Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunscreens: Part 2

10 Important Sunscreen Facts
1. Modest sun exposure has positive benefits. UVB rays help the body produce Vitamin D to build healthy bones, boost immune function, help fight prostate cancer, assist in premenstrual syndrome, and provide a healthy outlook on life. A study in 2003 reported most Americans are undernourished in Vitamin D. Having said that, an eight-ounce serving of milk provides 100 IU of vitamin D.

2. The Academy of Dermatology states a sunscreen should be at least an SPF 15. The SPF number system is easy to figure out. Example: Rose feels a burning sensation without wearing sun protection after 10 minutes of sun exposure, her minimum erythemic dose. A sunscreen with an SPF15 will give her 150 minutes of expected protection (SPF15 x10 minutes = 150 minutes) providing she is not swimming and drying off the protection, or working out and sweating off the protection. The maximum exposure is 32 times your minimum erythemic dose, meaning that Rose needs to cover up or get out of the sun after 320 minutes, and stay out of the sun for at least 24 hours.

3. Sunscreens come in a variety of topical creams, gels, lotions, sprays, and sticks for hard to get at places, lips, eyes, nose.

4. SPF only indicates UVB protection, not UVA. UVB rays cause sunburns. UVA rays are the most deceiving. They are not responsible for a sunburn but are the sun's most destructive rays causing skin cancer, and the dreaded wrinkles . . . collagen beware!

5. Most sunscreens are synthesized and are not all compatible with each other, or with other ingredients in the product, so blending is a challenge. These organic, or chemical filters, act by absorbing the UVB and/or UVA energy and the higher concentrations needed to reach higher SPF can make them unacceptable by the skin.

6. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (preferred) are the most commonly used physical sun blocks that block and reflect UVA and UVB. The challenge with these inorganic blocks is to keep the product from being occlusive (too heavy) on the skin. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, may contain benzophenone or oxybenzone (benzophenone-3) and prevent sunburn by absorbing the ultraviolet UV rays.

7. A water-resistant product really suggests you could swim for 20 minutes and still have 50% of the claimed SPF protection. No matter what it says, or means, you need to reapply.

8. Sunscreen is the last product applied - always over a moisturizer, not under. The secret to layer applications is to wait a minute between layers, if you are working with good product you should never feel the build up on the skin.

9. Expiry dates must be followed as the chemicals do break down. Sunscreens are usually kept in warm places during the course of a day causing an acceleration in deterioration.

10. Sunscreen should be used 365 days a year in all weather related activities. It is a fact that snow has a reflection of up to 80% of the sun's rays. Always bear in mind, your skin has a perfect memory. Accumulative exposure adds up to a lifetime of damage if you aren't careful.

Next Posts: Recommended Sunscreens. Check Back!