Protecting Your Skin from the Sun

This week we’d love to share some tips for protecting your skin from the sun from our friends at Basil Magazine. They know that Dr. Dan’s Sunblock SPF30 is the best way to protect your lips, and you can check out their review here.

“It’s summer and there is nothing better than fun in the sun! There are tons of outdoor activities such as baseball games, amusement parks, camping, hiking, BBQ’s and a host of other activities. While you’re having fun this season, make sure that you protect your skin from the sun as the sun’s drying rays can prematurely age the skin and lead to wrinkles. Use your sunscreen!

Everyone needs sunscreen to protect their skin from damaging UV rays from the sun and sunburn. Using sunscreen products decreases the chances for sunburn and can prevent skin cancer or malignant melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2009, more than 1 million people were expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer and research studies link skin cancer with sun exposure on unprotected skin.

Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin, age it prematurely, and increase your risk of skin cancer.

UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other light-induced effects of aging. They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.

What Is SPF?

Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF — or Sun Protection Factor — is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here’s how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours.

Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent. They may seem like negligible differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference. And as you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.

But there are problems with the SPF model: First, no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Second, “reddening” of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. Plenty of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised.

Sunburn

Your skin responds to excessive sun exposure by turning red, becoming hot, and slightly painful to the touch. Severe sunburns cause skin blistering and peeling. The sun’s rays have two types of harmful UV rays–UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate your skin more deeply than UVB and are the cause of premature skin aging. UVB rays are the primary sun burning agent.

Don’t forget the Children

Children are at particular risk because they forget to reapply as often as needed when they are busy playing. Beach and lake vacations present special challenges for parents to monitor sunscreen coverage on children because water enhances the effect of radiation. According to a recent study discussed in Science Daily, 7-year-old children who vacationed at the beach had a 5 percent increase in skin moles–a major risk factor in malignant melanoma.

For this month, I wanted to include some of my picks for protecting yourself from the sun. So, if you don’t use anything to protect yourself from the sun, consider these options below. Also, if you already use sunscreens, here are a few more to try as they are all natural products. I’ve also included a few lip balms. Whatever you do, be sure to use something!

Thanks,

Illani, Your Green Beauty Girl”

3 thoughts on “Protecting Your Skin from the Sun”

  1. If I am understanding correctly, you are saying that sunscreen is great at blocking UVB rays, but not UVA rays, right? Is there a way that I can protect myself from the UVA rays? The only thing that I can think of that might work is the zinc sunscreen, but I have not idea. What kind of sunscreen would you recommend, or does it matter?

    1. Hi James – great question! We recommend using a broad spectrum sunscreen – like Dr. Dan’s SunStick SPF30 – that protects you from BOTH UVA and UVB rays. The natural minerals in our sunstick reflect both types of rays away from your skin. Also, dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30; but keep in mind that SPF over 50 has been shown to have no more significant effect than SPF50.

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