Should I put sunscreen on my ears

Sunscreen: better a lot than a little

During the holiday season, there is now a lot to be outside, especially against the backdrop of the corona pandemic. It should be clear as sunshine: only with UV protection in summer! This includes putting on sunscreen - as well as protective clothing, headgear, sunglasses and the shadow break at lunchtime.

Because UV rays can penetrate deep into the skin, damage cells and lead to skin cancer. The underestimated thing about it: Skin damage occurs long before sunburn occurs.

Our four tips will help you when using sunscreen:

Note the UV index

The UV index describes the strength of the sunburn-effective UV radiation. The higher it is, the higher the UV radiation strength and the faster sunburn can occur on unprotected skin. From a value of 3 you should use a UV protection agent, among other things. Every three days from April to September a forecast for the UV index is published by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). If two UV index values ​​are given, the lower value applies to forecast cloud cover and the higher value applies to bright sunshine. The higher the UV exposure, the higher the sun protection must be. Many weather apps also show the UV index.

High sun protection factor

You are on the safe side with sun protection creams from the protection category “high” and “very high” with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, better 50. This is especially true when staying in high mountains, by the water and in the south. The sun protection factor indicates how many times your own protection time you can spend in the sun without getting sunburn. For example, if you have light skin, your self-protection time is a maximum of 10 minutes. With a sunscreen with SPF 30 you can stay in the sun for about five hours. However, because many people apply it too thinly, the full SPF is not used, but perhaps only a third. You should also consider abrasion from sand and clothing and losses from sweating and swimming. It is therefore important to re-apply it every two hours. But be careful: Post-creaming does not extend the protection time! Basically, it is advisable not to exhaust this, but to go to the shade earlier.

Apply enough lotion

When it comes to sunscreen, it means: a lot helps a lot. It only develops its optimal protective effect if it is sufficiently applied and evenly distributed. An adult needs about three to four tablespoons for the whole body. For the summer vacation, it is advisable to plan a large bottle of sunscreen per person per week. Make sure that you also apply good lotion to "sun terraces" such as forehead, bald head, ears, nose, lips and chin. Sun protection products should be applied thoroughly around half an hour before going into the sun, even if many of them now offer immediate protection. Because often before application you have been out and about in the sun unprotected for a while, maybe applying cream to children and setting up the beach camp. By the way: The assumption that pre-tanned skin provides sufficient protection against UV radiation is wrong. The same applies here: apply lotion thoroughly!

If you have skin problems: seek medical advice

If you suffer from allergies, skin diseases or take medication, it is advisable to seek medical advice and get advice on sun protection. Because some drugs, for example, increase the skin's sensitivity to light.

And last but not least: Sunscreens do not have to be expensive to provide reliable protection against UV radiation - test results from consumer protection organizations have shown this.

You want to learn more? Then take a look at our knowledge module on UV protection when working outdoors.

Our author

Dr. Inge Schmidt works at the BGHW in the field of prevention. There she is head of department in the department for effects and occupational diseases. Her main focus is on UV protection at work to prevent skin diseases.

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