ABC Medical Center > Digital magazine > Sunscreen an ally on vacation

Sunscreen an ally on vacation

7 September 2022

Key points:

  • It is recommended to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen for both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Surfaces like water and snow reflect 7 times more light from ultraviolet radiation than the ground.
  • In general, sunscreens are not waterproof, so when getting out of the pool, sweating, and wiping off with a towel, it should be reapplied.

Sunscreen an ally on vacation

Normally, when planning a beach vacation, everyone thinks about taking swimsuits, caps, towels, and other items in the suitcase. But the most important thing to pack, and one that should never be forgotten, is sunscreen, says Dr. María Eugenia Solloa, dermatologist at the ABC Medical Center.

Choosing the best sun protection factor

Previously there were 8, 6, and even 2 sun protection factors, but it has been shown that these protectors do not take care of the skin. It is advisable to choose a sunscreen with a minimum factor of 30, being better one of 50.

When choosing the type of protector, it should be sought to be broad spectrum, to obtain protection from both types A ultraviolet rays (UVA) and type B ultraviolet rays (UVB).

“Small amounts of ultraviolet radiation are necessary to produce vitamin D, but excessive exposure has negative health consequences, as it can cause cancer. The acute effects of ultraviolet radiation can be DNA damage, sunburn, phototoxic and photoallergic reactions, and immunosuppression, which can be considered a risk factor for cancer and lead to virus reactivation (for example, cold sores)”. 1

Dr. Solloa says that another element to consider when choosing a sunscreen is the presentation since they exist in gel, spray, lotion, and more. In general, spray versions are widely purchased due to their practicality, the fact is that they are not as useful and have several drawbacks such as high cost, environmental pollution, and the difficulty in evenly distributing it on the skin.

It is important to note that for the best choice of sunscreen, it should be considered that it is best to apply it to the hand and spread it evenly over the skin that will be exposed to the sun.

When should we use sunscreen?

It is considered that the use of sunscreen is exclusive for the beach or hot places, says Dr. Solloa, but it should be applied every day and even more so in situations where you are mostly exposed to the sun.

Snow and water manage to reflect 7 times more light from ultraviolet radiation than the ground and we must remember that ultraviolet radiation is responsible for skin burns, a situation that could affect your activities or vacations.

Therefore, regardless of whether you are in a hot or cold environment, remember that what you must consider is exposure to ultraviolet rays. In addition, you can consider using appropriate clothing that will protect your skin.

Additionally, it is recommended to reapply sunscreen every three hours, as well as every time you go into the pool or sea, dried your skin with a towel, or have sweated from physical activity, since practically no sunscreen is waterproof.

At ABC Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

Dra. María Eugenia Solloa Roncero – dermatologist at ABC Medical Center.
1 https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ultraviolet-radiation

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    Dra. María Eugenia Solloa Roncero

    Dra. María Eugenia Solloa Roncero


    Formed as Médico Cirujano at the Universidad La Salle. Specialized on Dermatology at the Escuela Militar de Graduados de Sanidad

    Medical License: 2346419

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