Skin conditions and sun exposure


The sun sustains life and vital Vitamin D that we can’t live without. But as healthy and vital the sun is, it can also be your worst skin-enemy. While every sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer, leathery skin, dark spots, and wrinkles, it’s not just a sunny day at the beach that can cause trouble. Each time you’re outside in the sun without sun protection, it will add to the damage. And that is all year.

It’s the law of nature that we are all born with skin conditions like birthmarks and freckles. Some more than others – but as we grow older the conditions will increase to moles, stretchmarks, scar tissue and skin pigmentation. And continuous exposure to UV light may spur cells to become cancerous, which applies for everyone. No one is exempt, but people with sensitive skin, fair hair and blue or green eyes have a history of repeated sunburns and skin damage.

To guide you through the most common skin conditions we have developed a cheat sheet to help you understand how to protect yourself.

#1 Birthmarks and moles: The small coloured dots that can be found all over your body is either birthmarks or moles. They are essentially the same, but the main difference is that birthmarks is present at birth and moles develops over time. Most moles are completely non-dangerous and non-cancerous and comes in many shapes and forms: Brown, black, hairy, raised, large, small. But just like the rest of your skin, it’s oh-so important to protect your moles and birthmarks, as they can be damaged by prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays, which can lead to skin cancer.

Broad Spectrum sun protection like P20 SENSITIVE SKIN, will give you up to 10 hours triple protection all 365 days a year.

#2 Freckles: If you have freckles, you might have noticed that whenever the sun is out, your freckles are much more visible. The small, dark spots are skin cells that has produced extra pigmentation and are activated by sun exposure. Typically, people with the freckle gene (MC1R) have pale skin, but every human, regardless of skin colour, can be born with freckles.

Freckles serves a purpose, as they, in a way, act like sunscreens and naturally blocks the UV rays from penetrating deeper layers of the skin. But that must not fool you – if you have freckles, the UVA and UVB rays can still damage your skin, and you shouldn’t hesitate to use sun protection. Some people don’t mind their freckles, but others prefer to minimize them – especially in the face – due to the appearance of irregularities in their skin tone.

A great way to protect your freckles is with P20 SENSITIVE FACE SPF 50+, which provides you with an all-day broad spectrum sun cream formulated specifically to protect face and neck from UV induced skin damage.

#3 Depigmentation and sunspots: They can occur due to hormonal changes, like pregnancy or aging – but in general will extended sun exposure accelerate the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for your skin colour) and cause sunspots. Most people want to prevent them forming throughout the summer. If you feel this way, you must practice the right protection techniques, and sunscreen is (stating the obvious) of great importance. Exposing your skin to the sun, getting a tan or a sunburn, will undoubtedly bring out depigmentation or sunspots. And if you are serious in your quest to prevent them from appearing you must wear sun protection every day and apply it generously and consistently.

We recommend applying at least a handful of P20 SENSITIVE FACE SPF 50+ to your face alone. And if your neck, chest, arms, and legs are exposed, apply P20 to those areas as well.

#4 Stretchmarks: There is a misconception that sun can reduce stretchmarks. This is false! A stretchmark is the result from the skin rapidly expanding to make room for extra weight, such as growth spurs, pregnancy and rapid weight gain and loss. If you get them, they are not preventable, and there is no certain way to make them go away again. The best way to reduce the appearance is to use sun protection, as they tend to fade from a deep red to a less noticeable colour by protecting your skin from sun damage. Contrary, the rays of the sun can weaken the skin and cause the stretchmarks to look worse.

Applying P20 ORIGINAL SPF 30 or 50+ sunscreen gives you a transparent formulation that is fast drying and sweat-resistant, so your stretchmarks stay protected.

#5 Scar tissue: Many people do not realize that scar tissue can take up to 18-24 months to heal, as well as the pink / red color from a fresh scar to subside. If you expose your scar too much to UV exposure, it will lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can cause the scar to go from pink to brown. And that can last for years.

Covering your scars is the obvious way to protect them from too much sun but as all P20 products delivers a broad-spectrum UVA- and UVB-protection it will give your scars the best protection. Even when it’s a cloudy day.

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.

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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

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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 SPF 30 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.


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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 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.

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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 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.

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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.