Fitness Facts: Sunscreen basics

April 10, 2018 / by / 1 Comment
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Connie Colbert

By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic

Everyone needs sunscreen. Sunscreen can help prevent cancer by protecting you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop some sort of skin cancer in their lifetime. Here’s a Q&A about it:

When should I use sunscreen?

Every day if you will be outside. The sun emits rays year round. Even cloudy days are harmful. Also, remember that snow, sand and water increase the need for sunscreen because they reflect the sun’s rays.

How much sunscreen should I use, and how often should I reapply it?

Use enough to coat all exposed skin. Don’t forget your ears, neck, face, hands and arms.

Apply to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.

Skin cancer also can form on the lips. Apply lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating, following to the directions on the bottle.

What type of sunscreen should I use?

The best type of sunscreen is the one you will use again. The most important factor is that it offers broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water resistant.

A few guidelines:

  • Creams are best for dry skin and the face.
  • Gels are good for hairy areas, such as scalp or male chest.
  • Sticks are good to use around the eyes.
  • Sprays are often preferred by parents since they are easy to apply.
  • There also are more specialized products for sensitive skin and for babies.
  • Regardless of what product you choose, be sure to apply generously for the UV protection indicated on the label.

Will using sunscreen limit the amount of Vitamin D I get?

Sunscreen may decease your skin’s production of Vitamin D. If you are concerned about not getting enough Vitamin D, you should discuss your options for getting Vitamin D from other sources

What if I get a sunburn?

It is important to treat sunburn as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your skin.

Dermatologists suggest:

  • Cool baths to reduce heat
  • Moisturizer to help the discomfort caused by dryness. Apply after you get out of the shower and/or bath. Gently pat your skin dry but leave a little moisture. Apply moisturizer to keep the water in your skin.
  • Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help the pain and discomfort
  • Drink extra water. Sunburn pulls fluid to the skin and away from the rest of the body. Drinking water can prevent dehydration.
  • Do NOT treat burns with “caine,” such as benzocaine.

If your skin blisters:

Allow the blisters to heal without popping them.

If the blisters cover a large area or you have chills, headache or a fever, seek medical care as soon as possible.

And avoid further sun exposure until your skin heals.


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One Response
  1. Marc Sorenson

    Please read all the research before advocating sun deprivation. Regular, non-burning sun exposure is vital to human health, and sunscreens will inhibit the production of vitamin D by 99%. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know:
    Eighteen major cancers are reduced by regular, non-burning sun exposure, and one of those is melanoma. 75% of melanomas occur on areas of the body that seldom or never experience sun exposure.
    Research shows that for every death caused by diseases that are associated with sun exposure, there are about 328 deaths caused by diseases that are associated with sun deprivation. In the U.S, sun exposure has decreased by 90% since 1935. During that time the risk of melanoma has increased by 3,000%! Isn’t it interesting that each year the use of sunscreen increases, and each year the risk of contracting melanoma increases? It is not sun exposure that causes health problems; it is sun deprivation. And, it is leading to 336,000 deaths yearly in the U.S. There has also been an 8,300% increase in vitamin D deficiency in children since 2000, which is likely due to insufficient time playing outdoors and/or sunscreen use. So you see, all of this “protection” may be fatal. In addition, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released information that 73% of sunscreens don’t work and some may be counterproductive. Here are more facts you should know:
    •A 20-year Swedish study demonstrated a 23% reduced risk of all-cause death among those women who used sunbeds (tanning beds).
    •Women who actively seek the sun have half the risk of death compared with those who avoid the sun.
    •A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip-fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
    •Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
    •Women who avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
    •Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
    •Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.
    •Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
    •Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, essential to a properly functioning nervous system.
    For more information:: sunlightinstitute.org

    Apr.12.2018 at 4:02 pm
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