One of my Dad's favorite greetings was "you look great...you got some sun today". He loved to see you with a pink nose, cheeks, and shoulders. To him a little sun made you healthy, and showed that you had spent a day outdoors having fun.
Dad was a pharmacist, with a pre-cancerous spot removed, he knew the dangers of the sun. But he just loved the beach, tennis court, backyard croquet and wiffle ball. His idea sunscreen was a nice soft t-shirt and a Red Sox hat.
However, we know a lot more about the dangers of the sun today then back then. We now know about skin cancer and premature aging to the skin. So, is SUN = FUN still safe?
The answer: It is if you use common sense and sunscreen.
2. I don't burn, I tan--or-- I have a base tan, I won't burn.
Wrong again. Read answer #1 again.
3. It's cloudy out.
Clouds only block up to 20% of UV rays. That's not enough for you to skip sunscreen completely.
4. I'll be in the water the whole time.
Water does not block any UV rays of any kind.
5. I hate the smell, sunscreens either smell like coconuts or chemicals.
Some sunscreens have more odor than others, find one that works for you. Pro Tip: the coconut smell, won't fade as the sunscreen dries, but a chemical smell will.
6. I hate the greasy feel.
Me too! Consider different types of application for each area of the body. For example - dermatologists recommend creams for the face, gels for hairier body areas, and sticks for areas around the eye (especially if sensitive) Sprays should be avoided for areas around the face. If they are used for the face, they should be sprayed on the hands and then applied to facial areas. Dry touch lotions are also a good choice.
7. Sunscreen makes me hot.
Don't use so much, dermatolgists suggest one teaspoon to face and scalp and each arm, and two teaspoons to torso and each leg. A handful of lotion for the entire body is sufficient. Take time to apply evenly.
8. It stings my eyes, and skin,
When sunscreen "runs" into your eyes or is applied to skin already over exposed to the sun... it will sting. If you have especially sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist. Remember, apply to sunscreen well before (30 mins) before you leave the house. It will have time to dry, and will keep your skin from being exposed. The least irritaing sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. If your face sweats, try a sweat-resistent product, and a hat.
9. I'm allergic to sunscreen and I've heard some of the ingredients are toxic.
Many people are allergic to the sunscreen chemicals, products with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are usually well tolerated as they don't bind to the skin. Oxybenzone, Octinoxate,Octocrylene, are three chemicals that have been shown to be toxic in extremely high doses. It is believed by most dermatologists the low concentrations in sunscreens are 100% safe. If you are concerned, buy a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. LaRoche-Posay or Neutragena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen are two examples.
10. Sunscreens attracts bees and sand.
Again, apply indoors; wait for it to dry before going outside.
11. Sunscreen isn't safe for babies
If your baby is less than six months old, it is best to keep them out of the sun entirely. Keep them well in the shade or covered and shielded. Check with your baby’s prescriber before using a sunscreen. For older children, follow the directions on the sunscreen bottle. Use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide based producets as these don’t chemically bind to the skin. Banana Boat Kids Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion, Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Face Stick are highly recommended at Olden's Pharmacy.
12. It's a pain to reapply.
Yes, it is a pain, but the intial sunscreen application last 2 hours maximum, (even if you’re using a water-resistant sunscreen) So, every 2 hours, take a break, find some shade, cool down for awhile (enjoy a drink) and reapply the lotion. Apply your sunscreen more often if you are swimming or sweating.
13. I don't understand the SPF scale, so I don't know which one to buy.SPF describes the amount of UVB protection. (i.e., the level protection against sunburns a given sunscreen provides) A sunscreen with SPF 6 would allow an individual to stay in the sun for six times longer without burning compared with the use of no sunscreen. If you are fair skined, burn quickly use a higher number, but remember whatever the number, you need to reapply in 2 hours.
- Most sunscreens are "good" for 3 years, UNLESS exposed to high heat and moisture (like a beach bag), so don't risk it, buy a new bottle every year.
- Don't buy combination bug spray and sunscreen. It is not necessary to reapply bug spray as often as sunscreen.
- Think about sun safety every day, not just when you’re at the pool or the beach. Regular use of a sunscreen can help reduce early skin aging and help you look younger. Plus, it will help protect you from skin cancer. Be vigilant!
Thanks for reading! Remember, we're not anti-sun and fun! Just make sure you find the right product with the correct SPF and you can get that "healthy glow" my Dad loved to see!
Enjoy the sun, and have a happy, safe and healthy summer!