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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Skin Cancer And Sunscreen- A Must Read

                                                    Reapplying sunscreen at the beach.

If you didn't hear or read the latest news on sunscreen protection released by the government yesterday, read on.  The government is requiring all sunscreen manufacturers to change their labels by next summer to better inform the public.  What is sad is that European countries made these changes 5 years ago.  Think you've been getting the maximum protection from your sunscreen?  Think again.  No sunscreen is waterproof or sweat proof so it needs to be reapplied more often than you think.  Do you know the difference between UVB and UVA rays?  If not, you are setting yourself up to be a victim of skin cancer.

So what you ask?  I'd rather be tan, I want to look good and have fun.  Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S.?  Skin cancer has increased 45% between 1992 and 2004.  That means 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer sometime in their life.  It also means that 1 person dies from skin cancer every hour!  Worse yet, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer for people in their 20's.  Still like your tan?

I'm going to write about skin cancer and sunscreens today and again on Tuesday as there is so much important information to share.  Today, I will concentrate on sunscreen so you can buy the best available and start applying it properly for all your outdoor activities.

Consumer Reports tested sunscreens for effectiveness against UVB and UVA rays.  I admit I was quite surprised and none of the brands I buy made the list.  It is extremely important that you buy sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays so read the ingredient list.  Buy sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 but anything over 50 really hasn't been shown to be more effective.  Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside and adults should use an amount equivalent to a shot glass full.  THEN, you must reapply every 2 to 3 hours!  If you are outside for 6 hours, you should use up an entire average sized tube of sunscreen.

 Here is the list of the top nine.
1.  Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30
2.  Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweat proof
3.   CVS Fast Cover Sport
4.  Up and UP Sport
5.  No Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E.
6.  Equate Baby
7.  Walgreens Sport
8.  Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist
9.  Banana Boat Sport Performance  SPF 100

The SPF factor doesn't matter as much as the ingredients in a sunscreen.  Look for Zinc, Titanium and Parsol 1789 among the ingredients for the best protection.  Try to avoid the sun between the hours of noon and 3 p.m. when the sun's rays are at their strongest.  If you can, wear clothing that has an SPF factor built in or at least a hat and a T-shirt that isn't see through.

Don't fool yourself; UV rays can do their damage on cloudy days.  You also should wear sunscreen all year round, even in the winter.  If you are at the beach, sit under a thick umbrella and always seek out shade.  I myself try to do all outdoor activities before 10 a.m. or after 4 or 5 p.m., mostly because I hate the heat.  But I also realized a long time ago that the sun ages your skin and started protecting my skin in my teens.  No, I haven't always been as careful as I should but this information will make me do better.

Next week I will explain UVA and UVB rays and give more information on skin cancers and how the sun does it's damage.  I'm hoping my readers will take this information to heart.  Skin cancer is very avoidable and you could save the life of someone you love.

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