Be Sun Savvy – Protect your skin

June 24th, 2008

Protect Your SkinSUNBLOCKS and SUNSCREENS

The currently available sunscreens are much more effective for blocking out UVB than UVA. The bottom line is that UVA rays are as dangerous as UVB and are present year-round. They penetrate through glass and clouds, and damage skin without leaving a telltale burn behind (but will leave fine lines and wrinkles).

You will find that you still tan while using a screen or block. Even though you routinely apply your sunscreen everyday, you may end up with a deep tan. UVA exposure is the reason for this, and the amount of UVA in summer sunlight may be as much as one thousand times that of UVB. The fact that none of the currently available sunscreens are capable of reflecting infrared rays creates an additional problem.

Until the FDA puts its new labels into effect, look for “broad spectrum protection” and scan the ingredient list for FDA-approved UVA guards including titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Mexoryl SX and oxybenzone.

SUN DAMAGE AND CELL REPAIR

The ability of human cells to repair damage from sunlight exposure steadily weakens with age. With healthy cells, the ability to repair our skin declines at a constant rate of about one percent per year from age 20 to 50, coinciding with the increasing risk of developing skin cancer in middle age.

Basal cell cancer is the most common kind of skin cancer and the one directly related to cumulative effects of exposure to sunlight. Experts say tumors can appear up to 20 years after over exposure to sunlight.

AGE-DEFYING HANDS

Your hands are fragile due to the very thin skin on them. They can give away your age years before your face does. The best way to keep your hands protected is to ALWAYS apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Look for sunscreen that has emollients or add a vitamin E capsule to it upon application.

HINT: Keep a tube of sunscreen in your car. That way, every time you go out you will have it “handy”!  

Did you spend a little too much time out in the sun? Here are a few tips to help with those SKIN EMERGENCIES-

  • Scorched Skin:  Combine one half cup mayonnaise with one tomato, once cucumber, and half a mashed avocado. Puree in a blender until smooth. Apply to skin and allow to air dry. Rinse well and moisturize. (Left-overs make a great dip!)
  • Sunburn: Gently rub apple slices on the effected area for fifteen minutes. Rinse. Spritz your face with cooled chamomile tea.

Just remember, the longer you remain outdoors (even in the shade), the more potentially harmful infrared radiation you will receive. So, please, use a high number SPF, protect your face with a hat or visor, and limit sun exposure time.