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Summertime Sun Screen Time!

Author: Jan Fernandez    Posted: July 6, 2015

This time of year my southern European heritage is very apparent.  I can be out in the sun for 15 minutes and am two shades darker than when I first stepped outside!  Is that good or bad though?  My fair skinned friends have an advantage in knowing when it’s time to get out of the sun, they turn pink.  I, however, just keep browning and don’t realize the damage that I’m doing to my skin.  According to an article in the New York Times, , “a quarter or more of cells in the skin of middle-aged people have suffered sun-induced DNA damage. Although the cells were outwardly normal, the mutations that occurred could be the first stages of cancer.”

I remember as a teenager, using baby oil and lemon to get me “just the right shade of brown”.  What the heck did that do to my skin?   And what about the sunscreens of today?  Are we using it the way it was intended to work?  Most dermatologists recommend using at least 30s.p.f. if you’re going to be in the sun longer than walking from your house to your car; but are you applying it as thick as directed and as often?   And, not all sunscreens are the same.   Some people believe buying more expensive brands will work better, not true, here’s a link to the Environmental Working Group’s 2015 sunscreen guide   Most people who do use sunscreen don’t apply it as often as they should; about every two hours is recommended.  It’s not a magic bullet either, it’s just one of the defenses against the harmful effect of UV radiation, according to St. Steven Q. Wang, director of dermatologic surgery and dermatology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center .  A better plan may be to just cover up or stay out of the sun all together, especially mid-day when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

According to a recently published study by a Yale scientist, Dr. Brash, you can’t buy a cream to get rid of cancer cells, the best approach is to prevent the damage.  Stay out of the sun between 10 and 2.

I know that I’m a sun worshiper, and probably won’t stay out of the sun any more than you, but we should all be taking precautions to stay out of the dermatologists’ office.

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