Tag Archives: UVB

Easy ways to stay sun safe (from excuses we always make!) – Metta Murdaya

13 Jun
bad sunburn

This JUARA Girl was bad bad bad! Never do this.

Despite all we know about UV protection and taking care of your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, we all goof up and get burned. I admit, (see pic) that I did. On one vacation a while ago, I got a pretty horrific burn,  so I implore to you – don’t lose to bad judgment like I did, and fall for the (common) excuses people make to procrastinate putting on protection. Have you fallen victim or used any of these excuses? Well don’t. If a picture tells a thousand words, may the photo of me here be that one. Ouch.

“I’m only in the sun for like, 2 hours. No biggie” Wrong. I was only out in the sun for 2 hours too when I got this burn.

“It’s cloudy out.  I don’t need protection, I won’t burn.” Wrong. UV rays still pass through the atmosphere, rain or shine. Plus, burning isn’t the first sign of sun damage, it’s usually the 3-alarm fire point as the damage started much earlier.

“I already got the tan, I won’t burn.” or “My skin is darker, I won’t burn.” But you’re still getting the same amount of damage whether you burn or not! And yes, you still can burn! (Had enough of my ‘you can burn!’ jingle yet?)

“I’ll have another drink on the beach, please…” Sounds like the dream vacation, but be careful with that one – if you get burned, dehydration commonly comes with it. When you drink alcohol, you can become dehydrated and it can exacerbate the sunburn. I was at a wedding the evening before, and was dehydrated the next afternoon when I went to the beach. Plus, I was in the water for almost 2 hours – a double whammy of UV rays + dehydration seriously leaving me open to bake – an added risk for beach swimmers.

So – help yourself protect yourself. Many of us DO apply sunblock – just not enough, nor often enough. So here are some tips to keep you on your sun protection game more easily:

1. Carry a small tube of sunblock in your purse in an often visited pocket so you have no excuse not to apply, or reapply every few hours. Get a higher SPF than you think you need, because chances are, you’re not applying enough so your SPF won’t be as effective for as long as you think it is. (Ie: Too little of the SPF 50 might work more like an SPF 30… Too little SPF 15, and it might not work at all…) My personal favorite sunscreen brand: La Roche Posay. Also, they’re having a “Save our Skin” campaign, raising awareness about sun protection and reducing skin cancer here. Join the cause of SOS from La Roche-Posay, and they will make a donation, and to organizations  like the the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS) and The Skin Cancer Foundation, that also educate the public regarding proper sun safe behavior.

2. Wear a hat, or carry one with you when you go in the sun. Too bulky? Check these rollable visors out, poppable in your bag and they’re not cheesy! Not a replacement for sunscreen, but it’s convenient added protection with fashionable benefits.

3. For you product junkies out there, try different sunscreens that you know are good and keep them in often visited locations – and keep sampling! It makes applying sunblock fun, like you’re shopping for your favorite sunscreen! (Did I like the one in the office better, or the one at home? Hmm, need to try again, and again…) I flip between my Garnier, La Roche Posay, and ROC, compare scent, texture, feel, it’s fun.

4. Take the remembering out of reapplying – set daily alarms on your phone/blackberry/iphone for several times a day to remind you to put on sunscreen. You can get creative with your messages, “For eternal youth, reapply sunscreen NOW!” And with that tube in your bag, should be no problem. Or do it via post-it notes in places you visit often before leaving a building (medicine cabinet at home, office computer, work locker, etc.) You can also make fun notes for your friends/family that way too

5. Pass this to a friend – make a pact when with friends to commit to helping each other stay protected! When you reapply that you email/text/call them to remind them to do the same. Don’t you all want to stay youthful looking?

Note: Beachgoers need to reapply more often, especially if you go into the water. And for every colorful alcoholic drink you have, make sure to drink several glasses of water to rehydrate!

Side note: I also get asked “Do you have anything that can help my burn?”  The answer is YES – The Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is an excellent cooling and hydrating, (oil free!) serum to soothe and calm burns). That was my savior!

Any tips you have to make staying sun-safe fun?

Advertisements

UV Index and Your Skin – Jill Sung

21 May

Thanks, EPA! Click on me to read this monster table

We love our skin and we want to protect it, but what’s all this stuff about UV radiation, sun protection, SPF, UVA, UVB? So many words and abbreviations, so little time. Last time, we discussed UV radiation very briefly, and then skin type and why it is important to know your type. Okay, you say, I know my Fitzpatrick skin type, what do I do now? Remember that UV radiation’s effect on your skin depends not just on your skin type, but also on the amount of sun exposure you recently received and you will receive.

How Much UV is Really Out There?

The UV Index is a nifty number created by the EPA and National Weather Service that is calculated daily (1 day prior) which indicates the strength of solar UV radiation that reaches the Earth through the protective ozone layer on a scale of 1 (low) to 11+ (very high). And conveniently, you can find your location on a map or enter your zip code/city and state to get the UV index for your location. I just checked for New York (it’s cloudy and muggy today), and our it’s a UV Index of 6/High.  So there’s one jewel of information – EVEN CLOUDY DAYS HAVE LOTS OF UV!

Tips for Skin Health related to UV Index

  • Check the UV Index daily: links to downloadable apps and facebook or bookmark the website link for UV index
  • UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m (long shadow- less exposure; short shadow/mid-day – more exposure)
  • Water, Snow and Sand (sometimes even clouds)  reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn – sometimes doubling your UV radiation exposure!
  • High elevations = more UV exposure

So add this to your list of good habits! And let me know what other helpful tips you know or do to check and deal with your daily sun exposure. Next time…what to wear! My favorite…

Sun Protection: What NOT to rely on and why – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

17 May

One way to protec your skin from the sun…

We all know by now:  Sun can be dangerous to the health of our skin.  Sun exposure is the #1 culprit for premature aging and skin cancer.  While the days of sprawling your baby-oiled body in the mid-day sun are over, there are still many misconceptions about sun protection and about what works and what doesn’t.  Here are my top 5 of what you should not rely on for protection:

1) Clouds & Shades

Clouds and shades will not adequately protect you from the sun.  UV rays penetrate through even thicker clouds and reach our skin.  Your skin may not feel as hot on a cloudy day, but the rays are still damaging to the skin.  Sitting in the shade is better than sitting in the sun, but may only provide an SPF15, due to UV-rays reflecting off of surrounding surfaces (water, sand, buildings) and reaching our skin.

2) SPF

SPF only indicates the level of protection from UVB-rays.  We now know that UVA-rays are just as damaging to the skin.  The beauty and healthcare industry has yet to come up with a standardized system to rate UVA-protection in cosmetics.  Until then, look for key words like “broad-spectrum protection” and active ingredients like Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Ecamsule (Mexoryl), Bemotrizinol (Tinosorb S) and Bisoctrizole (Tinosorb M).

3) Clothing

While putting on a T-shirt is definitely far better than not having any protection, keep in mind that a simple white T-shirt only holds a sun protection factor equivalent to SPF6!  The darker and thicker the fabric, the higher the protection.  Alternatively, look for special sun protection clothing with an UPF (usually goes up to UPF50).  You can also buy a special laundry-aid like Sun Guard, which will wash an UPF30 into your garments.

4) Make-up with sun protection

With growing awareness about sun protection, makeup companies have been quick to add sun screen into their foundations and powders.  The problem is that most people will never apply enough foundation or powder to achieve the indicated protection level, because they would look like a clown.  Rather than think of makeup as the base of your protection, think of it as the icing on the cake.  Use your regular sunscreen and apply broad-spectrum makeup or powder for added protection.

5) Your body’s alarm system

Our bodies are amazing at telling us what we need.  Unfortunately, with sun exposure, your body will not sound the alarm bell as soon as your skin is being damaged.  By the time your body tells you, i.e. your skin feels hot and stingy or changes color, the damage has already been done.

What are your foolproof ways to stay protected in the sun?

Your Skin and UV Rays – Jill Sung

14 May

We’re always talking about how to protect yourself from UV damage, but never about the UV itself or why. So a brief overview! (We’ll delve deeper in days to come…so please stay tuned.)

UV Primer: What is it?

Any time the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays (invisible radiation) are able to reach the earth, there is a risk for excessive sun exposure, meaning radiation that can penetrate and change the structure of your skin cells. Exposure to UV rays appears to be THE most important environmental factor in the development of skin cancer and has also been associated with various forms of eye damage, such as cataracts .  UVA and UVB have been shown to increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

There are three types of UV rays: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC).

  • UVA: most abundant source of solar radiation at the earth’s surface, and penetrates beyond the top layer of your skin to cause damage to connective tissue
  • UVB:less abundant at the earth’s surface than UVA because a significant portion of UVB is absorbed by the ozone layer,  does not penetrate as deep into the skin as UVA does, but is still damaging
  • UVC: extremely hazardous to skin, but it is completely absorbed by the stratospheric ozone layer so does not reach earth’s surface
Know Thyself : Skin Type

UV radiation’s effect on each person depends on a few factors:

  • skin type
  • time of year
  • amount of sun exposure you’ve recently received

Your skin tone and susceptibility to burning can be checked on the classification chart to the left.  (Incidentally, this chart is also used to determine how you’ll respond to facial treatments.) But why is this important?

Why Should I Know Myself?

When UV rays start penetrating your skin,  the skin’s melanocytes kick into high gear and start producing melanin (dark pigment that gives skin its color – tan or skin tone), which results in a tan. People with fair skin, however, tend to burn, because they have fewer melanocytes and produce less melanin.

Knowing your skin tone is probably most important to help you prevent SKIN CANCER.  Skin tone types I-III (in red) have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than  types IV-VI. That means you need to do more to protect yourself. But those with darker skin tones don’t get away with it that easily either, you might be able to wear a lower SPF sunscreen, but no one is immune to ultraviolet rays and the damage they cause. (according to American Cancer Society)

Ok, so that’s it for now. What’s your skin type?  Any questions before we move on to UV Index then how to protect yourself?

Top 5 reasons why your sunscreen might give you a false sense of security – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

5 May

Ah… summer… we’ve been waiting for you for so long.  T’is the season to go to the beach and enjoy, until you realize one day your skin is hot, red and damaged.  With store shelves filled with masses of high-SPF sunscreen bottles and sprays, how is it that people still end up with serious sun damage year after year?  Here are the top 5 reasons why your sunscreen may give you a false sense of security:

1)   Trusting a high SPF

SPF30 is better than SPF15 but it does NOT give you double the protection.  SPF15 filters out about 93 percent of the UVB rays; SPF30 filters about 97 percent of UVB rays. Once you go above SPF30, the added protection gets even more marginal.  Some dermatologists even suggest not going above an SPF30 because the added skin-irritating chemicals of a higher SPF outweigh the benefits of the added sun protection.

2)      Trusting that SPF is the end-all be-all

SPF only protects from UVB-rays so read labels carefully.  A sunscreen that sports an impressive SPF but contains no UVA-protection in the form of Avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide or Ecamsule (Mexoryl) will not shield your skin from the rays that age your skin, and as we now know, also cause cancer.

3)      Not using enough sunscreen

You need about a 1-ounce shot glass full of sunscreen to properly protect the skin on your body.  If you buy a 4-ounce bottle of sunscreen, the bottle should be empty after 4 applications.  So that person who pours a dime-size into their palms and rubs it all over may feel protected, but really isn’t.

4)      Not re-applying often enough

Heat and humidity in the summer make us sweat more.  All of that perspiring  makes the sunscreen on our skin less effective.  Add to that a dip in the pool or ocean and drying your skin with a towel, and you probably have hardly any sunscreen left on your skin.  Doctors recommend reapplying every 2 hours or after being in the water.

5)      When enough is enough

Once you feel the heat and stinging in your skin, you’re already well on your way to a burn.  No amount of sunscreen can stop that process.  It’s time to just get out of the sun, period.

What are your favorite and most trusted tips and tricks to protect your skin from the sun?