The ABC of UV-radiation


It’s a year-round responsibility to protect yourself from the sun, especially Ultraviolet radiation – a form of non-ionizing radiation, that is emitted by the sun. While it has its benefits for all of us, like Vitamin D, too much UV exposure can cause serious health risks, and it's crucial to understand how to protect yourself.

UV radiation is a tricky thing! While you can see the bright, shiny sun and feel the heat beaming on your skin, your senses are not able to detect UV radiation. So, you won’t notice any skin damage until it´s done. Furthermore, a common misunderstanding is, that the temperature is related to UV. Spoiler Alert – It’s not! UV levels can be just as damaging on cold and cloudy days, as it can on a sunny summer day. However, it is always highest between 10 am and 4 pm, while the temperature peaks in the afternoon when the UV levels are less intense.

UVA: A quick way to remember what UVA does to your body is to think of the A for Ageing. These rays are responsible for 95% of the ultraviolets rays that hits the surface of the earth. It penetrates deep into the lower layers of the skin (Dermis), and are the rays that cause skin-ageing, like wrinkles and age-spots. Way earlier than it needs to! The thing about UVA is that it´s intensity remains stable all year round and can penetrate hard materials like glass. So, if you want a young, healthy skin, you will have to protect yourself all year long with P20 SUNSCREEN with an SPF of at least 15 or higher.

UVB: Think B for Burning! UVB penetrates the upper layer of your skin (Epidermis) and is the reason for sunburns, tanning and worst of all, skin cancer. These rays and the intensity are only responsible for 5% of the ultraviolets rays that hits the surface of the earth and depends on the season, time of day, altitudes, and location. But as an extra bonus, they reflect off snow, sand, water, and other surfaces of the earth – and that increases your exposure. This means that you can just as easily get sunburned on your skiing trip in Norway, as you can on your beachy vacation to Thailand.

UVC: There is no quick way to remember what the C stands for in UVC. And luckily you don’t have to, as UVC radiation from the sun isn’t able to penetrate earth’s atmosphere. So, while UVC is the shortest and therefore the most dangerous of the three forms of UV, we are never at risk, as the UVC is completely absorbed by the ozone layer. However, this is not to say, that we don’t get exposed to UVC, as it is still present at earth through inorganic sources like older tanning beds, lasers etc.

So, how can you keep track of the daily UVA and UVB level? Enter The UV Index – a tool, developed by WHO, to determine how much UV radiation you are surrounded by. To identify the daily index, there are a variety of weather apps, that can guide you to the best precaution against UV radiation. Let’s break down the index:

  • Index 0-2: Low risk and protection is required- If you burn easily, cover up and use broad spectrum sunscreen. Wear sunglasses on bright days. UVA rays are present even when the UV index is low – remember to use a sun protection that includes UVA protection.
  • Index 3-5: Moderate risk and protection is required – Generously apply broad-spectrum sunscreen, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Stay in the shade during midday when the sun is strongest. When outdoor use a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Index 6-7: High risk and protection is required – Generously apply broad-spectrum sunscreen, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating. Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. When outdoor, seek shade, wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Index 8-10: Very high risk and protection is crucial – Generously apply broad-spectrum sunscreen, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating. Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. When outdoor, seek shade, wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Index 11+: Extreme high risk and protection is crucial – Generously apply broad-spectrum sunscreen, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating. Stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. When outdoor, seek shade, wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

The UV Index changes throughout the day and is usually strongest during midday. But it’s important to notice, that UV rays are always present, and we highly recommend that you use P20 sun protection every day, all year.

Something new under the sun

Travelling abroad

It’s not the destination itself that decides how much sunscreen you should use when traveling abroad – it’s much more the elements and nature of the earth, that control how to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. You can just as easily get sunburns and damaged skin at your next skiingtrip, as you can at the beach in Thailand. In short, if you are travelling near equator or at high altitudes, you are at an increased risk of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Something new under the sun

Chemical vs. mineral sunscreens

There is a misconception that mineral UV-filters are better for your skin than the chemical ones. They both provide protection against the different UV rays, but in very different ways. The mineral filters stays on top of the skin and provides a protective layer between the sun and your skin. Where as the chemical filters are absorbed by your skin and will reflect the UV rays.

The main difference is their ingredients. Mineral sun protection contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide whilst chemical sun protection includes organic and more active ingredients.

So, which one is better for you? Well, that depends on what you prefer. To help you tick off your box, we’ve put together a list of each characteristic for chemical and mineral sun protection:

• Typically, thicker in texture
• Non-cosmetic tint that might leave a white cast on the skin
• Do not penetrate below the top layers of the skin and increases the risk of the SPF being rubbed off
• Inorganic ingredients: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

• Typically, lighter in texture
• Invisible formulas that leave no white cast on the skin
• Penetrates the top layers of the skin and makes it more resistant to skin friction
• Organic ingredients

Something new under the sun

Inside on a sunny day

Whether you are in your car, using public transportation, in your office or at home, you are exposed to the damaging UVA rays. These can cause premature aging of the skin like wrinkles and pigmentation. The UVB rays are not able to penetrate glass and therefore can’t damage the skin in these situations, but the UVA rays penetrate glass and can create DNA damages in your skin that can cause this premature aging and increase the risk of other skin complications. Meaning it is crucial to use a broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen, and that you look for a protection with a high UVA protection factor. In EU it’s required that all sunscreens contains at least 1/3 of the SPF in UVA protection meaning that a SPF30 must contain at least a UVA PF of 10. However in P20 sunscreens the UVA PF is more than twice as high as EU requires – providing you with an optimal UVA protection.

Something new under the sun

Rain or shine

There is a common misconception that you only need sun protection when you’re chasing the sun on hot summer days. However, most skin damage, like wrinkles, premature ageing and redness happens every day all year due to harmful UVA rays. That means that your skin is damaged over a lifetime whether you burn or not, and it is important to stay protected every day.

But what if I wake up to a grey and cloudy day? Even on those days, when you can’t see or feel the sun, it’s always there. In fact, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds and cause skin damage – and worst of all passes through windows of your house or car. So, rain or shine – make sure to always stay protected.

Something new under the sun

Sun protection and Vitamin D

You know that we are supposed to get our vital Vitamin D from the ray of the sun – and you also know that we must use sunscreen to protect us from the ray of the sun. It sounds like a classic contradiction, right? How are we supposed to get our daily dose of Vitamin D, if we block it with sun protection?

You only need 10 minutes in the sun to obtain the right amount of Vitamin D and that doesn’t necessarily means lying face up in the sun, but rather that you spend time outside walking to the office, gardening, exercising etc. No sun protection blocks 100% of the rays, so it all adds up.

Something new under the sun

Make-up and skin care with SPF

You might have noticed that makeup and sun protection no longer is two separate concepts. There is a wonderful world of make-up with SPF out there, like moisturizers, foundations and even powders – but before you get ahead of yourself and think that you can skip sun protection just by applying your daily makeup routine, we must stop you. Makeup with SPF can’t replace regular, daily sun protection – and it shouldn’t. Why, you ask? Because the amount of makeup you apply to your skin is minimal and does not stand a chance to getting you the full SPF number your skin needs. That’s not to say that you get a little more protection with SPF makeup, but it is not strong enough to protect you on its own.

Something new under the sun

Pregnancy and skin

We will be the first to admit that the sweet waiting time can be filled with anticipation and worries, hence we all want to do what is best for our little ones. There has been a lot of discussion regarding whether sunscreens are safe to use during pregnancy. Your concern and awareness about ingredients often increase as there are a lot of different opinions and voices about this. But make no mistake, you absolutely must use sun protection while you’re both pregnant and breastfeeding. You might have your own favorite, but the most important aspect is that you use a broad-spectrum sun cream which offers protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Something new under the sun

Children in the sun

As a parent it’s a daily task to take precautions to protect your sweethearts – especially from the sun. The best advice is to keep children out of direct sunlight as studies shows that most of the sun damage suffered by our skin occurs before the age of 20.

But to prevent your toddler to play outside in the sun completely is just cruel. Therefore, it’s important to teach your children from an early age how to protect themselves in the sun – and hopefully it will help them develop good habits that can last a lifetime. Try to make the application more fun by getting creative. Here is a tip: Make them guess the picture you are drawing as you squeeze the sun cream onto their skin and tell them they can help ‘rub it out’. Or do a ‘Join the dots with the sun cream, letting them spread the cream from one dot to another.

However, sunscreen application is best avoided in infants less than 6 months as babies have a higher surface-area to body-weight ratio compared with older children, which can lead to a greater risk of an unwanted allergic reaction.