A group of chemists have discovered that adding a mixture of antioxidants to sunscreen enhances its protection from UV radiation. In animal studies, they found that a mixture of various topical antioxidants was more effective than any single antioxidant. They’re the same things we’ve been told we should ingest regularly, in order to prevent the free radicals inside our bodies from causing cancer: black and green tea, grape seeds, and other colorful fruits and vegetables. These all helped prevent sunburn when applied to the skin.
Direct sun exposure is the #1 cause of skin cancer and pre-cancers…something which is so preventable. Due to increased solar activity and thinning of the ozone layer, skin cancer in general is on the rise and the deadly skin cancer melanoma is being seen more frequently in children. A great sunscreen with an SPF of 30 can help.
Sunscreens also protect against wrinkles, dark spots and a more aged look. In time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers breakdown, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. Lines, freckles, yellow discoloration, mottled brown pigmentation, and redness also begin to appear.
Follow these simple tips to avoid and delay those expensive laser treatments, face lifts, and skin cancer treatments down the line:
· Use a sunscreen with an SPF, or sun protection factor of 30 or more. SPF greater than 50 only is about 1% more effective and is a marketing device.
· Start good skin cancer prevention habits in your child… 80 percent of sun exposure and skin damage occurs before we are 18!
· Apply sunscreen ½ hour before going out and reapply every 2-3 hours if outside. After that the sunscreen breaks down in the sun.
· Make sunscreen a part of your daily morning routing, even if you are just driving to work or the sky is overcast. You will still absorb plenty of UV light.
· A sunblock will rate an SPF of 12 or higher and contains a physical sunblock that physically blocks, reflects, or absorbs sunlight so it can’t reach your skin. True physical sunblocks contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
· Don’t forget the sunglasses, UV protected contact lenses and hats with a wide brim.
· There are now many companies which offer clothing with superior sun protection and are available at stores like REI. Get clothing with a UPF or ultraviolet protection factor of 50 or greater. In general, the more tight-weaved and darker the clothing, the better. Plain white tees and white linens only have a UPF of 8 or 9!
· Another simple option is to turn your favorite washable clothing into sun protective wear by adding a packet of Rit Sun Guard Laundry Treatment UV Protectant in with the laundry detergent.