What you need to know about sunscreen

       
April 22nd, 2011 | Contributed by:

What you need to know about sunscreenMost of you know that you should always wear sunscreen (whether or not you actually do is another matter entirely). But there are other things to keep in mind as you apply before heading out the door, and they could make the difference in your overall sun protection.

New York City dermatologist Robert J. Friedman told Glamour that beyond a certain level, more SPF won't really help you. "Once you go higher than SPF 50, there's not much difference," he told the publication. Glamour recommends SPF 30 with ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl.

Beyond SPF, it's also imperative to look for sunscreen that offers full-spectrum protection. A good product won't just be effective against UVA or UVB rays alone – it'll be able to protect you against both.

Last but not least, be sure you're not neglecting any body parts when you're putting on your sunscreen, and do be sure to reapply when necessary. You wouldn't believe how many people forget their feet, hands or the tops of their ears, but it's worth it to stay vigilant.

       

One Response to “What you need to know about sunscreen”

  1. Marie says:

    Reading your blog I find it interesting that the new information that has been coming out over the past year is completely ignored. The truth about tanning whether outside or inside is the risk is miniscule as the report below states, according to Dr. Ivan Oransky ~

    This is a guest post from Ivan Oransky, M.D., editor of Reuters Health and AHCJ’s treasurer, has written at my invitation.
    May has been declared “Melanoma Awareness Month” or “Skin Cancer Awareness Month“ – depending on which group is pitching you – and reporters are doubtlessly receiving press releases and announcements from a number of groups, including the Melanoma Research Foundation, the Skin Cancer Foundation, hospitals, doctors and other organizations.
    Those press releases often point to the World Health Organization, which reports that “use of sunbeds before the age of 35 is associated with a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma” – a statistic often repeated in news stories about tanning beds.
    But what does that really mean? Is it 75 percent greater than an already-high risk, or a tiny one? If you read the FDA’s “Indoor Tanning: The Risks of Ultraviolet Rays,” or a number of other documents from the WHO and skin cancer foundations, you won’t find your actual risk.
    That led AHCJ member Hiran Ratnayake to look into the issue in March for The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, after Delaware passed laws limiting teens’ access to tanning salons. The 75 percent figure is based on a review of a number of studies, Ratnayake learned. The strongest such study was one that followed more than 100,000 women over eight years.
    But as Ratnayake noted, that study “found that less than three-tenths of 1 percent who tanned frequently developed melanoma while less than two-tenths of 1 percent who didn’t tan developed melanoma.” That’s actually about a 55 percent increase, but when the study was pooled with others, the average was a 75 percent increase. In other words, even if the risk of melanoma was 75 percent greater than two-tenths of one percent, rather than 55 percent greater, it would still be far below one percent.
    For some perspective on those numbers, Ratnayake interviewed Lisa Schwartz, M.D.,M.S., whose work on statistical problems in studies and media reports is probably familiar to many AHCJ members. “Melanoma is pretty rare and almost all the time, the way to make it look scarier is to present the relative change, the 75 percent increase, rather than to point out that it is still really rare,” Schwartz, a general internist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction, Vt., told him.
    In a nutshell, the difference between skin doctors’ point of view and Schwartz’s is the difference between relative risk and absolute risk. Absolute risk just tells you the chance of something happening, while relative risk tells you how that risk compares to another risk, as a ratio. If a risk doubles, for example, that’s a relative risk of 2, or 200 percent. If it halves, it’s .5, or 50 percent. Generally, when you’re dealing with small absolute risks, as we are with melanoma, the relative risk differences will seem much greater than the absolute risk differences. You can see how if someone is lobbying to ban something – or, in the case of a new drug, trying to show a dramatic effect – they would probably want to use the relative risk.
    This is not an argument for or against tanning beds. It’s an argument for clear explanations of the data behind policy decisions. For some people, the cosmetic benefits of tanning beds – and the benefit of vitamin D, for which there are, of course, other sources – might be worth a tiny increase in the risk of melanoma. For others, any increased risk of skin cancer is unacceptable. (And of course, for the tanning industry, the benefits can be measured in other ways – dollars.) But if reporters leave things at “a 75 percent increase,” you’re not giving your readers the most important information they need to judge for themselves.
    So when you read a study that says something doubles the risk of some terrible disease, ask: Doubles from what to what?

    Sunblocks are a dangerous product, according to the Environmental Working Group in Washington of 500+ studied only 39 rate as safe. 41% of all SPF lotions contain a form of Vitamin A which is known to cause skin lesions and tumors. As a Grandmother I will not put any of these lotions on my Grandson. I have found some that are much safer through the internet or at my local health food store.

    EWG report on Oxybenzone which is in almost all SPF lotions.
    According to the EWG, there are several suspected dangers associated with Oxybenzone. Despite its sun protective abilities, it has been shown to penetrate the skin and cause photo-sensitivity. As a photocarcinogen, it’s demonstrated an increase in the production of harmful free radicals and an ability to attack DNA cells; for this reason, it is believed to be a contributing factor in the recent rise of melanoma cases with sunscreen users. Some studies have shown it to behave similarly to the hormone estrogen, suggesting that it may cause breast cancer. It has also been linked to contact eczema.

    In addition, there exist many concerns regarding the human body’s percutaneous absorption of Oxybenzone. In one study, individuals applied a sunscreen with 4% Oxybenzone and submitted urine samples 5 days after topical application. All the subjects’ urine secretions were found to contain Oxybenzone, suggesting the body’s ability to store the substance. In 2008, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention conducted a similar experiment on a national scale, and found the chemical compound to be present in 96.8% of the human urine samples surveyed. As a result, it is recommended that parents keep their small children from using products containing the ingredient. This is based on the assertion that children under the age of 2 have not fully developed the enzymes that are required to break down derivatives of Oxybenzone.

    Though a fair amount scientific evidence points to the adverse effects of Oxybenzone, additional tests are required before making any definite conclusions.

    I hope you find this interesting. In my research I have also found out that outdoor workers who receive 3-9 times the UV light exposure have not had a increase in cancer incidence since 1940!! However, cancer for inside workers is rising. If the sun it the problem then the outside workers should have the increase. Tanning, indoors or outdoors can produce 10,000 to 20,000 units of Vitamin D in a 10 minute full body exposure. We are made to get our Vitamin D this way and this vitamin which is really a hormone can protect us from 16 cancers and 25 chronic illnesses according to the Health Research Forum. We have been scared out of the sun and cancer rates don’t get any better ~ I will take my chances with common sense, moderate sun exposure on a regular basis to protect me from illness!!

    Remember there is no money or patents on Sunlight, it’s free, but there is lots of money involved in sun protection!!

    Interesting websites: http://www.healthresearchforum.org.uk/sunlight.html
    Dr. Michael Horlick – http://www.naturalnews.com/rr-sunlight.html
    Dr. Marc Sorenson – http://www.vitaminddoc.com/ (This book changed my life and made me realize that we are being lied to regarding sun and health)

Leave a Response

$5 off with your first order of $50