Health Care and Suntan Lotion

- September 16, 2015
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In the waning days of Summer, there are still a few good days of sun worshipping available to those people who want to glean every last drop of tanning available until the cooler winds of autumn begin to blow. Of course, any time you’re outside, you should consider wearing some form of sun block to protect your skin, even if it’s a small number of sunscreen to block the harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause damage to you. Using a good suntan lotion is one good way to protect yourself.

According to EWG, sunscreens can only provide partial protection against harmful effects of the sun. Limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing are more important for protecting your skin from cancer and premature aging. Be extra careful about spending time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.

And remember that UVA radiation doesn’t decline as much as UVB when the sun is lower in the sky or it’s overcast. UVA penetrates glass. Apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it often – at least every two hours. Even the best sunscreen won’t work well if you don’t use it correctly. Much more detailed info can be found at this website:

Sunscreen (also commonly known as sun screen, sunblock, suntan lotion, sunburn cream, sun cream or block out) is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation and thus helps protect against sunburn. Skin-lightening products have sunscreen to protect lightened skin because light skin is more susceptible to sun damage than darker skin. A number of sunscreens have tanning powder to help the skin to darken or tan; however, tanning powder does not provide protection from UV rays.

Depending on the mode of action, sunscreens can be classified into physical sunscreens (i.e., those that reflect the sunlight) or chemical sunscreens (i.e., those that absorb the UV light).
Medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend the use of sunscreen because it aids in the prevention of squamous cell carcinomas. Suntan lotion is a variation of the liquids, sprays or gels that are available in most retail locations, or can be ordered online.

Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not primarily cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma and photodermatitis. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreens can address this concern. Diligent use of sunscreen can also slow or temporarily prevent the development of wrinkles and sagging skin. Additional significant details can be located at this site:

Although the words suntan lotion and sunscreen are commonly used interchangeably, according to pediatric specialist, Dr. Vincent Iannelli, you won't find any products claiming to be suntan lotions anymore. Instead, a product that is considered to be a suntan lotion is usually a sunscreen with an SPF of less than 15. These 'tanning' sunscreens, which typically have an SPF 4 to SPF 8, do not provide enough sun protection, especially for kids.

Some dark tanning oils do not even contain any sunscreen ingredients and may even include a tanning accelerator. Suntan lotion products and tanning oils include:

·         Bain de Soleil Mega Tan Sunscreen With Self Tanner, SPF 4
·         Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 4
·         Banana Boat Dark Tanning Oil Spray (Contains No Sunscreen)
·         Banana Boat UltraMist Continuous Spray Sunscreen, Deep Tanning Dry Oil, SPF 8
·         Hawaiian Tropic Dry Oil Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 6
·         Panama Jack Trophy Oil, Full Sun Continuous Oil Spray (Contains No Sunscreen)

Since they don't provide enough sun protection, instead of a suntan lotion or tanning oil, kids should only use a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Much more detailed information can be found at this website:

According to the LiveStrong Foundation, if you perspire heavily or engage in outdoor physical activity, pick a waterproof or sport sunscreen. To protect your face, check labels to find products for sensitive skin or faces. If too many choices lead you to indecision, keep it simple. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 and wear it daily. The Foundation provides an overview of the top 10 sunscreens on the market available to consumers. More information about that material is available at this site:

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S where 1 in 8 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 50 will get melanoma. This makes skin protection important for everyone, according to Dr. Aaron Hartman with Family Practice Associates in Virginia. The best sunscreens are those that block both UVA and UVB light from damaging your skin and will last all day without reapplying. Think of UVA as the “aging” rays and UVB as the “burning” rays. Most sunscreens protect against UVB rays, while not really protecting against UVA.

This explains why often people would spend a day in the sun and not burn, but notice the freckles on their skin got darker or they became more tan/brown. Most commercial sunscreens today use chemicals that absorb UVA or UVB but then over a few hours they break down and no longer work. They also often only block UVA2 and not UVA1 which also can affect your skin. The best sun protectants are sunblocks that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These block both UVA1/UVA2 and UVB and, if applied correctly and you do not sweat or get into water, they can last all day.

SPF measures only UVB protection, which causes sunburns, but does not reflect UVA protection. UVA exposure has been associated with melanoma and other kinds of skin cancer. A SPF of “2” blocks 50% of UVB radiation, a SPF of “10” blocks 90%, SPF 15 blocks 93% and SPF 30 blocks 97%. So you can see that once you get to a SPF of 15 you don't get much additional sunburn protection. You should look for a product with excellent UVA protection.  More details can be found at this website:

Suntan lotion, sunscreens, and sun blocks are used year round, but those products need scrutiny by you for your use and for your protection from the sun’s rays. When purchasing products like these, it pays to do your homework. Sometimes, cheaper isn’t always better, especially when your health is at risk. If you need more guidance, consult your family doctor or a healthcare specialist. Fun in the sun can be great, but it has its risks. Be careful to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious skin injuries by using quality sun protection products.

Until next time.
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