Saturday, November 18, 2017

Do’s and don’ts of sunscreen

Sunscreen productsCabarete, located on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, is one of those lucky places where it’s nearly always sunny, which is one of the obvious reasons why people come to visit this little piece of paradise.

But sunshine comes with risks and there are no excuses for not using sunscreen. But is the sunscreen you are using any good? What does SPF mean precisely and are all ingredients in the cream strictly necessary?




We love the sun!Why we love the sun
Most people love to be in sun and that is not so strange. Several studies highlighted by Medical Daily have shown that people feel better and happier with some regular sun exposure in their life. The same studies also show that regular sun exposure also helps with getting better sleep and lower blood pressure

Sun exposure risks
The risks only start to manifest themselves If sun exposure is unprotected or too long. Skin cancer and other more immediate effects like sunburn are the risks. The sun emits UVA, UVB and UVC rays. In the past it was thought that only UVB rays were dangerous, which are the primary cause of sunburns. At that time it was thought that UVA rays only played a role in skin aging and wrinkling. Research from more recent years has shown however that UVA exposure, which accounts for approximately 95 per cent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface, can also play a big role in skin cancer development.

Be careful not to get burned!


SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers only to protection against UVB radiation, which burns the skin. It has little to do with protection from sun’s UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the skin, suppress the immune system, accelerate skin aging and may cause skin cancer.

Individuals applying high-SPF sunscreens may not burn, but without UVA-screening ingredients they can still receive large amounts of skin-damaging radiation. To avoid such a scenario, regulatory bodies in Europe and Australia have adopted UVA testing guidelines and measurement standards, and capped the SPF of sunscreens at 50+.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may do the same, but has not yet done so. Most experts recommend using a sunscreen that is between 15 and 50 SPF, depending on the foreseen sun exposure.

Also use sunscreen on the waterWhat sunscreen to use
Choosing the right sunscreen for you will depend on your skin type and most important of all on the activity you plan to do outside in the sun. Are you going to be kitesurfing all afternoon, lounging on the beach or just chilling on a beach terrace with a refreshing drink?  No matter what your skin type or what activity you plan on doing always go for a sunscreen that has a broad spectrum offering protection to both UVA and UVB.

Sunscreen and watersports
The sun’s rays are reflected by water, especially if that water is flat, so any extended exposure of more than 20 minutes warrants a sunscreen with a high SPF: at least 30.  Note that your sunscreen’s effectiveness will be affected by going into the water. Look for sunscreens that are water-resistant, which means that they will be effective for 40 to 80 minutes in the water. Re-apply often, especially after toweling.

Look at the labelLook at the label
Don’t buy sunscreen with vitamin A, also called retinyl palmitate or retinol. When used in a night cream, this form of vitamin A is supposed to have anti-aging effects. But on sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.

Also don’t buy any sunscreens with oxybenzone.  Commonly used in sunscreens, the chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms. According to the Environmental Working Group, there is one study that has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women, and another that found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters.

Don't use spray sunscreenAvoid spray sunscreen
Although spray sunscreen might seem like the perfect solution to get sunscreen easily all over your body the risks of spraying too far away and only getting mist instead of the actual product are quite high. Consumer Reports, a US consumer protection organization, is also cautioning against the risks of inhaling potentially risky ingredients—including titanium dioxide, a possible carcinogen.

Use your common sense
Sunscreen helps protect against the bad effects of being in the sun but don’t think it completely and utterly protects you. Use the following common sense tips to stay safe.
+ Stay out of the burning midday sun or put on a hat and long-sleeved clothing.
+ Don’t be stingy with your sunscreen, and re-apply often.
+The best sunscreens have titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which usually leave a white sheen on the skin. Don’t be a fashion victim and just use the best sunscreen available instead of going for those that promise great looks but tend to have lower protection.

Find out if your sunscreen is any good
Have a look at the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens to see how good or bad your sunscreen is.

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