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The Complete Summer Skin Care Guide

Over one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer and 90 percent of those cancers will be the result of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds. UV rays penetrate into the dermis and generate free radicals that can alter our DNA, the genetic material of all living cells.
In reasonable amounts, exposure to the sun is beneficial. Natural sunlight has a germicidal effect and produces vitamin D in the skin. UV radiation can be used to treat rickets, psoriasis, and acne. Exposure to UV rays also stimulates the skin's production of melanin, which causes a tan and helps protect the skin from further damage. But deep tanning is another matter, and although a deep tan may look healthy, it is really a sign that the skin is under attack from UV radiation.
Erythema, or redness of the skin is an inflammatory response, which usually appears within six hours of exposure to UV rays. The degree of redness is an indication of the amount of damage done to the skin. With each blistering sunburn, the chance of developing skin cancer is increased by 10 percent. Smoking also increases UV damage because of the formaldehyde produced in cigarette smoke.
Sunlight is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Sunlight is made up of varying wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. About 35 percent is visible light, 60 percent is infrared radiation, and 5 percent is made up of UV rays. UV wavelengths range from 200nm to 400nm and are further divided as follows:
UVC rays (from 200-290 nm) are the most energetic, but are the least penetrating. UVC rays are not a concern because most UVC radiation is blocked by ozone in the atmosphere and never reaches the earth.
UVB rays (from 290-320nm) are often referred to as the burning rays and are the UV radiation wavelengths most responsible for causing erythema and tanning. Erythema is used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreens and indicate the sunscreen's ability to block UVB rays. This measurement is known as the Sun Protection Factor (SPF).
An SPF 2 blocks 50 percent of UVB rays, which allows you to stay in the sun twice as long as you would be able to without any protection. Increasing the SPF increases the protection. An SPF 15 blocks 93.3 percent of UVB and an SPF of 30 blocks 96.9 percent of UVB. But notice that doubling the SPF does not double the protection. In this case, it only increases UVB protection by 3.6 percent; at higher SPFs, the increase is even less. Although doubling the SPF doesn't double the protection, it does greatly increase the potential for sensitivity due to the increase in the concentration of active ingredients. UVB sunscreens include: ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octocrylene, phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid, benzophenone and titanium dioxide.
UVA rays (from 320-400nm) are the longest wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation and the closest to visible light. UVA is commonly known as "black light." UVA plays only a minor role in erythema and tanning, so although its affects may not be as obvious or acute as UVB, UVA exposure is every bit as damaging. UVA wavelengths are the least energetic, but penetrate the deepest. Since UVA penetrates into the dermis, it contributes substantially to chronic sun damage.
Remember that SPFs only indicate protection from UVB rays and do not indicate protection from UVA rays. A sunscreen with a high SPF may provide adequate protection from UVB rays but offer little or no protection from UVA exposure. Make sure the sunscreen you use contains both UVB and UVA protection. Approved UVA sunscreens include: avobenzone, benzophenone-3, oxybenzone, octocrylene, menthyl anthranilate, butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane, and zinc oxide.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a new Sunscreen Monograph on August 27, 2007. The FDA proposal provides a rating system for UVA sunscreen products on a scale of one to four stars. One star indicates low UVA protection, two stars indicate medium protection, three starts indicate high protection and four starts indicate the highest UVA protection available in non-prescription sunscreen products.
Many sun protection products claim to use non-chemical sunscreens like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Although these inorganic sunscreens are still chemicals, they protect by physically reflecting UV rays. Traditional organic sunscreens protect by chemically absorbing UV rays. Inorganic sunscreens decrease the potential for skin irritation and sensitivity that can be caused by organic sunscreens, especially at the high concentrations required for higher SPFs. There is also some concern about unwanted chemical reactions that may take place on the skin when organic sunscreens absorb UV rays.
Although UV radiation is often referred to as UV light, UV rays are above the visible spectrum of light. UV radiation is invisible and not really light at all. Since you can't see the UV rays that cause sunburn, it's advisable to protect yourself from the sun even on cloudy days. Although clouds block visible light, they offer little protection from damaging UV rays. products make it possible to tan safely without the sun. Self-tanners contain the ingredient dihydroxyacetone that reacts with the proteins on the skin's surface to turn them golden brown and simulate a natural tan.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) current ruling regulating the manufacture and labeling of sunscreen products became effective on January 1, 2003. A new proposed FDA ruling will make some changes and improvements in the current regulations.
1. There is currently no acceptable definition of the term "Broad Spectrum" and no standard test for UVA protection. The new FDA ruling will provide a four star rating system for UVA protection.
2. Consumers who want maximum sun protection often purchase the product with the highest SPF. Most are not aware that SPFs over 30 provide little added protection and greatly increase the concerns associated with high concentrations of organic sunscreen ingredients. The maximum SPF claim allowed on the product label is currently SPF30 or SPF30 plus. The new FDA proposal raises the ceiling on SPF values to 50+. For maximum protection, apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun. Apply evenly and generously and reapply every hour.
3. Since there is no official definition of the term "natural" and all sunscreen products contain chemicals, and terms "natural," "non-chemical," and "chemical free" are considered false and misleading and are not approved. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are inorganic chemicals.
4. Because all sunscreens allow some UV rays to penetrate the skin, the term "sunblock" is not approved.


1 comment:

  1. Hi
    nice blog.Thank you for sharing this.skin care is indeed a very basic problem these days.
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