Now fill up the vitamin D storage again - but beware of sunburn!

Now fill up the vitamin D storage again - but beware of sunburn!

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Risk of sunburn: UV index helps to assess the risk

Vitamin D is essential for our health, but the skin needs contact with the sun's rays in order to produce it in sufficient quantities. The little sunny weather in the past few months has meant that most people have run out of vitamin D stores and should urgently be replenished. Soaking up the sun is the order of the day, but sun protection should not be neglected.

Spring sun is often underestimated

Temperatures up to 25 degrees: summer weather has finally come. After the months with little sun, there is hardly anything more beautiful than to soak up some sun in the garden, nature or even in a café. However, caution should be exercised. The power of the sun is slightly underestimated, especially in spring, and there is a risk of sunburn. This increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Health experts explain how to protect yourself.

Adequate supply of the “sun vitamin”

In many countries, vitamin D requirements cannot be met in winter.

It is therefore particularly important in the warm months to get enough of the so-called "sun vitamin".

However, staying in the sun for too long can be dangerous as it can cause sunburn. And this increases the risk of skin cancer.

Increased risk of skin cancer

In the past, many people thought that there was a healthy tan.

But nowadays we know that this is not the case. That massive amounts of people relentlessly indulged in sunbathing in the 70s and 80s is now taking revenge with a massive increase in skin cancer.

With a tanned complexion, it takes longer for sunburn to appear, but there is still a risk of skin cancer.

In addition, frequent sunbathing leads to premature aging of the skin with wrinkles and pigment spots, and conjunctivitis and long-term lens opacification can result in the eyes.

Nevertheless, summer and sun can be enjoyed, provided we know the dangers and protect ourselves appropriately. This is pointed out by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in a communication.

UV index to assess the risk of sunburn

Humans have no early warning system for ultraviolet (UV) rays. To know which sun protection measures are necessary and when, you should use the UV index as a guide.

This was developed by international specialist committees to assess the current UV exposure to the sun. There are ten stations spread across Germany, which indicate the expected daily peak values ​​of the sunburn effective, near-ground UV radiation intensity.

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) publishes the measurement data and provides 3-day forecasts for the UV exposure in various regions in Germany.

Interesting for vacation planning: The UV index was defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is uniform worldwide. A UV index of 5 in Germany therefore means exactly the same as in Australia, Spain or Sweden.

It can be queried for other countries via the BfS website. Other institutions, such as the German Weather Service, also publish the UV index on the Internet.

According to the DKFZ, the rule of thumb for estimating UV exposure applies: the higher the UV index, the faster sunburn can occur on unprotected skin and the more important protective measures are.

"This is a practical guide for planning all kinds of summer outdoor activities," says Dr. Susanne Weg-Remers, Head of the DKFZ Cancer Information Service. "Those who adhere to the recommendations are best protected."

Recommended protective measures

The power of the sun with its dangerous ultraviolet radiation is underestimated by many people. Experts have complained of an increase in UV-related skin cancer in recent years. Those who take the following tips to heart can enjoy the sun and warmth without regrets:

  • Look for the shade between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the UV radiation is at its highest or, even better, spend the lunchtime indoors.
  • You can achieve simple but safe protection with clothing and headgear.
  • Wearing sunglasses prevents eye damage. Pay attention to 100% UV protection or UV 400 and sufficient side protection.
  • In order to avoid pigment disorders, it is safer to avoid cosmetics, perfumes or deodorants when sunbathing.
  • A sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 20 is recommended for adults. It should also have UV-A and UV-B filters. Do not save on cream and repeat it again and again.
  • If you have sensitive skin, you should choose a high sun protection factor (50+) in midsummer and in southern countries.
  • Even with cloudy skies, think of adequate sun protection: up to 90 percent of the dangerous rays penetrate through the cloud cover.
  • Medicines like antihypertensives can have side effects related to sunlight. Talk to your doctor if you are taking medication.

Sunscreen can block vitamin D formation

Sunscreen can reduce the formation of vitamin D. However, according to the National Health Service UK (NHS), most people produce enough vitamin D when their forearms, hands, or lower legs are exposed to the sun for a short time every day. About ten to fifteen minutes are sufficient. This period of time is still short enough to avoid redness and sunburn if no sunscreen is used. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Eat your sunscreen HERES HOW (June 2022).


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