The thing about sunscreen
Sunscreen is made to protect your skin. Unfortunately, some sunscreens contain allergenic ingredients. The sunscreen can also be more allergenic the higher the factor. Another sunscreen-bummer we tend to make is using the wrong amount. Therefore, we always recommend buying certified sunscreen and using them as recommended below.
What factor should I use?
If you live in Denmark or Northern Europe the National Board of Health and the Danish Cancer Society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse) recommend that you use SPF15. It may sound like a low factor, but when it comes to sunscreen, studies show that the amount of sunscreen is more important than a high SPF.
In Scandinavia SPF 15 provides good protection in the Nordic summer – as long as it is applied and reapplied thouroughly. You should however choose SPF30 factor if:
- f you live or are going to the southern Europe
- if you have very light skin
- if you just had a new tattoo
There is in other words no need to get carried away and put on factor 1000. Choose the sun factor wisely according to your skin, climate and sun exposure. Always remember: the higher SPF the more chemicals. Therefore: use the lowest possible SPF recommended by the authorities.
How much sunscreen should I use?
Opposite of what many thinks, sunburns are more often due to not using enough sunscreen than use of sunscreen with an SPF that is (too) low.
A Danish study has shown that we do not use enough sunscreen. And not just a little ‘not enough’ – we only use on average 25 percent of the recommended dose. And no, you cannot compensate for your low sunscreen consumption by choosing a higher SPF.
When the producers develop sunscreen, they calculate the SPF from the recommended time you are supposed to be in the sun and by the fact that you use the correct dose.
Tests have shown that SPF 15 works ad SPF 2 if you only use 25% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. And SPF 50 will only work as SPF 3, which means almost no difference in protection.
The best quantity is:
- 20 ml for a child
- 40 ml for an adult
A great rule of thumb is to use a full handful (of the person in question) for a full body. Or look at the bottle, if it contains 200ml – use a fifth part of the bottle content for an adult.
How often should I apply sunscreen?
Many childcare institutions want parents to apply sunscreen on the children in the morning. Then the institution apply again after lunch and maybe even after their afternoon snack at 14:00.
Tests have however shown that there are about 50 percent left of the sun cream eight hours after you have applied it. The sun’s rays begin to decline after 2 pm, so there is really only need to apply sunscreen once a day.
Exceptions are of course if you are at the beach and in and out of water all the time – then you should use sunscreen on yourself and your child at least once more.
When do I apply sunscreen?
The SPF value is made so that it dries up and is ready for your child to get dressed twenty minutes after the sunscreen is applied.
If you put on clothes just four minutes after you applied the sunscreen to your child, the SPF only works by 50%.
Do you choose sunscreen with UVA or UVB protection?
You will get the best protection if you choose a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB. This is not an issue inside Europe as all sunscreens sold in Europe must contain both UVA and UVB.
Are you outside of Europe – make sure it has both.
Shelf life of sunscreen
You can have a sunscreen on your shelf for up to three years and it will still function, if it has not been opened. Once you opened your sunscreen, use it within a year.
It is always good to notice whether your sunscreen changes color, smell or consistency. The more heat the sunscreen has been exposed to for example on the beach, the faster it will loose its effect.
Choose the right sunscreen
Sunscreen is made to protect your skin. Unfortunately, some sunscreens contain allergenic ingredients.
Therefore, we always recommend that you choose a sunscreen that we have certified so that you are sure our toxicologist has checked the product. You can see which products we have certified here