Gradual action and protection are two key points of sun exposure. Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of Dermatology at Humanitas, guest at Cuore and Denari on Radio 24, spoke about this topic.

“When exposed to the sun, it is absolutely necessary to avoid the appearance of sunburn, i.e. a reddening of the skin that usually goes hand in hand with itching and sometimes also involves superficial desquamation.

It was found that the number of sunburns during childhood and adolescence is directly proportional to the incidence of melanoma, the most frequent skin cancer. The total sun dose affects skin aging and the appearance of small histologically malignant but clinically benign tumors, such as basaliomas and squamous-cell epitheliomas,” explains the specialist.


The cream must have a high protective factor

“In addition to avoiding exposure to the sun at the middle of the day, it is important to apply sun protection with a high protection factor from the outset. It should also be noted that the protection we read on the tube is determined by applying 2 mg of cream per cm², a quantity for which we would consume one tube of cream every two days. We can generally apply between 25 and 50% of the required quantity.

There is no direct relationship between the amount of cream and the protection, but the relationship is exponential, so it has been calculated that using a cream with protection 50, we protect between 6 and 8. Applying a high protection cream does not therefore mean not sunbathing (but rather tanning is more durable), but it means avoiding sunburn and thus protecting yourself from the risk of melanoma,” explains Professor Costanzo.


The characteristics of the cream

“The protective cream must also defend against UVA rays. If before it was thought that only UVB rays were responsible for tanning and damage to cells, now we know that – through free oxygen radicals – even ultraviolet A can induce an increase in the incidence of skin tumors and aging of the skin,” recommends Prof. Costanzo.


Watch the Facebook Cuore and Denari live on Radio 24 from minute 31: