the ecovangelist


Protecting your largest organ! June 24, 2011

Filed under: Around your body — theecovangelist @ 12:22 pm
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Now that summer is here and we’re all spending more time in the sun, it’s probably a good idea to review why it’s important to wear sunscreen and the FDA’s new guidelines.

Your skin, why you should protect it:

  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US
  • One out of five people will develop skin cancer in the US
  • One to two million Americans develop skin cancer every year

Earlier this month, the FDA released new sunscreen guidelines

Here’s a summary of the FDA’s main points:

  • Sunscreens can no longer be labeled as sunblock, waterproof or sweat proof; since according to the FDA, there is no such thing.
  • Sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB will now be labeled as broad-spectrum. 
  • In case you forgot the difference between UVA and UVB:
    • UVA-accounts for 95% of UV exposure; penetrates through skin deeply causing accelerated aging and wrinkling; initiates skin cancer; can penetrate through glass.
    • UVB-primary cause of skin cancer; burns the surface of your skin; can not penetrate through glass.
  • Water-resistant sunscreens are effective, but should be reapplied once out of the water.
  • Sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours.
  • Sunscreens with SPF 2-14 will be required to state that they have not been shown to prevent skin cancer.
  • Many companies have already started changing their labeling, but technically have until next summer to do so.

Applications (no pun intended):

  • While some of the ingredients in sunscreens have been in question, the benefit of using sunscreen outweighs any risk from the ingredients.
  • What’s the difference between SPF 15, 30 and 50?
    • SPF 15-blocks 92% of UVB rays
    • SPF 30-blocks 96.7% of UVB rays
    • SPF 50-blocks 98% of UVB rays
    • SPF 100-blocks 99% of UVB rays
  • Use SPF 15 for everyday use and at least SPF 30 or higher when in the sun for extended time.
  • Many think that just because they have darker pigmentation, they don’t need sunscreen. This is far from the truth. While having greater melanin does partially protect you from getting sunburned, people with darker pigmentation still need protection from UVA and UVB rays.
  • Even if you are wearing sunscreen, this does not fully protect you from the sun. So while in the sun be sure to wear a hat, long-sleeve shirts/pants and avoid prolonged time.
  • Limit sun exposure from 10AM-2PM, since suns rays are strongest during that period.