Posts Tagged ‘sun’

I’d like to make my annual plea for the liberal use of sunscreen to protect all of us, young and old from the damaging effects of the sun.

Please understand that the “healthy” bronze tan color that many people seek is actually how the skin demonstrates that it has been damaged by the sun.

The sun produces two types of invisible light. One is ultraviolet A, which is the ray that produces a tan but causes skin damage and aging — think wrinkles and “old age” skin spots. The other is ultraviolet B, which causes the uncomfortable sunburn. Both types can cause skin cancer, especially the deadly melanoma.

This year in the U.S., there will be about 76,000 new cases of melanoma, with about 9,000 deaths. These statistics can be reduced significantly by protecting our skin from the sun.

The damaging rays from the sun are most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

These are my suggestions:

– Always start the summer season with a new, fresh tube of sunscreen. Price has nothing to do with performance.

– Use a sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30. Higher than 50 is probably not necessary.

– A sunscreen should be labeled “broad spectrum,” protecting against both UVA and UVB, and should be water and sweat resistant.

– Use at least 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) for your entire body, and apply liberally to the face, ears and neck.

– Don’t overlook applying to feet, the back of the neck and bald spots.

– Apply at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and every two hours thereafter — more frequently if swimming or sweating profusely.

– Avoid using sunscreen sprays on children, as they can inhale the chemical ingredients. Use the lotion form only.

– Whenever possible, wear light-colored, tightly knit clothing and brimmed hats while in the sun.

– Avoid tanning salons, where damage similar to the effects of the sun can be done to the skin.

A sunscreen that has always been a favorite of mine, and one just recently highly recommended by Consumer Reports Magazine, is a brand called NO-AD. This product comes with an SPF of either 30 or 45 and is probably the cheapest sunscreen product on the shelves.

Enjoy your outdoor summer activities, but do yourselves — and especially your children — a favor by protecting your skin and theirs from both damage and cancer by properly using a good sunscreen product.


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Summer is here, and many of us are exposed to an abundance of sunshine. I’d like to explain how we can best avoid the harmful effects of the sun.

We all know the sun provides visible light to our earth, but it also produces invisible light called ultraviolet rays, of which there are two types. Ultraviolet A causes skin aging and skin cancer, not visual sunburn. Ultraviolet B is what causes the traditional sunburn. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Some people are more sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun. Those who have blond or red hair, light-colored skin and light-colored eyes will get sunburn more quickly than those with darker skin and eyes.

Sunlight damages the skin in the same manner as a heat burn, causing symptoms ranging from a first-degree red, hot, painful burn to a second-degree burn that causes blisters and deeper damage to the skin. Unprotected long-term exposure to sunlight will cause wrinkling of the skin, with the appearance of premature aging. The most serious result of sun damage is the increased chance of developing a deadly skin cancer called melanoma.

The best protection against damage caused by the sun is to keep your skin covered by clothing to the greatest extent possible. Wear light-colored, tightly woven clothing. If this is impractical, then a sunscreen lotion is necessary.

Sunscreens are rated by a code called SPF, sun protection factor, which you will see on the label of all sunscreens. It rates how long a person can be in the sun without being burned. There is no proof that SPF ratings higher than 30 give any measurable benefit. Most sunscreens now protect against both UVA and UVB, but check the label before you buy a sunscreen lotion.

I also recommend buying new sunscreen at the beginning of each summer, as last year’s might have lost its potency.

Proper application is the key to success. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. Use about 1 teaspoon per body part, such as the face, an arm or a leg. Use a total of about 2 tablespoons (comparable to what would fill a shot glass) to cover the body when wearing a bathing suit.

Most sunscreen lotions are labeled either “waterproof” or “water-resistant.” Even these must be reapplied after swimming, towel drying or heavy sweating. Read the directions on the label.

Apply the sunscreen to all exposed body parts, especially those often overlooked, such as tops of ears and feet, the back of the neck, the face and bald spots.

In summary, remember the following recommendations:

**Avoid sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

**Always wear sunscreen, and reapply frequently — every two to three hours, or more often if your skin gets wet from swimming or sweating. One application in the morning will not protect you through the whole day.

**Keep yourself covered with light-colored, tightly knit clothing as much as possible.

**Avoid tanning salons.

**See your doctor if you have a sunburn and experience unbearable pain or significant blistering.

**Check your skin (all areas) regularly for any unusual dark lesions.

**Protect your eyes with UV-rated sunglasses.

Have a healthy, happy summer!

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