Posted By pinewood on 25 June 2019
Summer with it’s high UV index and fierce sunbeams is here so make sure you are always wearing sunscreen before you venture outdoors even during off-peak hours. The common hours for the UV index to be high (above 3) is between 11 am and 3 pm in Ontario but during our hot summers, the index can be above 3 all day long, which means that wearing at least a 30 SPF sunscreen is mandato
What Do Sunscreens Do?
Sunscreens are lotions, creams, sprays or wax base substances that prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. There are two types of radiation that can damage your skin and increase your risk of getting skin cancer. Ultraviolet A (UVA), which has a longer UV rays that can cause lasting damage, premature aging, leathery skin, sagging, photo-aging and skin cancer. They also serve to deepen the penetration of much weaker Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays and make them much more carcinogenic. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is a shorter ray causes sunburns. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against both UVA and UVB rays at once so it is important to read labels and make sure you are buying a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
What is SPF?
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a number that signifies how much time it takes for UVB rays to turn your skin red once you are in the sun. For instance, if it takes 15 minutes for your skin to red then a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 would extend that 15 minutes by 30 times, meaning that it would take 450 minutes or 7.5 hours for your skin to burn. UVA rays do their damage without turning your skin red, which makes them very dangerous as there is no “red flag” in the form of a sunburn on your skin to indicate you have been in the sun too long.
Learn to Read a Sunscreen Label
Here is a simple summary of the kinds of terms you find on a sunscreen label and what they mean.
Broad Spectrum – This term means that the sunscreen offers protection against both UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) – This is a number tells how long a person can remain in the sun before the skin is burnt by intense UVB rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Water-Resistant – This slightly misleading term usually means that the sunscreen will remain effective for 40 minutes while you are in the water sweating. However, no sunscreen is truly waterproof or sweats proof.
Avobenzone and Benzophenone –These are chemicals that are absorbed into the skin, deep into the dermis and work by reducing the penetration of UV light into the skin.
Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide – These are inorganic ingredients that typically float on top of the skin and deflect UV ray and tend to look like war paint.
The fact is that every ingredient in sunscreen is a chemical. However, it is more common for people to be allergic to a fragrance, plant extract, preservative or emulsifier in the product. To stay safe, stick with sunscreens that contain as few ingredients as possible and that are fragrance free. The most toxic ingredient in sunscreens is oxybenzone, which might possibly be a hormone disruptor that causes cancer.
Don’t Try to Save on Sunscreen
Sunscreen can be expensive but you need to apply one ounce (a shot glass full) every two hours for it to be effective. If you spend a full eight hour day at the beach you know you have used enough when you have used about one half of an 8 oz. bottle. It is also best to apply the sunscreen half an hour before you actually go outside because it allows the ingredients to be fully absorbed by the skin. If you sweat a lot, choose a water-resistant sunscreen because the formula is stickier and can prevent sweat from running down into your eyes.
Finally, never minimize the importance of wearing sunscreen. Skin cancers are more common than ever with one out of ever n 2017, an estimated: 7,200 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. 1,250 Canadians died from melanoma skin cancer. 4,000 men were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 790 died from it. 3,300 women were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 450 died from it. In fact if you know the UV index is over 5, just stay inside if you can!
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