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No Loose Powder Sunscreens
Loose powder sunscreens such in the form of mineral makeup are designed to be applied on the face and scalp. Although they contain zinc and titanium particles that offer strong UV protection, it is difficult for users to judge if they are applying a thick and even coat.
But the bigger problem is inhaling the tiny zinc and titanium particles. Based on studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, inhaled titanium dioxide is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” FDA’s current rules no longer allow loose powers to advertise an SPF or make claims of sun protection. But the FDA granted small companies until the end of December 2013 to remove their powders from the market. Be on the lookout and avoid loose powder sunscreens.
No Spray Sunscreens
Although ever so convenient, like loose powdered sunscreen, there is a growing concern that these sprays pose serious inhalation risks. Although the FDA has expressed concern about the safety of spray sunscreens and are currently researching into inhalation risks, companies continue to turn them out.
If you must run spray sunscreen, it is best to spray it on your hands and then rub the sunscreen onto your skin. But that basically defeats the purpose of using a spray-on product, so you’re better off with using lotion-based sunscreen.
No Sunscreen Towelettes
The FDA ended the sale of sunscreen wipes and towelettes, but these can still be purchased online and some are even marketed as safe for babies. The biggest concern is that these towelettes do not get enough sunscreen on your skin to ensure sun protection. This is another example where the convenience is not worth the risk.
No Combined Sunscreen/Bug Repellents
“Studies shown that combining sunscreen with DEET caused the skin to absorb insect repellent more than three times faster than when used alone”, according to WebMD. Also, you’ll need to reapply sunscreen more often than bug repellent, so using a product that combines both is not a good idea. Luckily, bugs are typically not a problem during the hours when UV exposure peaks, so skip these combination products.
Keep In Mind
As summer ends and fall begins, it is essential to not forget that UV rays can damage your skin yearlong. Overcast clouds may block out sunshine, but the UV rays still get through and many times, we let our guard down believing dark skies equals less UV exposure.
In addition to preventing three types of skin cancer, Queensland researchers have discovered that sunscreen shields a ‘superhero’ p53 gene that repairs UV damaged skin.
Scientists performed the world’s first molecular level human study of the impact of sunscreen confirmed that sunscreen provides 100 percent protection against all three forms of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Skin biopsies also confirmed that sunscreen shields the p53 gene, also known as the tumor suppressor gene.
The p53 gene is responsible for proteins that can either repair damaged cells or cause damaged cells to die. However, exposure to UV can mutate the p53 gene, thus rendering it from functioning properly.
“As soon as our skin becomes sun damaged, the p53 gene goes to work repairing that damage and thereby preventing skin cancer occurring,” said lead researcher Dr. Elke Hacker, from Queensland University of Technology’s AusSun Research Lab. “But over time if skin is burnt regularly the p53 gene mutates and can no longer do the job it was intended for – it no longer repairs sun damaged skin and without this protection skin cancers are far more likely to occur.”
Fifty-seven people who participated in the study underwent a series of skin biopsies to examine molecular changes to the skin before and after UV exposure. First, the researchers took small skin biopsies of each participant’s unexposed skin. Then, a mild does of UV light was exposed to two skin spots on each participant, but sunscreen was applied only to one spot. After 24 hours, another set of skin biopsies were taken.
“After 24 hours, we took another set of biopsies and compared the skin samples,” Hacker said. “What we found was that, after 24 hours, where the sunscreen had been applied there were no DNA changes to the skin and no impact on the p53 gene.”
Hacker concludes that the study could be used to help develop post-sun exposure treatments that can repair sun-damaged skin, such as super sunscreens.
As always, remember to wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours.