How to protect yourself from the sun to preserve your health and beauty

In summer, we all like to enjoy the sun. It boosts our energy and cheers us up after the winter months. It helps the body produce Vitamin D, which plays an essential part in maintaining our bone and muscle mass and it also helps strengthen our immune system.

In summer, the sun rays are at their peak and can become very intense. It is therefore important to protect yourself against the harmful effects of the sun, whether you are by the seaside, in the mountains or in the countryside, just going for a walk or while practicing your favorite sport: swimming, climbing, mountain biking, sailing, windsurfing or surfing.

To enjoy the sunny days while protecting yourself from the sun,Is the insurance that the sun can remain a safe pleasure.

Understanding the risks of sun exposure to better protect yourself

The sun’s rays are ultraviolet, invisible to the eye; they do not cause any sensation of discomfort nor heat.

  • UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are responsible for skin aging
  • UVB rays act superficially on the epidermis by stimulating the production of melanin responsible for tanning.

When the skin is over-exposed, UVA and UVB rays weaken the skin and cause sunburns, with potentially serious consequences on the health.

The skin is not the only organ to be affected by the effects of ultraviolet radiation. As we know, in the mountains and especially on glaciers or on the white surface of the snow, the intensity is such that the lens of the eye may be affected and become opaque: this is cataract. This is not affecting only the mountain dwellers; the same happens with the reflection of the sun on the water or any clear surface. Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays with adapted sunglasses and never neglect the protection of your children’s eyes from an early age!

The sun and the skin

For a long time, the sun was praised for its ability to fight rickets. The sun can also be beneficial on specific skin diseases such as lupus, or bone diseases such as osteomalacia: the “soft bone disease”, the latter being directly linked to the deficiency of calcium fixation. But you must remain careful, and even in such cases, you must follow your doctor’s advice, since any exposure can lead to increased risks of skin cancer.

We are not all equal regarding the sun.

When exposed to the sun, our melanocyte cells start producing melanin which colors our skin and helps stop some of the sun’s rays. The lighter our complexion, the fewer melanocytes are available; therefore, it is necessary to protect it more in order to avoid sunburns.

The incidence of skin cancer is prevalent in lighter skin types, but regardless of your skin type, you must protect your skin since melatonin and tanning do not prevent immediate burns, sun allergies, or cancer.

In addition, UVA rays that penetrate deeper will quicken the degradation of the skin tissue, superficial dehydration will favor the appearance of fine lines, the fibers of collagen and elastin will be weakened and wrinkles will deepen, melatonin disorders will cause unsightly brown spots: the skin will age prematurely without us realizing it.

For all these reasons, when it comes to the sun the watchwords are: protection and prevention!

Adopt the right behavior to protect your skin

Solar radiation intensity varies depending on the time of day. Heat is not an indicator of the power of the sun’s rays. It is when the sun is at its peak that the UV rays are the most aggressive to the skin and a potential danger to your health.

The best protection is to stay out of the sun: favor shaded areas, wear light and dry clothes, a broad-brimmed hat, and also sunglasses to protect your eyes.

In addition, sunscreen products act as filters to help protect against the sun’s rays. We recommend that you choose them carefully and following the recommendation of a healthcare professional or your esthetician who is a skin expert. To better control the risks, sunscreen should be applied every two hours and after each swim. Sweating will also reduce the protective action of your suncare products, and you will then need to reapply your protection.

Do not forget that the solar radiation is very intense when driving or behind a windshield, since the glazing area of the vehicle results in a tenfold increase.

In urban areas you also need to protect yourself against sun radiation: indeed, pollution tends to make your skin more fragile and sensitive to external factors. Wearing makeup or using a compact powder can be an interesting alternative or complement to help create a protection “shield”. Some are available with sun filters for city dwellers.

Children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the sun’s harmful effects. Their skin and their eyes are more fragile, they tend to forget to protect themselves and often stay exposed for longer periods of time due to their outdoor activities. However, it is during childhood and adolescence that we use more of our “sun capital”, our capacity to naturally protect ourselves from the sun by the production of melanin. The consequences of excessive sun exposure and sunburns appear later in life, like a rebound effect.

This is why it is essential to protect the young population and the toddlers and to totally avoid sun exposure between noon and 4 pm.

Do not be mistaken! Staying under a sun umbrella at the beach or by a lakeside may be a lesser evil than direct sun exposure. Yet the reverberation and the intensity of solar radiation still affect your skin and eyes.

Therefore, the golden rule regarding unsuitable exposure hours to avoid remains valid at any age.

And since what we eat is also a source of good health: in summer choose fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene which will be a natural and pleasant tanning ally! It is found in carrots, but also in oranges and even in ginger! Also eat fruits rich in water such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon or strawberries, and peaches. Packed with water, they will help hydrate your skin and reinforce the healthy glow of your skin thanks to the vitamins that help fight oxidation and free radicals surging with sun exposure!

How to choose your sunscreen protection

Sunscreens are not enough to protect your skin from the sun. There is no such thing as a “sunblock” and the legislators have taken action to remove these misleading claims. The only total sunscreen is staying out of the sun’s reach, in the shade, in a cool place, without sun mirroring, and wearing the proper clothing.

Sunscreens let UV rays pass through and they allow tanning. An index 2 allows 50% of UV rays to pass through, while an index 20 protects at 94%. As you move up in the index graduation, the benefits remain low: an index 60 still allows 2% of UV rays through. Therefore, you must choose your sunscreen taking into account your skin type and the solar radiation, while assessing the “benefit vs risk” ratio between the protection claim and the ingredients used to provide such protection.

You have to pay particular attention to the composition of your sun protection products. Sun filters are most often chemicals or nanoparticles that may not be your skin nor your health or even not nature’s best friend.

From allergens to potentially carcinogenic ingredients: we must remain cautious.

But how can we find our way around these? The cosmetics apps that have emerged in recent years are sometimes questionable in their assessment of sunscreen products and their potentially harmful effects. Some even have been flagged by the authorities for their partisan approach. Therefore, in order to make an informed choice, it is better to rely on more neutral sources, not bound by any commercial interests, such as the French “Que Choisir” (“How to choose”) which offers comparative tables of the most common and popular sunscreen products on the market.

There are two types of sunscreen: mineral filters and chemical filters.

Mineral filters act as a mirror that reflects the sun’s rays to prevent them from penetrating the skin. They are fir instance Titanium Dioxide, Zinc oxide, or even talc powder molecules. They may seem less threatening at first, but they leave whitish deposits on the skin. Hence, to overcome this downside, many formulas use them in the form of nanoparticles. And as a result, they are no longer harmless. In addition, to be effective you will need to apply your cream in a thick layer and repeat the applications.

According to the Scientific Committee for the Safety of Consumers (CSSC) April 2014 report « Opinion on Titanium Dioxide (nano form) COLIPA n° S75 (SCCS /1516/13) », titanium dioxide is authorized in the limit of concentration inferior to 25% and it is totally prohibited in spray due to the fact that its inhalation could be carcinogenic (category 2 carcinogenic by inhalation – Official Journal of February 18th, 2020)

Chemical filters absorb UV rays better than the skin and, in some way “trap” them. For a long time, they were suspected of being allergens; today they are used in the form of bigger molecules that cannot penetrate as deeply into the epidermis, thus reducing the risk of allergy while providing effective protection.

However, it is safer to stay away from products containing octocrylene, an organic filter that could degrade within the bottles into a known carcinogenic and endocrine disruptor: benzophenonce-3.

You may also have come across day creams that contain UV filters. At Cosmetics 27, we prefer to separate and target the functions of each product so to optimize their efficacy. Day creams with sunscreens most often only offer limited protection (SPF 15 to 30) which will be far from enough in case of intense sunlight, or when behind a windshield. It is then better to apply sun care protection adapted to the climatic conditions and to your skin type. It should be used as a complement to the day cream specific to your skin condition, its type, and the season.

The dangers of the sun: between myths and reality

The US sessions in tanning booths do not prepare your skin for the sun. This artificial tan is more superficial and therefore does not protect you as natural tanning would, and which itself provides only very limited protection.

In addition, these sessions speed up skin aging, and the artificial UVs add up to the sun’s UV rays thus reinforcing the carcinogenic effect.

Tanning does not protect from UV radiation. The melanin produced will create a natural barrier, but it remains superficial and partial. You may be a little less prone to sunburn once tanned, however when exposing yourself to the sun you are starting a process of premature skin aging, and you increase greatly your risks of cancer.

Even once tanned, remember to keep protecting yourself!

Sunburns are not the only cause of cancer. The UVA rays that penetrate deeply into the skin further weaken it, make is age faster, and increase the risks of cancer.

What about after sun exposure

In case you could not resist or avoid prolonged sun exposure, you need to react fast!

As soon as the exposure is over, remember to refresh your skin with our Tonic Mist 27: the trace elements it contains will help rehydrate and remineralize your skin while Centella Asiatica helps it regenerate and that the skin’s microbiota will be nourished by Lactococcus, a natural ferment.

Should your skin be thin, dry, and dehydrated, at night, apply a generous layer of Baume 27 in order to help the skin repair itself by promoting collagen synthesis thanks to its concentration in Centella Asiatica. The skin will be immediately soothed by Aloe Vera and intensely nourished thanks to the luscious combination of Shea Butter and the natural oils of Sesame and Macadamia.

If your skin is thicker and combination to oily, then opt for the lighter texture of our Crème Bio-logique 27, as it will help sustain the balancing function of the skin microbiota.

Indulge yourself by enriching your treatment creams with a few drops of Face oil Huile 27 : Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6, it will help reinforce the skin barrier, while Centella Asiatica and Carrot oil, both powerful antioxidants, will be instrumental for skin regeneration. The skin regains suppleness and radiance!

In case of extreme dehydration or in case of sunburn, apply Mask 27 in a thick layer and leave it on overnight. Under the action of this repairing cocktail of Centella Asiatica, Everlasting, Kombucha and Daisy, you wake up to beauty!

Better understand the importance of hydration for beauty