Healthful Sun Tips and SPF Facts
Do you remember the song “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy?” That’s a sentiment shared by thousands of men, women, and children who take full advantage of the local sunshine, or sunshine on distant shores to either romp or simply vegetate. Although fun and relaxing these activities do pose some definite risks.
The sun’s light can be broken down into groups, or “spectrum’s:” Light we can see, “visible light” (i.e. colors of the rainbow), and light we cannot “ultraviolet light” (i.e x-rays, etc.). Ultraviolet light can be further subdivided into; ultraviolet A (UVA) which does not cause reddening or pain, and ultraviolet B (UVB) which does!
Remember, UVA = Aging and UVB = Burning!
Here are your Healthful Sun Facts and Tips to help you and your family be safe this summer.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) What is it?
The SPF is the amount of UV radiation required to cause sunburn on skin with sunscreen on, compared to the amount required without sunscreen. Each numeric unit in the SPF ratings indicate 20 minutes of protection before burning would occur. Therefore, an SPF 1 offers 20 minutes of protection. An SPF-10 offers 200 minutes, and so on.
Sunblock/Sunscreen (SB/SC) what’s the difference?
Sunblocks are products with an SPF-rating of 50 or higher! More opaque and stronger than a sunscreen, thus not having to be reapplied as often. Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are two of the important ingredients in sunblock.
Sunscreens are those with an SPF-rating of less than 50.
Sunscreen is more transparent, with ingredients that have the ability to break down at a faster rate once exposed to sunlight, and some of the radiation is able to penetrate to the skin. Some of the commercially available (SC/SB) only offer protection against UVB which prevents the various skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanomas, and not UVA. Be mindful that using UVB protection consistently, can cause a deficiency of vitamin D. Getting some sun without it for 15 minutes and then applying will allow for greater vitamin D absorption. Fortunately, the newer broad spectrum sunscreens – such as Photoplex – are designed to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
TIP: Get in the habit of applying sunscreen, at least to your face, every morning when you brush your teeth. Be sure to include the back of the neck and ears as well. (If you drive for a living, consider applying sunscreen to your left/window arm too!)
Our bodies produce sweat as a cooling mechanism in hot weather. The evaporation of the sweat from our bodies is what cools us down. Sweat contains both salt (sodium) and water. Drinking lots of plain water replenishes the fluid losses. Keep in mind that our bodies are 80% water!
Alcohol can lead to further dehydration, therefore, it’s best to avoid it!
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be FELT with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller
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