Protection index, skin difference, harmful products… How to choose your sunscreen?

the essential
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, over 80% of skin cancers are due to excessive sun exposure. If we emerge from a particularly sunny month of May, summer could well see the same results. To protect you properly, The midi dispatch gives you some tips for choosing the right sun protection.

If temperatures and sunshine reached records in spring, the phenomenon could well be repeated this summer. As every year, many of you are wondering which sunscreen to choose. At a time when we are talking about potentially carcinogenic and/or harmful products, this decision should not be taken lightly. To help you make the right choice, The midi dispatch gives you tips and advice for choosing the right sun protection. Goal: to protect your skin, but also your health.

Check the protection index

The first point to focus on before buying sunscreen: the protection index. The latter evaluates the product’s ability to delay the aggression of UVB rays (responsible for sunburn). The higher the index, the greater the protection. The Ministry of Commerce compiles a list of the latter and their effectiveness in a notice intended to give consumers guidance when buying sunscreen products.

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Indices in the range of 6 to 10 are therefore considered “low protection”, “medium protection” for indices from 15 to 25, “high protection” for indices from 30 to 50 and “very high protection” for indices 50 and above. Your choice must be adapted to the sensitivity of your skin. Note that UFC-Que Choisir recalls that “no cream filters 100% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.”

Good to know: The indices 6, 10, 15, 30 or 50 written on sunscreen multiply the time until sunburn. “This means that with an index of 30, it takes 300 minutes for us to get the sunburn that we would have in 10 minutes without protection,” explains Professor Christophe Bedane, head of the dermatology department at the Limoges University Hospital, to our colleagues at Figaro.

Match your cream to your skin

Even if you go to the same place with your friends, your skin will suffer differently from the effects of the sun. The National Consumer Institute (INC) has listed skin types and their sensitivity to the sun’s rays. According to this, “extremely sun-sensitive” skin can be characterized in a person with “milky white skin, freckles and red hair”. If you sunburn regularly or have a history of skin cancer, you also fall into this category.

Conversely, according to INC. In the first case, you prefer an index of 50+, and in the second, a 6-10 or 15-25 should be enough.

Carcinogenic sunscreens?

Last year, a study by CNRS researchers found that some sunscreens and day creams could develop a cancer-causing compound. Octocrylene, which is commonly used in these products, could turn into benzophenone, an endocrine disruptor that can pass through the skin.

“Normally there are no longer any harmful compounds in the sunscreens that are sold in pharmacies today, confirms a pharmacist in Toulouse. The laboratories have reformulated the problematic active ingredients. In pharmacies in any case! After all, I have no guarantees in many areas” , she continues.

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In short, you are now more likely to get skin cancer from overexposure to the sun than from using sunscreen. The Cancer League itself recommends wearing sunscreen regularly. If you’re still in doubt, why not try organic creams?

Think about the environment

There are sunscreens that want to respect the environment. The Biarritz laboratories, for example, have developed organic products: “They use mineral and non-chemical filters in their creams,” continues the pharmacist. In terms of protection, mineral filters usually do not let UVA or UVB through. . With chemicals there goes a bit over,” she adds.

For their part, Avène products have “removed screens that kill corals” by “developing formulas that respect the oceans”. Unfortunately, “there are very few laboratories that respect the environment. I personally only know two. Far too many products still have chemical filters that are harmful to corals,” says the pharmacist.

Apply the cream in sufficient quantity

In general, we don’t put enough sunscreen on our skin. “It is recommended to apply a layer of 2 mg/cm² to the skin, which is equivalent to 6 good teaspoons or half a ping-pong ball of sunscreen for an adult body,” confirms the “INC. According to our pharmacist, the application must be “every two hours” or “after every swim”.

Applying sunscreen can be very important whether you are going to be exposed to the sun for a long time or not. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, over 80% of skin cancers are due to overexposure to the sun.” So be vigilant.

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