Skin care basics
should always include a good sunscreen
November 12th 2005
Protection from exposure to the sun a necessity for
healthy skin. Growing up, I’m sure we’ve all heard our mothers
say “Go get some sun, you need your vitamin D.” These days however,
the risks of sun damage are a very real concern. Ironically,
skin care studies show that Vitamin D produced in the body with
the help of exposure to sunlight is the very thing that can help the
body to fight skin cancers. But exactly how much time is safe to
spend in the sun without the benefit of any sunscreen? And what
sunscreen is best for when we do spend a lot of time outdoors?
Research done in Britain recently, suggests that the
exposure period to sunlight without benefit of sunscreen should be
no more than 10 to 15 minutes at noon, when the sun is at it’s
strongest. If the stronger intensity of the sun factors in, that
figure likely would decrease to less than 10 minutes a day of
exposure without sunscreen!
More research needs to be done, but it’s a safe
assumption that most people likely get their needed daily exposure
to help their bodies produce Vitamin D during their walks to and
from their cars in a given day.
These days, the manufacture of sunscreen is regulated
heavily through the Food and Drug Administration, and it appears
that no one type of sunscreen stands out over another, less skin
sensitivities and the choice of SPF amounts.
Dermatologists recommend using a
sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or
higher. Using a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen can protect the skin from
both ultraviolet A and B rays also known as UVA and UVB.
Skin care is even more important for older adults or people with
sensitive skin. their skin tends to burn easily and they should
use an SPF of 30 or stronger. People with sensitive skin or
allergies should also consider the ingredients and make choices that
are free of dyes, chemicals, alcohol, preservatives, perfumes and
para-aminobenzoic acid or PABA.
If sun exposure will be particularly high, using a
more physical sunscreen, like zinc or titanium oxide, might be the
better choice, as it will stop all sunlight from reaching the skin.
Sunscreen should be applied a half-hour before going
out into the sun and should be reapplied every few hours. And if you
are swimming, remember that 98 percent of the sun’s rays pass
through water, so without some sort of “water-resistant sun screen
and frequent applications, a sunburn is inevitable.
Per FDA regulations, sunscreens touting
“water-resistant” have to maintain the indicated SPF after 40
minutes in the water, unless it’s rubbed off. Even if a sunscreen is
water resistant, it needs to be reapplied frequently, especially if
you are spending a lot of time in the water. Wet skin burns more
easily. Keep in mind that nothing is entirely “waterproof” so
products claiming such are likely only water-resistant and should be
treated as such and should also be reapplied frequently.
Gone are the days of the artificially orange pallor
to the skin. Sunless tanners have come a long way in cosmetic
appearance and are a viable option to get that “healthy glow”
without the risks of sun damage.
Above all, if there is something about the health of your skin that
gives you reason for concern, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor
or dermatologist. Skin care is essential to a healthy skin. Take good
care of your skin and your skin will take care of you.
Len Simpson is a freelance writer based in Pasadena, CA.
She has worked for award-winning newspapers for more than ten years and
now writes about health issues, alternative and natural remedies.
Pain Relief Books
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