WELL BEING: Sunscreen

10 Jul

Sunscreen is definitely a necessity during the Summer in Texas.  The longest days of the year are here and the sun is hot as blue blazes.

Sunscreen is essential for protecting our skin from sun damage and accelerated skin aging.

SPF means Sun Protection Factor.  Dermatologists suggest choosing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more depending upon the amount of sun exposure we are getting.  People who spend more time in outdoor activities would do well with an SPF 30 to get better skin protection from the sun.

These days, even cosmetic companies are aware of the need for sun protection so that many skin moisturizers and foundations come custom made with SPF included.  I recently bought a sunscreen specifically made for the face that has an SPF of 100.  This seems a bit extreme but it may very well be an excellent insurance policy for your skin.

Be sure to choose a waterproof sunscreen that’s labeled “broad spectrum”.  This means it guards the skin against  UVB (ultraviolet-B) as well as UVA (ultraviolet-A). Broad spectrum sunscreen is better in every respect because ultraviolet-B radiations cause sunburns and skin cancer while ultraviolet-A radiations are responsible for wrinkles and skin cancer. Some sun protection products only protect against ultraviolet-B rays.  Both UVA and UVB radiations are dangerous so it is always best to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen.

Broad spectrum sunscreen contains Octocrylene (also called cinnamate), zinc oxide and benzophenones. All three of these chemicals have UVA and UVB absorbing properties. When applied to the skin it blocks the radiations and keeps the skin protected.

“Welcome evidence suggests that more people are becoming aware about the dangers of UVA and UVB rays, but there are still too many ignoring the advice and taking unnecessary risks by underestimating the potential harm.” says Ray Richardson, Technical Operations Director for Calypso sun care products.

Ray Richardson offers these tips:

  • Put on enough sunscreen. The recommended application for adequate protection is 35 to 40ml per person per session (a handful). “So someone may think they are applying SPF15, say, but if they don’t use the correct amount then it may only be equivalent to SPF8,” says Richardson.
  • Budget brands are just as effective as the more expensive brands.
  • Apply correctly. Sunscreen should be applied to clean, dry skin 30 minutes before exposure to the sun which allows it time to absorb properly.
  • Take time out in the shade between 11 am and 3 pm when them sun is strongest, but still apply sunscreen because sand, concrete and water can reflect harmful rays.
  • Reapply. Perspiration, exercise, swimming and towel-drying removes sun creams from the skin so you should reapply after taking part in any of these activities, even if the product is waterproof.
  • Everyday use of sun lotions on your face and back of the hands will limit the chances of developing dry leathery skin, wrinkles, mottling and other signs of premature aging and skin cancer.
  • Cover up in the sun with loose cotton clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Overcast weather still requires sunscreen in Summer because 80% of ultraviolet radiation is still present on cloudy days.
  • Children and babies need greater protection so use specially formulated kids ranges with gentler ingredients and higher SPFs.
  • Select a sunscreen if it has Sun Protection Factor that is SPF more than 15, broad spectrum and waterproof.

Send questions and comments to lynnvannoy@gmail.com or visit http://www.lynnvannoy.com

The information in this column is not intended as medical advice. Its intention is solely informational and educational.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: