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 its 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 its 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 cool 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 its 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 no protection is required, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world not wearing sun protection outside.
  • Index 3-5: Moderate risk and protection is required – Slop on P20 Suncare in the morning and hang around outside with no regrets.
  • Index 6-7: High risk and protection is required – Slop on P20 Suncare with a minimum of SPF 30, slap on a brimmed hat, slide on your sunglasses and seek shade from the sun.
  • Index 8-10: Very high risk and protection is crucial – Start the day with a SPF 50 and continuously reapply the slopping during midday and evening. Slap on a brimmed hat – it does not matter that it doesn’t match today’s outfit, as long as you wear your supercool sunglasses and stay clear of direct sunlight.
  • Index 11+: Extreme high risk and protection is crucial – Stay inside or at least stay clear of direct sunlight. If you must go outside, remember to slop, slap and slide from head-to-toe.

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.

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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.

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Chemical vs. mineral sunscreens

There is a plot going on! A mean plot and comparison against mineral and physical sunscreens. And to be fair, it doesn’t really make sense as they are completely different products. Neither are better or worse than the other as they do the exact same thing – protecting your skin! It’s like comparing a P20 spray to a P20 lotion; same idea, different execution. It’s a search for the one that a better fit for your skin rather than a debate.

The main difference, however, 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

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Inside on a rainy day

Picture this; A rainy day, you’re off work and the only reasonable thing to do, is spend the day on the couch with your favorite comfort food binging your favorite show on Netflix. Doesn’t that sound like a perfectly relaxing day? However, when daylight gets a little shorter and the air a little colder, sun protection tends to fall quite low on your daily bucket list of skin care priorities. And do we, quite frankly, need a skin protector if the day only offers a movie marathon? The answer is YES!

Though you may not need the heavy stuff like SPF 50, you want a broad-spectrum protection (UVA and UVB) due to UV rays passing through your window. That my friend, causes hyperpigmentation and premature ageing to your skin, which is the main reason why you need to protect yourself – even when the day is lazy.

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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, cloudy, and windy day – you know, that kind of day, where you wear many layers of clothing to keep warm. Yes, my friend – even when you can’t see or feel the sun, it is 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.

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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.

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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.

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Pregnancy and skin

We will be the first to admit that the list of things that are off limits during pregnancy is endlessly long. For nine months you must skip all the good stuff like sushi, coffee, and alcohol – but we promise you, that it’s all worth it in the end. The list also includes a variety of skincare products. 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 with a SPF of 30 or higher.

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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.