Sun Protection for Healthy Skin: 5 Tips by Sharmani Pillay

Sharmani Pillay is a Pharmacist and founder of Apothekari Dermaceuticals.  

Apothekari’s line of evidence-based skin care solutions results in products that are safe, effective and stable. The line is designed to improve the health, appearance and feel of your skin. With an attention to detail, Apothekari ensures products are formulated with ingredients at optimal concentrations and manufactured to ensure their stability. While the marketing term ‘natural’ may be interpreted in many different ways, this scientific skin care line focuses on treatments that benefit the skin without causing harm.

APOTHEKARI is Free From: Parabens, SLS/SLES, Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Synthetic Fragrances & Colorants, Silicones. Cruelty-Free & Never Tested on Animals.

 

Sun Protection for Healthy Skin: 5 Tips

It’s well known that unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is the leading cause of skin cancer. In fact, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) are now the most common types of cancer in white populations with an increasing incidence rate worldwide. On the more positive flip side, both types now have a stable or decreasing mortality rate. (Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;810:120-40. Epidemiology of skin cancer. Leiter U, Eigentler T, Garbe C.)

It’s thought that the rising incidence rates of skin cancer are probably caused by a combination of:

  • Increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) or sun light
  • Increased outdoor activities
  • Changes in clothing style
  • Longer life expectancy
  • Ozone depletion
  • Genetics

and in some cases, immune suppression. Additionally, people with many moles, fair skin, a family history of melanoma or certain inherited conditions (xeroderma pigmentosum, retinoblastoma, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Werner syndrome, and certain hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes), have an increased risk of developing melanoma. Employ extra caution and have regular check-ups with your physician if this is the case.

In this article, let’s look at how to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful effects and help minimize your chances of developing skin cancer.

 

1. Protect Against the Full UV Spectrum. The sun emits 3 types of rays – UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC rays burn off before they reach the earth’s atmosphere so we are left with UVA and UVB rays to worry about.

UVA rays, often referred to as the AGING rays, pass through glass and clouds and are around all year round. They are associated with premature aging of the skin, including wrinkling and sagging and also play a role in basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. UVB rays cause BURNING. They cannot penetrate through windows and are more prevalent during the summer. Responsible for sunburns, they are more closely linked with the development of skin cancer and melanoma. It’s important to protect yourself against both types of rays.

2. Choose a Good Sunscreen. Most health experts including The Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) recommends the use of a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 (Sun Protection Factor) to ensure adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. An SPF 30 sunscreen blocks about 97% of UVB rays; SPF 60 blocks approximately 99%. Ensure that the formulation you use contains ingredients that are photo-stable, meaning that they won’t degrade upon exposure to sunlight. Choosing an effective formulation can be confusing – this chart helps to break things down. https://apothekari.com/2018/06/safest-sunscreen/ If you will be exercising, swimming or perspiring heavily opt for a water resistant formulation to ensure that your sunscreen stays on and remember to reapply often.

3. Apply Sunscreen Every Day. Sunscreen should be applied daily, year round, even in winter. Winter sun won’t result in sunburns, but the damaging effects of UVA rays not only prematurely age skin, but also contribute to the development of skin cancer.

4. Apply Enough. Studies have shown that most of us don’t apply enough sunscreen, leaving us without adequate protection. How much to apply? Apply generously and follow the guideline of “1 ounce, enough to fill a shot glass,” which dermatologists consider the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body. 1/4 teaspoon is generally considered enough for the face. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. Don’t forget your lips, ears, hands, feet and décolleté if they will be exposed. Reapply sunscreen approximately every 2 hours or after swimming or perspiring as per container instructions.

5. Employ Smart Sun Habits. While the importance of sunscreen shouldn’t be downplayed, it’s just as important to practice smart sun habits:

  • Limit sun exposure between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Seek shade.
  • Cover up with sun-protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants and a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck, and ears. UV-protective sunglasses are also recommended.
  • Be careful around reflective surfaces. Water, snow, and sand reflect UV rays and increase your risk of sunburn.
  • Certain medications and skin conditions can increase your sun sensitivity. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure.

What About Vitamin D?

We need sunshine to produce Vitamin D so you may be concerned that sun protection will reduce your body’s production of vitamin D. While this is true, some research suggests that less than 15 minutes of sunlight exposure may be enough for most people to produce enough vitamin D. If you have darker skin or are older, discuss with your doctor how to get enough vitamin D in your diet or with supplements.

Sun protection not only promotes healthy and youthful looking skin, it also helps to minimize your risk for the development of skin cancer. Be safe in the sun this summer!