Recently, Prevention Magazine found that only 31% of women wear sunscreen, despite the overwhelming evidence that it should be applied every day. Many of those women who skip SPF said they feel guilty about it, so much so that 69% of women lie to themselves, saying they don’t need sunscreen.
Whatever your excuse may be about UV protectors, Prevention’s got you covered, with myth busting facts about common sunscreen misconceptions. In the June feature “No More Excuses” (see below); Prevention shows consumers that there’s really no good reason to skimp on sunscreen and with the F.D.A.’s new changes, it will be much easier to understand what to look for when buying sunscreen.
· Studies show that many of the safety concerns are not well founded—they’re based on Petri dish or animal data that doesn’t relate to humans.
· For example, in one study, mice fed a whopping dose of oxybenzone, a UV-light absorber commonly found in sunscreen, exhibited estrogenic effects, which the researchers believe could cause cancer cells to grow more rapidly.
· But the truth is it would take more than 250 years for someone who uses sunscreen daily to be exposed to the amount of oxybenzone used in the study.
Still worried? Use a sunscreen like Beyond Coastal Natural SPF 30 Sunscreen ($16; beyondcoastal.com), which has zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in lieu of chemical sunscreens.
Excuse # 2 – “I don’t get a lot of sun”
· You don’t have to be on the beach to soak up rays. Most people rack up 14 hours of casual UV exposure per week.
· One study found that even short spurts of UVA light twice a week resulted in significant damage to the fibers that keep skin smooth and firm in just 12 weeks.
· Makeup and a daily lotion with SPF are great steps, but the protection is short-lived on hot, sunny says, use a swear-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on all sun-exposed areas to be safe.
Excuse # 3 – “It’s a drag to reapply sunscreen”
· Five minutes every 2 hours—that’s all it takes to apply the 1 ounce (2 table=-spoons) of sunscreen recommended for protection when you’re in a bathing suit or outdoors for extended periods.
· And when it’s time to reapply, new sprays like Aveeno Hydrosport Sunblock Spray SPF 85 ($10; drugstores) makes it less of a hassle and even adhere to wet skin. Easy, right?
Excuse # 4 – “Sunscreen is too expensive”
· As long as you pick one that clearly states it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, there’s no need to break the bank when buying. “
· Research doesn’t show any relationship between price and protection, try Banana Boat Ultra Defense SPF 30 Continuous Clear Spray ($10; drugstores)
Excuse # 5 – “I don’t need sunscreen because my skin is naturally dark”
· Skin cancer is color-blind. In fact, skin cancer rates are increasing among Latinos—many of whom have dark skin.
· Hispanics are more genetically diverse than other groups, so even if they have dark skin, they could burn just as someone with fair German or Irish skin would
· Plus, those with dark skin may not recognize skin cancers as early in their development as people with light skin. (One study found advanced stages of melanoma at time of diagnosis in 18% of Hispanics and 26% of African Americans, compared with 12% of Caucasians.)
· Sun deepens dark spots common in all women of color. Try using sheer, nonchalky Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 30 ($10; Neutrogena.com).
Excuse # 6 – “I look so good with a tan”
· Think long-term: Saggy, leathery skin is not pretty.
· Instead of opting for none, try the subtle sheen of Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Lotion Sunscreen SPF 40 ($9; drugstores).
Excuse # 7 – “I haven’t gotten burned yet”
· This is the skin equivalent of ‘I’ve never had a car wreck, so I don’t need a seat belt.
· Though a cavalier attitude toward sunscreen may not be a big deal when you’re young, skin loses its ability to produce melanin effectively as you get older, and that may actually make you more likely to burn.
· The fact is, sun damage—including wrinkles and loss of firmness—occurs whether or not you’re seeing red.
· And that’s a good reason to use a sunscreen like Avon Anew Solar Advance Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 30 ($34; avon.com); it prevents burning and helps to heal past damage with a blend of antioxidant-rich botanicals.
Excuse # 8 – “Skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer”
· UVB rays lead to the development of the two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, triggering melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
· While it’s true that melanoma is usually curable when caught early, it still kills 8,000 Americans a year. And those who are lucky enough to recover from skin cancer aren’t necessarily unscathed.
· Take basal cell carcinomas, for instance: They penetrate deeply and slowly destroy health tissue. Both the biopsy and the surgery to remove the lesions can leave a scar or, in rare cases, disfigurement.
· Still not screaming for sunscreen? A number of studies also show that having skin cancer increases your risk of developing other cancers, including breast, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung, and kidney.
· Even a little UB light can weaken cells in the skin and compromise your immune surveillance; it’s like removing the security guards from a bank and allowing robbers to come in.
My thanks to Prevention magazine for offering to share this information with This Mom Loves readers.
On a related note, I also recently heard of Seasons UV, the makers of 50++ UPF swimwear, now offering a new line of kids Solar Guard swimwear, called LOL, designed to alert parents with a color change when UV rays are getting dangerous. The ‘LOL’ pattern has a big white smiley face in the ‘O’ that changes from white to blue when it’s time to apply sunscreen. Moms, you might want to check it out.