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Skin expert's top 5 sun protection tips
Most of us love spending time in the sun and if we enjoy the sun in reasonable amounts, it can give us many health benefits. However, overexposure to UV radiation can cause not only painful reddish skin, but also longer-lasting effects such as premature aging of the skin and deep wrinkles and brown spots.
Excessive sunbathing can also lead to various forms of skin cancer. To protect yourself from the harmful sun rays, there are several things to consider, we have listed our 5 best sun protection tips!
No. 1 – Choose the right sunscreen

Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation that has high to very high protection, i.e. SPF 30-50+. Sunscreens that also provide good protection against UVA radiation will have a UVA symbol (the letters UVA in a circle) on the packaging. In addition, we recommend choosing a photostable sunscreen which means that it does not lose its effect when you are in the sun (read more about photostable sunscreens here).

Do your skin a favor by choosing a product that doesn't contain perfume. Many perfumes are allergenic substances and its effects can be intensified when exposed to direct sunlight.

No. 2 – Choose the right sun protection factor

To get the right protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the UV index in your area - depending on what level it is, you can choose a higher or lower sunscreen. The UV index is an international standard used to measure how intense (i.e. harmful) the UV rays are in a given place and at a given time. The picture below shows what the UV index is normally like in Sweden.

Figure 1. UV index variation with season, weather and time of day, the higher the index value the stronger the UV radiation you are exposed to.

During the summer season, the UV index in Scandinavian countries is usually between 4-7 and during the winter below 2. At a low UV index (below 2) there is no need to use sunscreen, but at a higher UV index (between 4-7) the risks of negative effects from radiation increase and you need to protect yourself.

A general recommendation is to use high to very high sun protection (SPF 30-50+) daily if you are outdoors during the summer months (late March to October) as the UV index is highest during this time.

Gör vårt solskyddstest här för mer info om val av solskydd.

No 3 - Application

To get the protection promised on the packaging, you need to apply the sunscreen in an even andthick layerand also reapply at regular intervals, especially if you have been swimming or exercising. How often you need to do this depends on how active you are and how much the product rubs off, but as a rule it is good to reapply every two hours and especially after swimming. Below is our recommendation on how much to apply for face and body.


To make sure you get the protection it says on the packet, apply more than you normally would. As much as 30-40 ml should be applied to the body to get full protection. And how much is 30-40 ml? That's about as much cream as will fit in your cupped hand.


When it comes to the face, over 1-2ml of sunscreen is the way to go. The vast majority of us take too little sunscreen for the face so bear in mind that you need to take much more than what might feel right to get the protective effect. So slather it on properly, better too much than too little!

No 4 - Keep track of different sunscreen filters

What protects in a sunscreen are different types of filters that are usually divided into organic (chemical) and mineral (physical) filters. Many people use organic filters because they provide a more comfortable and better product to apply, as they do not give the white slightly sticky skin on the skin that products with high levels of mineral filters can give.

From a skin perspective, the mineral filters titanium dioxide and zinc oxide may be preferable because they do not penetrate (pass through) the skin. Therefore, the body is less likely to react to mineral filters. It is partly because of the low risk of allergies that mineral filters are often used for children and people with sensitive skin. However, the cosmetic effect can be of concern as mineral filters can leave a white film on the skin.

However, the new and most modern organic filters consist of larger molecules that also have a very low tendency to penetrate the skin. For these substances, the advantages of the organic and mineral filters have been combined, i.e. they provide a nice product to apply while being large enough to stay on the outside of our skin. Our view is therefore that the best sunscreen product, which provides the best protection and the best product to apply, is one that contains a combination of modern organic filters and the mineral filters zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Among the organic filters, we believe that the older generation from substances should be avoided, as they have a smaller molecular size and can penetrate the skin. The older generation of filters are more likely to cause allergies and skin problems, and in some cases their levels have been measured in urine, indicating absorption and endocrine disrupting effects. They have also been shown in many cases to have a negative impact on the environment.

To find out what is what, look for the following in the INCI list of the product:

Examples of new modern organic UV filters (INCI) that we recommend are: Bis-Ethylhexyoxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Tris Biphenyl Triazine, Ethylene-bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol Disodium Phenyl Dibenzimidazole Tetrasulfonate.

Names of the older generation organic UV filters (INCI) that should be avoided: Benzophenone-3, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Octocrylene, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, Ethylhexyl Dimethyl PABA

Mineral filters in sunscreens we recommend (INCI): Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide.

Our advice is also to choose sunscreen products from from European companies developed for the European market, as they tend to use newer versions of UV filters that are better from from a skin and health perspective. The FDA, which regulates the use of UV filters in the US, has not yet approved many of the European variants, so US companies tend to still use the older filters. If you are interested in the environmental impact of different UV filters, you can read more here.

#5 – Dress to protect!

Clothing is the first line of defense against the sun. How do different items of clothing affect how well you are protected? Here are some ground rules:

Dark clothes - black and navy blue, absorb more UV rays than lighter colors like white and pastels. For example, a plain white cotton t-shirt provides an SPF of only about 10.
As a rule of thumb - the more intense the shade, the better protection the clothing will provide.

Material: Like color, the material and texture of your clothing can affect how well it protects you from UV rays. Synthetic and semi-synthetic fibers like polyester or rayon are the best choices for sun protection, as are dense, heavy, tightly woven fabrics like wool, denim or corduroy. At the opposite end of the spectrum are lightweight fabrics (such as refined cotton), which tend to be thinner and thus allow more light to pass through. Example:

  • Shirt (denim) SPF 1700
  • Blouse 100% viscose: SPF: 15
  • T-shirt 100% cotton: SPF 10

Size: It is quite obvious that the more skin you cover, the better you are protected. It can be easy to forget that the same goes for hats! The best hats for sun protection have a wide brim (3 inches or more). Don't forget to wear sunglasses and feel free to use a pair of sturdy sunglasses with wide lenses that cover your eyes, eyelids and as much of the surrounding areas as possible.

Loose fit: A loose-fitting shirt provides better SPF than a tight one.