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

the essential
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, more than 80% of skin cancers are linked to excessive sun exposure. As we emerge from a particularly sunny month of May, the summer could well post the same results. In order to properly protect you, The Midi Dispatch offers you some tips for choosing the right sunscreen.

If already in the spring, temperatures and sunshine have reached records, the phenomenon could well happen again this summer. Like every year, many of you are wondering which sunscreen to choose. At a time when we are talking about products that are potentially carcinogenic and/or harmful to health, this decision should not be taken lightly. To help you make the right choice, The Midi Dispatch gives you some advice and tips for choosing the right sunscreen. Objective: to protect your skin, but also your health.

Check the protection index

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 the Economy, in a note intended to guide consumers in the purchase of sunscreen, draws up a list of the latter and their effectiveness.

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Indices ranging from 6 to 10 are therefore considered “low protection”, “medium protection” for indices from 15 to 25, “high protection” from 30 to 50 and “very high protection” for indices ranging from 50 and more. . Your choice will have to be adapted according 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 sunscreens, are a factor of multiplication of the time before taking a sunburn. “This means that with an index of 30, it will take 300 minutes to catch the sunburn that we would have in ten minutes without protection”, explains Professor Christophe Bedane, head of the dermatology department at the Limoges University Hospital, at our colleagues from Figaro.

Adapt 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 them, “extremely sensitive to the sun” skin can be characterized on a person with “milky-white skin, freckles and red hair”. If you regularly sunburn or have a history of skin cancer, you also fall into this category.

Conversely, resistant skin will be characterized in a person “with dark skin who tans easily without ever getting sunburned”, according to INC. In the first case, favor an index of 50+, and in the second, a 6-10 or 15-25 should do the trick.

Carcinogenic sunscreens?

Last year, a study by CNRS researchers revealed that some sun and day creams could develop a carcinogenic compound. Octocrylene, often used in these products, could turn into benzophenone, an endocrine disruptor that can pass through the skin.

“Normally, there are no more harmful compounds inside the sunscreens sold in pharmacies today, attests a pharmacist in Toulouse. The labs have reformulated the active ingredients that were problematic. In any case in pharmacies! After in large areas, I have no guarantee”, she continues.

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In short, it is now more likely to catch skin cancer through excessive exposure to the sun than through the use of sunscreen. The Cancer League itself recommends applying sunscreen regularly. In case you are 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 screens inside their creams,” continues the pharmacist. In terms of protection, mineral filters do not normally let any UVA or UVB through. . With chemicals there is a little bit that passes, “she adds.

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

Apply the cream in quantity

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

The application of sunscreen can be very important during prolonged or short exposure to the sun. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, more than 80% of skin cancers are linked to excessive exposure to the sun”. So be vigilant.

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