The sun: ally or enemy

The spring is here and with it comes the long awaited first exposures of the sun. As we are well aware, the sun is essential in our lives. It has been more than demonstrated that is has positive effects regarding our mood; it is important that our body synthesizes the vitamin D which is a principal towards the calcium and phosphorus in our bones. Every day we are more aware of the harmful effects the sun can have on our skin if we do not protect ourselves adequately.

Sun and ageing

Part of the solar radiation which has an impact on our skin and specifically the one that penetrates the least (UV B radiation) is responsible for the tanning of our skin (melanogenesis) but at the same time it is the cause of erythema or sunburn, which is actually irreparable as our skin has a memory. Another part of solar radiation known as UVA (which penetrates through to the deeper layers of skin) is responsible for photo ageing (it has been said that the best anti-ageing cream to use is a good sunscreen), from the loss of elasticity of our skin to the appearance of the feared stains and of the different types of skin cancer.
Because of this we must expose ourselves to the sun with precaution and here at the IMCF we want to emphasize on the importance of a good SUNSCREEN. In the area which we live in, it is important to use a sunscreen all year round, but approaching this time of year and with summer nearby, it is essential

The perfect combination: protection and treatment

As we all know, the principal function of this type of product is to avoid the harmful effects and damages produced by the sun which we have mentioned. Today, and thanks to the investigation and development by the pharmaceutical industry, there are products on the market which we can refer to as multifunctional, as on one part they contain solar filters in sufficient quantity and approved by official methods on a European scale (COLIPA) which makes them able to obtain the domination of SUNSCREEN but also contain active formulas destined to treat problems or alterations of our skin.
We can encounter sunscreens with anti-stain action (LADIVAL ACCION ANTIMANCHAS FPS30), sunscreens with active anti- ageing agents with hyaluronic acid and encapsulated vitamins (FILORGA UV-DEFENCE 50+) special sunscreens for sensitive skin and blotches (BIODERMA PHOTODERM AR), sunscreens with agents destined to treat oily skin or acne (BIODERMA PHOTODERM AKN SPF30), sunscreens destined for skin which has undergone treatment such as peelings, lifting, laser or other surgical interventions (BIODERMA PHOTODERM LASER 50+).

Additionally and thanks to the different galenic advances, we can also find on the market an ample range of sunscreens with an adequate texture for each type of skin, meaning that the use and application of these types of products gives us a comfortable sensation avoiding the feared shiny or white screen effect which sunscreens often leave on our skin. Also available are creamy textures for dry skin (BIODERMA PHOTODERM MAX CREMA) or ultra fluid textures which are rapidly absorbed (BIODERMA PHOTODERM MAX ULTRAFLUIDO), available without colour or with colour as a type of make up.
We can successfully say that we can currently find a sunscreen which is totally INDIVIDUALISED for each and every one of us.

Complementary to the creams: products administered orally

Another aspect to look into is the use of NUTRITIONAL COMPLEMENTS destined to enhance the condition of our skin before a future exposure to the sun. They are products which are administered orally which contain totally natural substances and in doses which have no contraindication. They contain vitamins C and E, tomato extract rich in Lycopene, beta-carotene, fatty acids omega 3, borage oil etc. All of these active agents are destined to prepare the skin for a homogeneous, safe and long lasting tan, to avoid hyper pigmentations and photoageing. (PHOTODERM BRONZ ORAL DE BIODERMA, INNOVAGE POTENCIADOR SOLAR)

Lifelong advice:

Finally we would like to conclude with a series of recommendations and some advice which we may all know but should often be reminded:

.   Avoid the hours of maximum intensity of the sun (from 12-16h).

.   Apply the sunscreen 30 min before exposure and onto dry skin.

.   Reapply the sunscreen every 1.5-2 hours.

.   Do not use open containers from last year as the preservatives lose their efficiency and the sunscreen does not protect correctly.

.   Even if it is cloudy we should still remember to use sunscreen.

.   Do not use perfumes, oils or colognes before sun exposure.

.   Take special interest in the following groups:

> children (their skin is 5 times thinner than ours, their immune system is not advanced and certain chemical filters can cause allergies if they spend a lot of time playing in the water and in contact with the sand)
> pregnant women are much more prone to lentigos and hyper pigmentations
> elderly people and people who are taking certain oral or topical medication (should always consult with their pharmacist)

We would like to invite you to contact us with any type of query or doubt that you may have regarding the sun or sunscreen.

Blanca Llácer Ochoa
Licensed in Pharmacy by the University of Barcelona in 1999 and Master Degree in dermo-cosmetics by the University of Barcelona in 2002.
She worked for 6 years in the cosmetic industry before establishing herself once again in Benidorm where she is currently the owner of the Blanca Llácer Pharmacy, a position which complements the dermo-cosmetic assessment of our patients.