You don't have to be a skin doctor to be aware of the importance of protecting yourself from extreme UV ray light that can break down your skin's elasticity and youthfulness, whether through protective clothing or application of sunscreen.
We are told that sunlight provides vitamin D and that it is essential for maintaining bone health and protecting the skin from cancer. But altogether, we are also told to wear sunscreens to protect our skin and as with everything in life, moderation is the key, and sun exposure is not an exception.
Clearly, the application of sunscreen is a controversial issue.
So how can we use both conflicting advice in our skincare sense to protect our skin everyday. We can start by learning about sunscreen benefits. Sunscreen can do many things for your skin, like protecting it from sunburn, moles, aging, thickened skin, hyperpigmentation, darkspots.
Below is a Q & A i have put together to help you solve your "skin-care sunscreen dilemma".
Is it okay to sunbath without protection in the bright sunlight?
Some would say is okay to be in the sun because the sun is safe and will provide a good tan. But what they are frogetting to tell you is that there is no such thing as a safe tan. All tanning is a problem. Not protecting your skin from the sun especially at midday is damaging to skin. Some of us think sun damage occurs from baking in the sun and getting a deep dark tan. That is only part of the cake. Sun damage begins the moment we decide to go out into the sun during the day; sun rays can cause damage when you sit too close to a windows without tints or blinds. (At least 40% to 50% of the sun ray's penetrate cloud cover).
When the skin turns any shade that is darker than your skin color, whether your skin is light or dark, that is a very sign of defense against sun damage by the skin. It may look nice but it means more harm to your skin than you realize. Because what's happening, is that the melanocytes skin cells produce more melanin when the skin is in the sun without protection, and that is why some parts of your body is turned dark-----the result is tanned. (Melancytes are skin cells that contain the brown-colored protein called melanin. These brown skin cells determine a person's natural skin tone. The amount of melanin produced by the body is the only differentiating factor between a light skin tone and a dark skin tone. I guess that's why some darker tone tropical people can stay in the sun wearing cocoa butter or coconut cream without feeling the need to put on sunscreen. But Dark skin can suffer negative effects from too much daylight sun, the damage can range from wrinkles, change in skin color, mottled skin, thickened skin, blemishes---all such of dark pigmentation. But the most detrimental aspect of the daylight sun-ray is that it can cause damage to collagen structure, langerhans cells (cells and structure that protect the skin from cell mutation) and cut off skin's normal blood flow that helps keep skin elastic, youthful.
what time of the day should you stay out of the sun? Avoid the midday sun. Although, getting some sun in the morning and at dawn is beneficial for maintaining a healthy skin; you do not have to sun bath to get your daily vitamin D sun essentials. Sun bathing for longer than 30-45minutes can cause detrimental damage at the cellular layers of the skin, and could significantly age your skin as well as negatively affect your immune. (Too much heat from midday sunlight cause fatigue, dehydration, headaches---migraine, weakness--dizziness)
What is the best time of the day to go outdoor? The sun is best for the skin before 10a.m in the morning and after 4:30p.m in the evening. You can get enough vitamin D with as little as 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun on bare arms and legs. If you feel your skin seriously stinging or turning reddish dark----get out of the sun or apply some broad-spectrum sunscreen and re-apply every two (2) hours. Using the right kind of moisturizer and sun protection is key in protecting the skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays.
what are the different kinds of UVray light? There are UVA and UVB rays from the sun; Both rays can cause premature aging of the skin tissues.
What does UVA and UVB mean to you ?
UVB – Ultra Violet B rays reach earth from the sun and penetrate the upper layers of our skin, causing our skin to burn.
UVA – Ultra Violet A rays can penetrate the deeper layers of our skin, causing visible signs of aging with wrinkles, sun spots and loss of elasticity.
Hint: UVA and UVB are most potent at the hour when the sun rays is strongest; between 10a.m and 3p.m; be sure to stay out of the sun at this midday hour of the day or wear some sunscreen, hat, clothing and sunscreen that will effectively block the direct effects of the sun ray from your skin.
Alert: UVA radiation/rays can cause sunburn, but UVA rays is far more insidious and can cause premature aging and skin damage.
When a sunscreen label says“Broad Spectrum” sunscreen what does this mean to you? It means it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Some dermatologists recommend selecting a broad spectrum sunscreen, rather than simply focusing on the SPF number. Finding a non toxic sunscreen is easier than ever now. After doing my research, i find that“ Broad Spectrum” sunscreens that provide both UVB and UVA protection is best because it will help you reduce your risk for melanoma (skin cancer).
But understand that labeling on sunscreens can be misleading. If the label says "protects from UVA and UVB radiation" but you don't see titanium dioxide or zinc oxide listed as one of the active ingredients in the product, the sunscreen will not provide adequate protection from skin cancer and premature aging caused by harsh sunlight, despite the product claim. According to Paula Begoun, "the reason some product label can say this even when they don't contain the pertinent ingredients mentioned is because of technicality. Sunscreen formulations without UVA-protecting ingredients do block a small portion of the sun's UVA rays, it's just insufficient. Yes, you do get some UVA protection with most sunscreen formulations, but not enough to really protect you from skin damage, skin cancer, and wrinkles. So when the product states you'll be protected from UVA and UVB rays," it isn't exactly lying even though it doesn't contain avobensone, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. But it isn't telling the whole truth, either".
The FDA has not established any guideline or measurement when it comes to UVA protection; the only way the consumer can obtain any information is to check the active ingredients list on the label. Be sure to check the label and choose a protective nontoxic sunscreen formula.
What are the basic ingredient used in making sunscreens?
The primary ingredients in natural sunscreens that provide broad spectrum protection are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. When you apply zinc oxide sun protection on your skin, you may notice your skin is turned white, if this is an issue for you, you can try tinted mineralized sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium that you can match to your skin to mask the whitish film caused by the zinc oxide.
When you see a sunscreen product with the label Waterproof or Water Resistant, what does it mean to you? First of all, No sunscreen can truly prove itself as waterproof, because sunscreen must be reapplied after sweating or been in water, to maintain its spf (sun protection factor).
The FDA's 2002 regulations requires sunscreen companies to eliminate the use of the term waterproof as a valid claim on sunscreen products. (Hint: if it says waterproof, stay away from it)
The only approved term on sunscreen products is the term "water-resistant". Water-resistant is highly recommended if you are swimming or sweating alot because its been measured by some studies that it has the about to retain its spf value the moment is put on till 40minutes of water immersion.
Water-resistant sunscreen are formulated differently than regular sunscreen because an acrylate technology is when to manufacture it, this acrylate helps the sunscreen stay on longer while immersed in water or sweat. (These acrylate is a plasticizing ingredient that forms a film over the skin to prevent spf value from wearing down too quickly; the same kind of acrylate is found in hair gels and hair spray products)
For everyday use of sunscreen, if you are not exercising outdoor or sitting in a water pool, i would recommend you skip the (acrylate product); use a regular water resistant sunscreen with SPF 15 or 45; something that would provide a good UVA protection instead.
Why do you still get sunburn or tan even after you use a sunscreen? One likely cause is the fact that even the best of sunscreens still let some sun rays through your skin. A sunscreen having a high SPF number is not about better or deeper protection, it is about having just longer protection while in the sun. An SPF 30 means you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than it would normally take for you to get a slight burn especially for those with more susceptible skin. SPF numbers higher than 30, may give a false impression of been a better protection when it is not because even a well-formulated sunscreen with an SPF 30 still can only protect your skin from only about 97% to 98% of the sun's rays. Which means 2% to 3% of the sun's rays are still getting through to cause more melanin production----(tanning response of the skin when the sun ray get to it.)
For most people, this would provide over eighteen hours of sun protection without getting sunburned, impressive but only for that amount of time until it begins to wear off. So it is recommended, to liberally apply sunscreen 20minutes before going outside. Try to avoid spending more than a few minutes outdoor in the sun during midday hours (10a.m to 2p.m) when the sun is more intense.
Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible by wearing wide brim hat, dark sunglasses, protective clothing that aren't light weight or transparent enough to let sun ray's through. Reapply sunscreen hand lotion whenever you wash your hands. And don't forget to reapply water-resistant sunscreen every 40 to 80minutes if you intend to spend more time out in the sun while doing sports like outdoor swimming.
Who Should Wear Sunscreen?
It's really up to you to decide. If in doubt, check with your dermatologist----they can better assist you.
Does wearing sunscreen block the benefit of the sun for your health?
what types of stuff can you wear when outdoors, to protect yourself from the sun? No matter what side of the debate you are on, one thing is clear----when the sun is intense, in the midday time of the day you need some form of protection for your face and skin. You can use these tips below to help protect your skin:
Limit sun exposure during midday peak hours 11a.m--4:30p.
Wear a sun hat and Ultraviolet protecting sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses on a regular basis is essential for the health of your eyes because the eye lens can absorb UVA rays and once damaged, it is hard to repair. This is not a cosmetic or fashion issue, it more about protecting your eye----the health of your eye lens.
It doesn't matter if the sun glass is expensive or not, as long as it is effectively blocking out the UVA rays from your eye lens----that's all that should matter. Because eyes left exposed to sunlight are at risk for cataracts, sunburn, eye irritation, skin cancer, tearing and dryness of the eye. But unfortunately, too often most sun glass is just a bluff because it doesn't protect us well from the sun and there is no easy way to know which one's do and which one's don't. But the American Academy of Ophthalmology offers us a few guidelines for finding the best sun glass protection.
They recommend selecting sunglasses that wrap all the way around your eye and temples, so the sun's rays can't enter from the side of your eye.
Another thing they recommend, is selecting sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays. The price or how dark the shades are doesn't guarantee true protection; instead look for sunglasses with a label that says blocks 99 or 100% of all UV light. If a label says "UV absorption up to 400mm", It means it provides 100% UV protection.
Be sure that the sun-glass tint is uniform, not scratched or darker in one area than another.
Wear protective soft cotton clothing that do not allow sun penetration, and avoid wearing transparent or light weight clothing when outdoor in daylight to help block the sun damage.
Use a liberal amount of natural sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and titanium oxide 20 minutes before heading into the sun, this way you can block sun damage by UV light. You can reapply every two hours after the first application, for best protection.
How to Treat a Sunburn Naturally
In case, you do get sunburn while you are out in the sun, DO NOT apply apple cider vinegar to your skin; instead apply some raw aloe vera gel and cocoa-butter to cool, soothe and heal the burn----this works well. Despite the disparate information, there is enough anecdotal evidence about Aloe Vera that make its reputation hard to ignore because when you apply aloe vera gel to sunburn or other minor open injury site, it will cool, soothe without you having to apply anything else and will not keep the heat trapped in, like most moisturizers and emollient do; after you apply aloe vera gel to your skin, you just leave it alone to do its own thing and once it dries up, you will notice the healing is nice.
"Do not use Apple cider Vinegar, butter or grease on a burned skin"
"It is essential to treat sunburns the same way you would treat a burn injury from any heat source. Unquestionably, whenever the skin is burned you first need to cool it off to prevent the skin tissue from either retaining the heat or continuing to react negatively. Trapping the heat in the skin by covering it with a thick, waxy, or heavy lotion or cream will literally let the skin continue to fry, even after the heat source has been removed. Likewise, it promotes swelling, redness, and pain".----the complete beauty Bible by Paula Begoun.
Should you use Sun tanning machine to get a skin tone you like?
According to the FDA, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the American Academy of Dermatology, and the Skin Cancer Foundation, sun-tanning machines are nothing more than skin cancer machines and should be illegal. Sun tanning machines radiate the most damaging effects of the sun only inches away from your body, and, worse, they are available day after day, month after month, in areas of the country where you would not normally see the sun on a daily basis. In addition, they allow exposure of body parts that are usually covered. They pose the same serious risk of skin cancer that unprotected exposure to the sun allows (source: (the Complete Beauty Bible; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 2001, pages 775-780).
But if you want to tan your skin, there are many self tanners that are available and self tanners takes a few applications to achieve the color you want may be a better option as you experiment with self-tan products, self-tan techniques and learn how your skin reacts. Whenever possible protect your skin from artificial or natural sun damage. Tanning isn't the best way to feeling and looking beautiful-----check with self esteem first. If you need an extra guideline on how to apply a self tanning cream or spray----(check the Complete Beauty Bible by Paula Begoun, pages 147-148).
Should your kid wear sunscreen protection?
If your kids like to play outdoors while the sun is out, try using a less irritating sunscreen----particularly, one with Zinc Oxide or pure Titanium dioxide without other harsh inorganic ingredients and fragrance. For infant, due to increased skin permeability consistent with incomplete development of the infant's body; it is recommended you keep them out of the sun, use protective cloths, hats, screen and only use pure zinc oxide sunscreen if or when you plan to be outdoor with your child. Check with your licensed dermatologist before you use sunscreen on an infant child.
Should you use an expired sunscreen?
Look for sunscreens with an expiration date, so that you can identify how long its been sitting on the shelf before you buy it; although, sunscreen products without expiration date could still be used, it is best to opt for one with an expiration date and of-course, an ingredient label.
Does the use of sunscreen reduce vitamin D absorption from the Sun?
According to skin cancer organization, "the assertions that sunscreen use induces vitamin D deficiency, leaving us vulnerable to cancers and other medical problems, are unproven. vitamin D is essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system, but a recent review of 1,000 studies by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Washington, DC, determined that the vast majority of Americans take in enough vitamin D ,and found no sound evidence that vitamin D insufficiency is currently leading to cancers, heart disease, diabetes, or other conditions.
Because the human body produces some vitamin D in response to the sun’s UV radiation, sunscreen use could in theory reduce vitamin D levels. However, several studies have found that subjects’ regular sunscreen use did not prevent adequate vitamin D intake. It is also important to note that our bodies can manufacture only a certain amount of vitamin D from the sun. After reaching this limit within minutes, further UV exposure has a reverse effect, breaking down vitamin D into inactive compounds.
The health risks of UV exposure — including skin cancer and premature skin aging — are great, and except for bone loss, far better proven than the suggested dangers of vitamin D insufficiency. The Skin Cancer Foundation advises children and adults under age 70 to obtain the IOM’s recommended daily 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D a day from foods such as oily fish, fortified dairy products and cereals, and supplements. Four hundred IU of vitamin D is an appropriate dose for infants under 12 months old, and 800 are recommended for people 70 and older”.
What are the typical signs of skin cancer?
If you see a shiny bump or nodule with a slick, smooth surface that is pink, red, white, black, brown, or purple in color. It can look like a mole but the texture and shine is somewhat different.
A persistent open non-healing sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains on the skin for more than a month or more.
A clear white patch of skin that standout on it own with a smooth scar-like texture.
A reddish irritated area that doesn't go away completely, even after you apply cortisone creams or moisturizing medication on it. sometimes it may have a crust like surface that flakes off.
If you see a blemish or wound like indentation on your skin that doesn't heal and if tends to be growing no matter what creams you put on it. (smooth growth with a distinct rolled border)
If some, or all, of the ingredients found in sunscreen products have the potential to cause cancer, then why do dermatologists, doctors, and the American Cancer Society tell us to use sunscreen — daily — and lots of it?
Sunscreen sales continue to go up every year… skin cancers are also on the rise.
Whether some or all of the ingredients found in sunscreens are toxic remains controversial and there are studies on either side of the issue. However a study in the Journal of Chromatography found that there is significant penetration of all sunscreen agents into the skin, and oxybenzone and metabolites is absorbed in the skin. For that matter, anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body.
If you’re going to use a sunscreen look for a natural alternative sunscreens that clearly say “contains no petrochemicals, no parabens, no toxic fillers”. Try using natural zinc oxide aloe vera based sunscreen to protect your skin. Also don’t forget to build for yourself an internal sunscreen with nutrition by eating more antioxidants and anti-cancer food.
As much as we would like to believe doctors know it all, they do not know everything there is to know about how various chemicals/pharmaceuticals drugs, suncreen ingredients react in our body. A Perfect example: in the haste to bring a new drug to market, studies are often done on a very small group of “healthy” people, for a short period of time. Doctors may highly recommend Vioxx, chemotherapy and other pharmaceuticals that later prove to cause cancer and/or other serious health problems. Doctors know enough but they don’t always know what’s best.
----your health and skin is yours---its your job to find ways to protect it.
The American Academy of Dermatology A, B, C, D's list for identifying skin cancer
- Asymmetry: One half of the lesion or suspect area is unlike the other half.
- Border: There is an irregular, scalloped, or poorly circumscribed border around a suspected skin lesion or mole.
- Color: Color varies from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, black, white, red, or blue.
- Diameter: The area is generally larger than 6mm (the diameter of a pencil eraser).
Can pure titanium, zinc oxide and avobenzone sunscreen cause cancer?
So far there is only vitro and animal research showing some result but i haven't found any vivo (meaning on a live person) research to determine the toxic efficacy of the UVA and UVB photo-protection of Avobenzone sunscreen.
"Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are often referred to as "non-chemical" sunscreen ingredients, but this is misleading at best. In every aspect and by every definition titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are chemicals. what these two substances do have in common is that they are inert minerals used as sunscreen ingredients. They also have minimal to no risk of causing an allergic reaction and are considered benign and safe for skin. Along with their safety they have a superior ability to protect skin from the sun's UVA radiation" (sources: British journal of Dermatology, November 2001, pages 789-794; Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, September 2001, pages 252-259).
Don’t be afraid of the sun enjoy the sun all year round with proper protection all around. However, if you notice a change in your skin texture that you are not sure of, talk to your dermatologist; even a minor mole, freckle or blemish that looks out of place can be an indication of skin damage or skin cancer.
My favorite Sunscreen Nontoxic skin protection list:
Goddess garden spf 30 for kids:
- Powerful Protection Without Chemical Sunscreen
- Broad Spectrum SPF 30
- Water Resistant (40 Minutes)
- Contains Organic Ingredients
- Pediatrician Tested
- Reef Safe
- Certified to NSF/ANSI 305 by QAI
- NSF - Contains Organic Ingredients
- Helps prevent sunburn
- If used as directed with other sun protection measures decreases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun.