Don’t get burnt choosing the wrong sunscreen!
Long, warm summer days are on their way and come packed with all sorts of outdoor fun with family and friends. Spending time being active outside is a great way for anyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When we consider our overall body health, we can’t neglect the importance of protecting our skin from exposure to the elements.
As I sit writing this blog, I am outside looking at the Long Island Sound from the deck of our new home. I am under an umbrella with a brimmed hat, sunscreen and good UV protected polarized sunglasses. I remember the days laying out on the beach with a salt water misting and coconut oil for the best tan, or should I say sunburn. I spent many nights in chef scrubs with a wicked sunburn wishing for a cold ice plunge. I had a skin cancer lesion taken from my back last year, which really scared me.
USEFUL TIPS TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY:
1. Avoid the full sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These mid-day hours are the peak time for exposure to UV radiation.
2. SPF can hold a false sense of security. SPF (Sun Protective Factor) is a confusing and controversial subject. For example, SPF 30 implies that you can be in the sun 30 times longer than if not wearing sunscreen, before burning. Realize that there is no 100% protection against the cancerous UVB rays. SPF 15 protects 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30-97%, and SPF 50-98%.
3. Always protect your skin from the sun. Although it may be overcast, and it does not feel like you're getting exposure, it's still important to cover up. You are exposed to UV radiation even when it’s cloudy. Never assume you are protected.
4. Use ONLY Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide based sunscreens. Check that there aren’t other toxic chemicals in the formula such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Octisalate and Homosalate. The EWG (Environmental Working Group), a nonprofit advocacy group is a great resource for keeping you up to date on toxic consumer products.
In May of 2019, the EWG released its 13th Annual Guide to Sunscreens. This report found that roughly two-thirds of the sunscreens available in the United States don’t provide adequate protection or contain ingredients that the FDA has not yet established are safe and effective.
5. Stay away from spray sunscreen as many of them contain toxic chemicals that can be breathed in. If you have children, try to stay away altogether unless they are in summer camp, etc. and they require spray sunscreen. If so teach them to close their eyes, and mouth and hold their nose while being sprayed, and always in a well-ventilated area. Even the best sunscreen containing Zinc or Titanium Oxide should not be breathed in.
6. Wear protective clothing like sunglasses and hats. If you are going to be outside for an extended period on a regular basis, consider purchasing sun-protective clothing.
7. Always wear sunscreen. Choose a formula with an SPF of 30 or more. It should also offer protection from UVA and UVB light. Sunscreen is usually labeled as offering broad spectrum when it protects against both. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours as well as after swimming or sweating.
8. Use extra caution when near water, light colored sand or even snow. These three elements reflect the sun’s rays, which make the damaging UV rays more intense which increases your chances of sunburn.
How to get vitamin D without the sun!
An alternative to looking to the sunlight for a daily dose of vitamin D is maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet instead. Foods like eggs, salmon and tuna fish are potent sources of vitamin D. Beta-Glucans, green tea, licorice root, milk thistle and rosemary are great added nutrient protection for the sun worshipers. You can always take a daily vitamin D supplement, but speak with your healthcare practitioner first before taking any supplements.
I hope you are able to get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather! Just remember, safety first!
~Dr. Dave, Venus and the Oasis Family
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This blog is for informational purposes only. It is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a licensed, qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.