discontinuation of the product is recommended and should be changed to an alternative. In some cases a consultation with a physician should be considered.