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Sun protection and prevention

No question about being outside, enjoying the sun is just great and sun and UV radiation is not only good for the psyche, but is substantial for all life on earth. However, the fact is that too much UV radiation has the most painful consequences and a conscious handling of it can be life-saving.

Why sun protection is so important:

The ozone layer, the “sunglasses” of our earth, is damaged, which significantly increases the intensity of UV radiation. The decrease in stratospheric ozone observed since the mid-1970s resulted in an increase in UV radiation effective for our skin of up to + 6.9% per decade in the period 1977-1995 alone. From 1995, no improvement can be seen despite recovery of the ozone layer.

At the same time, outdoor sports are booming and most of us spend more and more time in the sun over the past few decades, and not just on holiday.

UVB radiation is considered a direct cause of DNA damage, whereas UVA radiation has recently come into focus as the cause of indirect damage to skin cells and DNA. Both are responsible for the fact that in 2015 about 240,000 new cases of skin cancer patients in Germany had to be reported.

Positive effect with conscious handling:

  • Anti-inflammatory in inflammatory skin and respiratory diseases
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Stimulation of the metabolism
  • Increase of mental well-being

Negative consequences of UV overdose:

  • Redness and painful sunburn Headache and possible sun-stroke
  • Retinal damage and lens opacities on the eye
  • Premature aging and wrinkling
  • immune disorders
  • skin cancer

Ultra violet radiation & skin

Children and adolescents are at particular risk due to their lower self-protection and it is known that 50-80% of UV radiation is experienced in childhood. The damages add up and show up 20-30 years later. With every sunburn, the statistical risk of developing skin cancer increases as an adult.

That’s why safe UV protection for children is particularly important and sustainable. From the time of the “radiation overdose” to the onset of sunburn, it takes up to 8 hours. What you do not see is that DNA damage to the cells may have occurred before the first redness of the skin.

Sunscreen not only affects ‘palefaces’ but all skin types!

With unprotected skin, the UVA and UVB rays penetrate far into the deep layers of the skin and permanently damage the DNA

Worth knowing summarized:

  • Infants and toddlers do not belong in the sun! Your skin’s protective mechanism has yet to develop, newborns are the UV radiation even completely defenseless.
  • The individual self-protection time varies according to radiation intensity, latitude, year and time, weather and radiation reflection and the extent of air pollution.
  • In the Mediterranean area, e.g. the self-protection time by about 30%, in the tropics even by 50%.
  • The UVB radiation increases in height! Each 1000 meters of altitude difference by 15%.
  • A good half of the UV radiation is emitted between noon and 3:00 pm during lunch time.
  • Even when the sky is over 50-80% of the UV radiation penetrates through the clouds.
  • In 1 m water depth, 50% UVB and 75% UVA radiation can still be measured.

More about this in an interview with Prof. dr. Arenberger

Why is a cream for sun protection alone not enough?

The sun protection factor of sun creams indicates how much longer you can stay creamy in the sun, without health damage. But caution is advised: The indicated sun protection factors only apply under certain conditions. So the cream must be applied at least half an hour before sunbathing and repeated this even with waterproof products several times a day. In addition, the applied amount must be sufficient: The determination of the protection factor is carried out with 2 mg per cm². As a rule of thumb, this means that the amount of a coffee spoon is just enough for creaming the face.

Textile sun protection offers clear advantages!

The protection that textiles provide from UV radiation is given as the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). This corresponds to the sun protection factor (SPF) of sun creams. UV Standard 801 certified textiles provide a safe UPF even when wet and stretched, such as hyphen apparel with UPF 80, and this applies throughout the day.

More under UV Standard 801 …

A family of three needs about 4 liters of sunscreen when used properly for a two-week seaside holiday!

This results in a very exciting math problem for a child:

* assuming a 14-day beach holiday per year, the whole day at the beach

We need Vitamin D and sun protection – that sounds like a contradiction, but is it?

Vitamin D is a prohormone that can be synthesized in the body. According to the German Nutrition Society, 80-90% of the vitamin D requirement is produced during regular outdoor stays by exposure to UV radiation in the body. The remainder is taken by food or by additional intake. Experts agree that sun vitamin D is just as vital as a sound skin cancer screening. Not at all new is the knowledge about the meaning of the vitamin D. Who does not know the recommendation of a vitamin D rachitis prophylaxis in breastfed and not breastfed infants in the first year of life. But how much vitamin D is “healthy” or possibly protects against illness can not yet be answered with certainty, especially as there are large, individual differences. The dermatologist Prof. dr. med. Uwe Reinhold commented on this in an interview with “FOCUS Gesundheit”, published on: 26th November 2013 as follows:

“.. On the one hand, the sunshine in Germany from October to March is generally not strong enough for adequate vitamin D formation. On the other hand, skin-sensitive people without protection in the summer at noon can get sunburn after just a few minutes. The often recommended ten to 30 minutes unprotected in the midday sun can already be dangerous for certain population groups … The fear of vitamin D deficiency must not lead to neglecting the sunscreen. The relationship between UV radiation and skin cancer risk is clearly established. But long sunbathing does not necessarily increase the vitamin D level …. The German Society of nutrition recommends a daily intake of 20 micrograms of vitamin D. About the diet, especially from the consumption of high-fat fish, offal, eggs and dairy products, come but only two to four micrograms. This means that more vitamin D needs to be provided through dietary supplementation or sun exposure. “

Dr. Rüdiger Greinert, Head of the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at the Dermatology Center Buxtehude summed it up at the German Cancer Congress in Berlin “There is no vitamin D synthesis without DNA damage in the skin, because the UV spectra leading to sunburn, tanning, skin cancer or but lead the precursor of vitamin D, almost overlap. “

In 2011, 22 national and international experts of the “Vitamin-D-Update 2011” of the German Foundation for Health Information and Prevention (DSGIP) made the following recommendation in a joint statement: “In our latitudes you should in the summer months – if possible at the highest level of the sun – expose a large surface of the skin to radiation more than three times a week for a maximum of 20 minutes each. Frequently exposed areas should be protected. If you stay longer in the sun, the skin with clothing or sunscreen must be protected from damage. Of course, sunburns should be avoided.

Prof. Dr. med. Reichrath, one of the participants, therefore recommends “a regular but moderate stay in the sunlight”. The World Health Organization sees 5 to 15 minutes of solar radiation on the face, hands and arms as a recommendation for sufficient lightness of vitamin D during the summer months for the bright skin type that predominates in Central Europe during the summer months.

In any case, it is important to get the skin used to the sun slowly and to avoid reddening of the skin. The sunscreen should not be applied until the individually tolerated sun dose has been reached. To ensure adequate care, consult your doctor and have serum levels measured before supplementing with food. Supplementation would be preferable in case of doubt necessarily a sunburn.

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