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Sunscreen tips for summer

A typical shot glass. That is the amount of sunscreen that an average person (average person weighs 150 pounds) should be putting on their body 15 minutes before going outside. So if you are a larger than the “average” person, you need to use more (i.e., if you weigh 300 pounds, you need 2 shot glasses).

The sun emits UVA and UVB rays which we need to be protected from. The UVA leads to damage to the skin that leads to premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. The UVB leads to sunburns and skin cancer. So you need protection from BOTH UVA and UVB rays

So which sunscreen should you use? Easy answer. Any sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. You need at least a SPF of 30 but anything above that is not any more effective and a waste of money. And broad spectrum, meaning it covers both UVA and UVB rays.

You need to apply your sunscreen every 2 hours OR if you have perspired a lot or when you come out of the water. Do NOT be fooled but sunscreens saying they are water proof/resistant. They will be washed off within 90 minutes so….reapply as needed….

The sunscreens to stay away from (especially in children) are the ones that have oxybenzone or vitamin A derivative like retinyl palmitate. And unfortunately these ingredients are in some of the most popular sunscreens for children like Water Babies by Cooper tone. Oxybenzone actually gets absorbed into your skin and it is controversial what the effects are in the body, but anything controversial is best to stay away from, especially in children.

The other ingredient to stay away from is any of the Vitamin A derivatives such as retinyl palmitate. When these ingredients get exposed to the sun, they actually speed the development of skin cancers. 25% of sunscreens out there have this in them so stay away!

Also stay away from the spray on sunscreens, yes they are easy and fast but the fumes can be inhaled and we do not know the effects of these fumes and it is impossible to tell whether you have applied the adequate amount.

Best protection from the sun us still, covering the skin areas with clothing, hats, and shade. Especially during the peak of the sun’s rays between 10 AM and 2 PM.

Snow, sand, and water intensify the suns damaging rays so you have an increase chance of sun burn in these situations and especially need to be vigilant about your skin cover and sunscreen.

And I do want to tell you that, there is an epidemic in the US, people have low Vitamin D levels, and this could be because of the increase use of sunscreen. The sun helps our bodies to produce Vitamin D so when we are blocking that process, so Vitamin D levels may be lowered, so check your Vitamin D level checked and get on supplemental Vitamin D if needed.

So remember, the best protection from the sun is to cover up, wear a hat, and stay in the shade.  Of course, don’t forget your sunscreen.