All About Sunscreen with Dermatologist Dr Friderike Benzel | LuxFox

All About Sunscreen with Dermatologist Dr Friderike Benzel

  • All About Sunscreen with Dermatologist Dr Friderike Benzel
Everything you ever wanted to know about sunscreen is in this post.
2 years ago

We all know sunscreen is important, but why? Which one should we use, and how should we apply it? Berlin-based dermatologist Dr Friderike Benzel answered all our questions about sunscreens.


Why is wearing sunscreen so important?

We all need sunlight, not only because it helps to enhance our mood, but also for various processes in the human body like the production of vitamin D by the skin. But sunlight also comes with risks. Sunburn is not only painful, but can have serious long-term consequences such as skin cancer and the acceleration of skin aging (called photo-aging). This includes wrinkles, loss of elasticity, changes in pigmentation, age spots and redness. So besides enjoying sunlight in reasonable doses, we should also preserve our skin by using sunscreen.


What is SPF?

SPF means “sun protection factor“ and is usually announced on sunscreen products. It multiplies the time it would take for you get sunburn without sunscreen. For example, if you were to get sunburn after 10 minutes without sunscreen, by properly applying a sunscreen rated SPF 30 this might take up to 5 hours.


Sunscreens below SPF 15 are rated low, and have a limited effect. Those ranking from SPF 15 – 25 are rated medium and can be sufficient for in darker skin types or a low UV-index, and sunscreens from SPF 30 – 50 are rated high and offer good protection in most conditions. SPF 50+ is rated very high, and is good for people with very light and sensitive skin. SPF 50+ provides the maximum possible effect of a sunscreen: sunscreens with a SPF over 50+ (like 100) are not providing double protection compared with 50+.


How much sunscreen should we put on?

The easiest answer to this question is: always much more than you would think. To cover an adults whole body surface, around 4 tablespoons of sunscreen are necessary to reach the SPF stated. For the face one teaspoon should be applied.


Any other tips as to how we should apply it?

Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure to develop its protective effects. It should be applied on all body parts not covered by textiles. After swimming or when sweating, application has to be repeated, even if the product announced to be waterproof.


Sprays, creams or gels — which one is better?

In general, the type of sunscreen is not crucial to its effectivity. It depends on your skin type and individual preferences. Products that contain more oil are more suitable for dry skin, whereas water-based products like gels or sprays are more convenient in oily skin. Most physical sunscreens are only available as creams or lotions.


Is there a difference between cheap and expensive sunscreens?

Good and reliable sunscreen products are available in various price categories, although higher-priced products are not necessarily better. Sometimes, it´s more effective to use higher amounts of a lower-priced product rather than small amounts of a very expensive one, assuming a comparable SPF.


 What is the most common misconception about sunscreen?

 One  common misunderstanding is that sunscreens keep the skin from tanning. However, the skin still tans with sunscreen. It might happen slower, but the effect is more long-lasting.






 Is there anything else we should know about sunscreen?

 Research about sunscreen and effects of sunlight is ongoing. Lately, HEV-light (high energy visible light, a bluish part of visible light) has been said to contribute to photo-aging by inducing the production of free radicals. It is emitted by screens and monitors, among other things. This might be another target of ‘sunscreens’ or, more appropriately, ‘lightscreens’ in the future.


We hope you all enjoy the summer - and don’t forget your sunscreen!

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