Sunbathing: 5 Mistakes Too Many Make Every Summer

Sunbathing: 5 Mistakes Too Many Make Every Summer
Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / TerriC

For many, sunbathing is simply part of summer. Which five points you should consider to protect your skin from excessive UV radiation.

Do you love bathing in the sun in summer? Even if you apply lotion, you can get sunburned depending on your skin type.

This is not only uncomfortable and painful, but also increases the risk of skin cancer. That’s why you should pay attention to a few essential tips when sunbathing.

1. Sunbathing mistake: Not sunscreen

Apply sunscreen before sunbathing. If you use a cream with a chemical filter, you should apply cream at least 30 minutes beforehand. Also make sure to use a large enough amount. Which sun protection factor is suitable for you depends on your skin type, as listed by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS):

  • Skin type I includes people with very light skin, freckles and reddish-blond hair. They are particularly prone to sunburn. As a rule, they cannot stay in the sun for more than five to ten minutes without getting burned. You need a cream with a very high sun protection factor (SPF) of 50+.
  • People with light skin and blond to dark blond hair belong to skin type II. Their self-protection time is ten to 20 minutes. After this time, the risk of sunburn is very high.
  • Skin type III includes people with brown or dark blonde hair and a slightly darker complexion. Your self-protection time is 20 to 30 minutes, the SPF should be at least 15.
  • Major Type IV has olive skin, brown eyes, and dark brown hair. People with this skin type tan quickly and get sunburned after 30 to 40 minutes without sunscreen.

  • People with skin type V have dark brown skin and eyes, and hair is dark brown to black. You have around an hour of downtime. SPF 5 is usually sufficient.
  • Skin type VI is the most sunburn resistant type with dark brown to black skin, dark brown eyes and black hair. But even people with this skin type can burn themselves after more than 90 minutes without sunscreen.

Children are generally particularly at risk because their skin is not yet sufficiently developed to protect itself against UV radiation. In addition, sunstroke can quickly occur without protection. The rule here is: the higher the SPF, the better. The BfS recommends using at least an SPF of 30 for children.

2. Sunbathing for too long

Before sunbathing, you should apply plenty of sunscreen to your skin to protect yourself from sunburn.
Before sunbathing, you should apply plenty of sunscreen to your skin to protect yourself from sunburn.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / skeeze)

You should also limit sunbathing with sunscreen. You can calculate approximately how long you should stay in the sun based on your self-protection and the SPF of the sunscreen, which you simply multiply: If you belong to skin type III and have applied a sunscreen with SPF 30, you could, for example, around 600 to 900 minutes stay in the sun.

However, the BfS advises against using this time completely. Despite the protection, some of the UV radiation always penetrates the skin and skin damage occurs long before the sunburn becomes visible. For this reason, the BfS advises only using about 60 percent of the protection time. For the case described, this would be 360 ​​to 540 minutes (i.e. six to nine hours). The protective effect only applies if you apply sunscreen several times a day.

Attention: Reapplying the cream does not extend the protection time, but only maintains it. The calculated protection time is only valid once for the whole day.

3. The wrong sunscreen

Conventional sun creams contain chemical UV filters that can be problematic for your health.
Conventional sun creams contain chemical UV filters that can be problematic for your health.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / AdoreBeautyNZ)

Sun creams can protect against UV radiation using two different methods: Most conventional creams protect with a chemical UV filter. These are not entirely harmless, because the substances enter our organism through the skin.

The exact effects they have there on our health have not yet been sufficiently scientifically researched. It is particularly worrying that scientists were able to detect residues of the chemical filters in breast milk.

An alternative are sunscreens with mineral filters. These are less harmful to health, but absorb more slowly. You can find out more about this in this article: Organic sunscreen: effective protection without risk? Sometimes a white film remains on the skin. Then you can take a look at these tips: Sunscreen whitens: Tips against it and why this is the case.

We’ll show you which sunscreens we can recommend for this year here: Sunscreen test 2023 ☀️

4. Sunbathing Mistake: Inadequate clothing protection

You should also protect your eyes when sunbathing.
You should also protect your eyes when sunbathing.
(Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Free Photos)

In addition to sunscreen, loose clothing can also protect you from the sun. You can cover particularly exposed areas such as shoulders and neck, which burn easily, with a cloth.

A hat protects the forehead and scalp and prevents sunstroke. This is particularly important for children, who often do not notice that they are becoming more and more exhausted from the heat when playing extensively.

UV radiation not only damages your skin, but also your eyes. So make sure to wear sunglasses. This should also protect your eyes from the sun on the sides and be equipped with a note on 100% UV protection.

5. Sunbathing in the midday heat

Avoid sunbathing in particularly strong sunlight. This applies, for example, at midday when the sun has reached its highest point. Especially on the beach, when the sunlight is reflected by water and sand, the UV radiation is even stronger.


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