We seem to forget that skin is our largest organ. Not only does it cover our whole body, holding everything in place and keeping germs out, but it also regulates body temperature and fluids.
With our skin being so valuable it is important to protect it.
According to www.skincancer.org, “One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.” This quote by the Skin Cancer Foundation is quite alarming, but skin cancer is preventable.
“Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” –Proverbs 2:11
Social events, jobs, sports, and recreation often bring us outdoors for long periods of time. Being knowledgeable about what sun protection measures will actually protect you and can keep you from becoming part of these alarming statistics.
How can you protect your skin?
The American Cancer Society suggests the “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap! Rules”. These rules include: protective clothing made of tight woven fabrics, broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm of 30 SPF, wide- brimmed hats that cover your face, ears, and neck, and 100% UVA and UVB absorption sunglasses. For those that work outdoors these precautions are especially important. For those that love spending all day in the warm sun tanning their skin, beware.
God has given us beautiful beaches and gorgeous natural landscapes to enjoy. Being outdoors is not bad, just be sure to have fun while protecting your valuable skin. According to The Today Show, not all sunscreens work equally:
3 things to keep in mind while selecting the right sunscreen:
- Added chemicals:
-Oxybenzone: The Environmental Working Group says 56% of sunscreens contain the chemical Oxybenzone which absorbs UV light, but can also be absorbed through the skin. The FDA has approved this ingredient, but some toxicology experts believe oxybenzone alters hormones and may lead to cell damage.
-Vitamin A/ retinyl palmitate: A vitamin A derivative called retinyl palmitate found in many sunscreens in another chemical that may be harmful. According to ewg.org, scientist have determined that retinyl palmitate and ultraviolet light developed skin tumors in mice.
- The truth about SPF:
SPF only blocks UVB rays, not UVA. Also, a high SPF does not provide longer protection; it still needs to re-apply often. Studies show that an SPF of 15 can block 93% of UVB rays while an SPF of 50 blocks 98%. Productivity does not increase much more, so buying a SPF of 100 may even been more harmful if its expensive price leads to conservative use.
- Use lotions over sprays:
Lotions allow for more even and thicker distribution than a spray. Sprays may also pose an inhalation risk.
Let’s keep it simple:
- Use SPF of 15-50.
- Choose options that include both UVA and UVB protection
- Avoid chemicals such as oxybenzone and vitamin A/ retinyl palmitate
- Choose lotions over sprays
- Apply regularly especially after water use
For further guidance consumer reports released their recommendations as well.
Consumer Reports recommends these seven sunscreens:
- Banana Boat’s Ultra Defense Max Skin Protect SPF 110 spray, at $1.75 an ounce.
- BullFrog Water Armor Sport InstaCool SPF 50+ spray, at $1.67 an ounce. This was one of the two screens that lived up to its SPF claim.
- CoppertoneWater Babies SPF 50, at $1.38 an ounce.
- Neutrogena Ultimate Sport SPF 70+ lotion, at $2.75 an ounce.
- Target’s Up & Up Spray Sport SPF 50 spray, at $0.80 an ounce.
- Walgreens’ Well Sport SPF 50 spray, at $1.58 an ounce
- Walmart’s Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50, at $0.56 an ounce.
These 13 did not earn recommended ratings:
- Alba Botanica Very EmollientSport SPF 45, at $2.75 an ounce.
- Banana Boat Kids SPF 50, at $1.25 an ounce.
- Banana Boat Sport Performance CoolZone SPF 30 spray, at $1.42 an ounce.
- Beyond Coastal Natural SPF 30, at $4 an ounce.
- California Baby Super Sensitive SPF 30+, at $6.90 an ounce.
- Coppertone Sensitive Skin SPF 50, at $1.67 an ounce. This sunscreen lived up to its SPF claim, but only earned a “fair” rating for UVA protection.
- Coppertone Sport High Performance SPF 30 spray, at $1.67 an ounce.
- Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple SPF 50, at $1.31 an ounce.
- CVS Sheer Mist SPF 30 spray, at $1.80 an ounce.
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist SPF 30 spray, at $1.90 an ounce.
- No-Ad Sport SPF 50, at $0.63 an ounce.
- Target’s Up & Up Kids SPF 50, at $0.64 an ounce.
- Walgreens’ Well Baby SPF 50, at $0.80 an ounce.
Enjoy the sun
The sun can actually be healthy for us in small amounts. It is an excellent source of vitamin D which helps our bodies absorb calcium. Being knowledgeable about staying safe while in the sun will help you to enjoy its natural beauty and warmth while staying healthy.
“Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” Ecclesiastes 11:7