Sun is the source of light and warmth that humans need to live and thrive. It undoubtedly benefits the human body, since -among others- it ensures the synthesis of vitamin D, promotes well-being, enhances good mood and contributes to the improvement of certain skin conditions. On the other hand, excessive and prolonged sun exposure has adverse effects, which can be noticed in the short, medium or long term, including sunburn, heat strokes, dehydration, photosensitivity, solar erythema, pigmentation patches, photoaging, skin disorders or even skin cancers. In other words, while the sun is essential, it can also be dangerous, emphasizing the need for caution!
Factors affecting the intensity of solar radiation
Solar radiation reaching the ground consists of 3 types: direct solar radiation, diffuse radiation from the sky and reflected radiation from the ground. However, the intensity of these radiations can be influenced by several factors:
Latitude: In the tropical zone, where the rays of the sun are vertical, exposure to UV radiation is at its maximum. Conversely, the erythemal effect of UVB radiation decreases by 5 times as we move from the tropics to northern Europe.
Season: Solar radiation is 100 times more erythemogenic in summer compared to winter.
Altitude: Every 300 meters of altitude, UVB energy increases by 4%. At an elevation of 3,000 meters, the intensity of the same radiation, at the same latitude and time of the day is 40% greater than at sea level.
Time: The angle of the sun varies according to time. The higher the sun is, the thinner the atmosphere the rays pass through. Between 12:00 and 17:00, approximately 60% of a day’s UVB reaches the Earth’s surface.
Humidity: Dry weather leads to greater radiation intensity, as it can reach the skin directly. In humid conditions, radiation is refracted and scattered by water droplets suspended in the atmosphere.
Reflection: Reflected radiation is a significant component of total radiation; thus, it should be taken into serious consideration. White surfaces (e.g., snow, sails, surfboards, white walls or floors) reflect 85% of radiant energy, sand 15-30%, water 5-20%, while grass and gray asphalt reflect only 3%.
To counteract the adverse effects of solar radiation, our epidermis possesses various defense mechanisms. These include hair growth, the stratum corneum (which modifies the progression of radiation), surface lipids (that contribute to filtering UVB), thickening of the skin (hyperkeratosis) and pigmentation (a complex process leading to the synthesis of melanin, a natural photoprotective agent). However, the human body is not fully protected when relying only on its natural defense mechanisms. Careful and gradual exposure to the sun in combination with external photoprotection, i.e., sunscreens, is crucial for everyone, regardless of the season.
Especially during this period, when the skin has not yet adapted to sun exposure, the use of a sunscreen with high SPF protection is necessary.
Choose Sun Protection Milk for face & body SPF50 with olive oil & aloe vera. It is a velvet, non-greasy milk for the effective sun protection of the entire family. It strengthens the skin’s defense against radiation, protecting it from sunburns and the factors causing photo-aging, while helping to maintain a normal moisture level, offering silky softness.
Another excellent summer companion -especially for post-sun exposure skin care and treatment- is Aloe Vera Gel with olive oil & camomile. Enriched with bioactive aloe, it cools, soothes, moisturizes and cares for dry, dehydrated or damaged skin, contributing to its recovery.
Enjoy the sun responsibly and stay protected with the help of OLIVE.ELIA sun care products. Have a fantastic summer!