Posts Tagged ‘sun’
Sunscreen is as ubiquitous as bottled water these days; it’s in clothing, make-up and a dizzying selection of creams, lotions, sprays and sticks. But is it all equal? And how does one choose among all the options?
With the recent FDA regulations for sunscreen going into effect in the coming year, terms like “waterproof” and SPFs of 100 will be obsolete, and the safety and efficacy of spray sunscreen is also under question. But even as the FDA attempts to regulate and streamline sunscreen labeling, for now it can still be confusing.
I am a mom of two and understand how skin cancer and wrinkles can occur without sunscreen, so I religiously use it. I am, however, admittedly lax about re-applying, am guilty of quickly slathering up my kids minutes before they jump in the pool and frankly don’t know what to make of words like Helioplex.
To help set me straight on sunscreen protocol, I employed the help of Kimberly Ruhl, a Montclair mom of two and, most importantly for this article, a dermatologist. Ruhl graciously submitted to a quick Q&A on how to stay safe and protected in the sun.
Q) What should people look for on a sunscreen product label?
A) The labeling guidelines will be modified next year but for now we suggest SPF 30. Higher numbers give an erroneous idea about greater levels of protection. For example SPF 30 blocks 96.67% of UVB rays and SPF 70 blocks 98.57% of UVB. This is less than a 2% increase in protection, not the two fold increasing that most people believe.
Also remember that sunscreen and SPF are not additive; for example, if your makeup has SPF 15 and your moisturizer has SPF 20, your level of protection is only as high as the highest number e.g. SPF 20. SPF also only refers to protection from UVB (sun burning) rays and make no claims about UVA protection (skin aging and DNA damage). Make sure the label indicates that the product has broad-spectrum UVA and UVB coverage as both are dangerous.
Q) How soon before sun exposure should we apply sunscreen, and when should it be reapplied?
A) Given the variability in the absorption rate of different chemicals, we usually suggest 30 minutes prior to going outside. Sunscreens should generally be applied to dry skin. Also, even though products advertise them as being water resistant, most of their efficacy is removed after about 40 minutes in the water and essentially the vast majority is gone by 80-90 minutes. Given that time frame, we suggest that block be applied every 90 minutes. Even if you are not swimming or sweating, the skin breaks down some sunscreen.
Remember to apply enough to liberally cover the body. Do not economize here. A full shot glass size of lotion should be used. Even on a cloudy day, up to 70% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds so sunscreen still must be used. Sun and sand also worsen the effect of the sun by reflecting back 25% and 80% of the sun’s rays, respectively.
Q) What is the difference between sunscreens with Titanium Dioxide and those without?
A) Sunscreens are basically categorized as either chemical or physical blocks. Sunscreens that use only chemical blocks like avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone etc., need to be combined in order to provide full spectrum coverage. Some of the UVA blockers are very chemically unstable and need stabilizers like Helioplex, which is found in many Neutrogena formulations. A chemical sunscreen called mexoryl is made in products by La Roch-Posay and is very stable and can be used alone without additional stabilizers.
According to the American Association of Dermatology, there has been some concern that chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the energy from the UV rays is then dispersed into surrounding skin cells. Dermatologists say the by-products of the dispersal may cause later problems.
With all this in mind, The best, safest sun protection products contain physical blocks like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are not absorbed and work by reflecting light from the surface of the skin. They used to be thick white pastes that lifeguards used but have now been micronized into very cosmetically elegant formulations that do not leave a white sheen on the body. (*author note* kids may also dig the new colored zinc oxides like the ones from Zinka)
Q) Do you have any favorite brands you can recommend?
A) I prefer the physical blocks. Aveeno has a product line called Natural Protection and comes in face and body formulations for kids and adults. They also contain some natural antioxidants to help with sun damage. Neutrogena has a cream sunscreen for sensitive skin that has a nice high level of titanium. Coppertone has a nice product called Sensitive Skin Gentle Formula with Zinc Oxide. If you shop online you may also order products under the COTZ label. This stands for contains only titanium and zinc.
Q) How is your own children’s attitude towards sunscreen?
A) My kids have grown up with vigilance about sunscreen use and now at age 11 and 14 ask for it on their own. In their minds now, sun and sunscreen go together.
Q) What, besides applying sunscreen, can we do for sun protection?
A) Many companies make very cute and stylish surf shirts (rash guards) that can be gotten with long sleeves. That way, you only need to worry about face and legs when at the beach. Brimmed hats are an easy way to provide extra help too. Lastly, encourage your kids to wear sunglasses routinely starting at a young age. UV radiation will lead to cataracts and squint lines later. If younger ones balk, let them pick out goofy ones or styles that will encourage the glasses to say on.
(*author note* For sunglasses, try Tweak’ms. Invented by Montclair mom Tracey Diamond,Tweak’ms have a patened design to stay put and stand up to kids’ wear and tear. They can be worn by newborns through school-age kids and come in a wide variety of fun styles)
Origianlly Posted on http://montclair.patch.com/articles/sunscreen-101.
Kimberly Ruhl, M.D. is a practicing dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology Skin Care, located at 101 Old Short Hills Road, West Orange NJ. (973) 731-9600. Her practice serves patients of all ages, starting in infancy.
News & Updates
The sun will stand still today. Well, not literally, but it may feel that way.
Today, Tuesday June 21st is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The origin of the word solstice comes from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” and “to stand still.” During this summer solstice, the sun will shine in the sky longer than any other day.
The solstice started at 7:28 a.m. EDT (11:28 UTC), and at 1:16 p.m. EDT, the sun will be the highest it ever gets in the sky. People all over the Northern Hemisphere are taking advantage of the extra daylight with plenty of festivals, parties and traditions.
The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the Sun’s energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
Perhaps the oldest, notable – or most publicized – is the Pagan Festival of Litha. The Druids, an ancient religion and culture, celebrate today as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth,” and it is one of the most important days in their calendar (they hold festivals eight times a year to mark stages in the solar and lunar cycles).
Druidism worships nature and believes in the spirits of places such as mountains and rivers, as well as in divine guides. The religion has long been part of England’s past, but has never been identified as an actual religion. However, at the festivities this year, druids will be celebrating for the first time as members of an established religion under British charity law. The classification means members of the ancient pagan tradition have mainstream status equal to the Church of England.
Originally posted on the International Business Times website.
News & Updates
For many, summer is upon us and that means more sun exposure to soak up vitamin D. There has been a lot of debate over the amount needed to be sufficient in the body, and in the June, 2011 Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Endocrine Society has deemed levels between 40-60ng/mL to be necessary. Are your levels good enough?
Vitamin D is commonly absorbed through our skin via the sunlight when we are outside without sunscreen. Some foods, such as milk, might be fortified with vitamin D but otherwise it is a difficult nutrient to acquire. Many adults and children too find themselves needing an extra supplement to get the boost they need even in sunny states because sunscreen and clothing blocks most vitamin D exposure.
Many laboratories show the lower limit to be at 30ng/mL however research is showing that higher levels are protective against autoimmune disease, cardiovascular problems, certain cancers such as colorectal cancer, muscle pains, bone problems like osteoporosis, and seasonal depression. The Endocrine Society believes you may need between 1,500-2,000IU of vitamin D everyday to raise your low levels and not to exceed 4,000IU per day in adults without your health care provider’s direction. As an example, those with very low levels may need up to 10,000IU per day and some health care providers prescribe 50,000IU per week with repeated lab monitoring.
The test of choice is the 25 hydroxy vitamin D otherwise abbreviated as 25(OH)D3. Remember that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, therefore it can become toxic if levels elevate and it does require some fat for better absorption.
If you aren’t taking vitamin D, then talk with your health care provider about getting tested. It is a simple blood test that is often covered through insurance. If your numbers are below 40ng/mL, begin the appropriate supplementation to help keep your body at optimal amounts.
View original post and references here.
Please be safe and healthy this summer! Sunscreen, hydration, and healthy foods will keep you happy and alert on the job. Make sure to always consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.
Just as wearing sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from the sun, wearing sunglasses is the best way to protect your eyes from UV damage. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to UV radiation can cause damage to retinas and increase the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration. To help keep eyes properly protected from the sun, follow these simple rules:
- Wear high-quality sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection.
- Don’t take off sunglasses in the shade. UV rays can reflect off other surfaces, so eyes are still at risk even if they are not directly exposed to the sun.
- Fresh snow can reflect 80% of UV rays, so protective eyewear is important even in the winter. Sunglasses will do the trick, but skiers and snowboarders should wear UV protected goggles for the best results.
- It is never too early to start practicing eye safety. Children’s eyes are more sensitive than an average adult, so be sure they are always wearing the proper eyewear. It is also a good idea to keep children out of the sun during peak sun hours, typically between 10am – 2pm.
You cannot tell how much UV protection a pair of sunglasses will provide by their price, color, or by the darkness of the lenses. Before you buy a pair of sunglasses, make sure they offer UV 400 protection, which refers to protection from 400 nanometers UVA and UVB. The sunglasses should have a label on the sunglasses that says either “UV 400″ or “100% UV Protection.”
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on sunglasses to get full protection from UV rays, you just need to make sure the sunglasses have the protection before you buy them. Many people think that a really dark lens means the protection from UV rays is the best, but this is a myth. Always look for labels.
It is important to know about the different types of sunglasses lenses so that you can choose the ones that will best protect you against UV rays. Here’s a guide to help you:
- Blue-blockers- These lenses block blue light, which researchers are still determining whether or not it’s harmful. These sunglasses generally have amber lenses and are often popular among skiers and boaters.
- Mirror-coated Lenses- Lenses that limit the amount of light entering your eyes.
- Gradient Lenses-Lenses are tinted from the top down, so top lens is the darkest. Good for driving. On the other hand, double gradient lenses are also tinted from the bottom up with a clear middle, and are not good for driving.
- Photochromic Lenses-Lenses that adjust their level of darkness based on the amount of UV light they’re exposed to.
- Polarized Lenses- These lenses prevent reflected glare and are popular for water and snow sports.
News & Updates
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