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Over the past three decades, more people have died from skin cancer than all other types of cancer combined. It is estimated that 9,730 deaths will be attributed to melanoma in 2017 alone. We all know how important it is to protect our skin while outside — whether on a hike or lounging by the pool — but do we know how safe our skin is while traveling in a car? While it is rare to get sunburn through automotive windows, harmful UV rays can still reach those on the inside.
One way to protect your skin while in a car is to apply window film to your vehicle’s windows. Every state has laws to dictate how much tinting is allowed on each window of a car.
The following chart, provided by our friends at Rayno Window Film, makes it easy to understand the state-by-state window tinting laws and regulations, and can assist you with applying window tinting to your car to help reduce sun exposure.
Many consumers don't stop to think about the products they use every day. Unfortunately, many consumer products, from make-up to cleaning supplies to plastic food containers, contain substances that can be harmful. Absorbing harmful chemicals through skin contact can be even worse than ingesting them, because when you ingest them, at least you have the enzymes in your digestive system to break them down.
An FDA survey found that up to 25% of people have had a skin reaction to a skincare or beauty product. Allergic or irritated reactions to these products can cause redness, swelling, hives, itching, and other effects. Everyone finds different ingredients to be allergenic for them, but three of the most common are parabens, formaldehyde, and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Virtually every personal care product that contains water will have some type of preservative in it as well. Parabens have been used as a preservative in personal care products since the 1950s. The most common products to contain parabens include lotions, make-up, shaving cream, and hair care products. Unfortunately, parabens can cause allergic reactions for some people. Furthermore, parabens are thought by some to act as endocrine disruptors. What this means is that parabens act like estrogens in the body. This could affect fertility, hormone balance, and risk of breast cancer.
Formaldehyde is a substance found in tiny amounts in humans, plants, and animals. However, in larger amounts, it can be very harmful. The FDA has found that nearly 1 in 5 cosmetic products contains this carcinogen. The Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry has stated that formaldehyde exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, upper respiratory tract, and skin. Even very low concentrations of formaldehyde have been known to cause allergenic symptoms.
Nearly all nail polishes contain notable amounts of formaldehyde, as well as Brazilian blowout treatments. However, product labels do not always list formaldehyde, even if there is formaldehyde in the product. This is because some manufacturers use "formaldehyde releasers". There are chemicals that, when you add them to water, decompose slowly to form formaldehyde molecules. Formaldehyde releasers include DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, bronopol, 5-Bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, and Hydroxymethylglycinate.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent. Therefore, it's found in a majority of commercially available soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. Although it is effective for creating lather and for cleaning, it's also extremely harsh and irritating. Sodium lauryl sulfate can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and hair.
Using non-irritating, hypoallergenic products can make a world of difference to your skin's health. When your skin isn't irritated or stripped of its natural moisture, it can function properly and have a healthy glow. Consider making a switch to more natural products such as the following:
Hispanic Americans are more likely than other Americans to be diagnosed with skin cancer in its later stages, when it's more apt to be fatal. One reason is the misconception that people with darker skin are immune from skin cancer, researchers say. Another is that public health campaigns tend to focus on lighter-skinned people, inadvertently reinforcing that belief.
"There is an idea among Hispanics that 'People like me don't get skin cancer,' " says Dr. Elliot J. Coups, a researcher and resident member at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. "It's true that they're at lower risk, but they're still at some risk — it's not zero risk. Hispanic individuals can be diagnosed with skin cancer."
The lifetime risk for being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is just 0.5 percent for Hispanics, compared to 2.4 percent in non-Hispanic whites and 0.1 percent in blacks, according to the American Cancer Society. But 26 percent of Hispanic patients with melanoma aren't diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to the late stages, compared to 16 percent of white patients. That vastly increases their risk of death.
It's not because people from Latin American countries don't realize they need to protect themselves from the sun, Coups says. Instead, his research has found the opposite – that as Hispanic people assimilate to mainstream U.S. culture, they're more likely to put themselves at risk, with behaviors including lower use of sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.
Add that to the fact that the vast majority of public health campaigns link skin cancer risk to skin tone, and it's no wonder many Hispanics think they needn't worry, says Jennifer Hay, a behavioral scientist and clinical health psychologist who treats melanoma patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
In 2014, Hay and her colleagues looked at skin cancer education practices in Albuquerque, N.M., where 40 percent of the city's population self-identifies as Hispanic. She found that U.S.-born Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to report misconceptions like, "People with skin cancer would have pain or other symptoms prior to diagnosis."
They were less likely to have gotten skin-cancer screening from a physician and less likely to wear sun-protective clothing, but as likely to use sunscreen and seek shade as were non-Hispanic whites.
There needs to be an increase in culturally relevant skin cancer prevention campaigns that target ethnic minorities, Hays says. Her current research, conducted in Spanish Harlem in New York City, has found that people do want information on preventing skin cancer.
"What we found is that people are really receptive to this kind of information, but they have not had the kind of access to it that we would like to see," says Hay. "That behooves us as public health researchers to find vehicles and channels to get this information out to more populations who could benefit from it."
That's not to say that skin tone doesn't matter; lighter-skinned people still do face a greater risk. "Latinos have a wide range of skin types," says Hay. "That range of skin type is much more important than whether one self-identifies as Latino or Hispanic. You can self-identify as Latino and still have very light skin."
But Dr. Henry W. Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, says everyone, no matter their skin tone, should practice sun safety. "We should go out and enjoy outdoor activities, but we should try to seek shade and we should wear appropriate clothing to cover up," he says.
Source: Npr.org / Ellie Hartleb
Myth #1: A suntan's fine, as long as you don't burn.
Reality: While even one sunburn may double the chance of eventually developing melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer), your kids are still at risk even if they never burn. "The more sun you get, the more likely you are to develop certain skin cancers," says Martin Weinstock, M.D., chairman of the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Skin Cancer Advisory Group, no matter what your skin tone. "Any tan indicates damage to your skin."
Myth #2: A beach umbrella blocks the sun.
Reality: Sand reflects 17 percent of UV radiation, so you're still exposed, says Dr. Weinstock. Nevertheless, it's smart to stay in the shade when the sun's rays are high; just make sure you're also slathered with sunscreen.
Myth #3: Sun can't penetrate through windows.
Reality: Glass filters out only one kind of radiation -- UVB rays. But UVA rays, which penetrate deeper, can still get through. That's why many adults have more freckles on their left side than their right -- it's from UV exposure on that side through the car window when driving.
To protect yourself, apply sunscreen to any exposed areas (like your hands, forearms, and face) before getting into your car, especially in the spring and summer months, says Anthony Mancini, M.D., head of pediatric dermatology at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. If you're buying a new car, consider one with tinted windows, which keep out almost four times more UVA light than regular ones.
You don't need to worry about putting on sunscreen when indoors unless you or your child spends most of your time near a window (for example, if your child's desk is right next to one).
Myth #4: Too much sunscreen causes vitamin D deficiency.
Reality: You may have read that extra exposure to sunshine is needed to help your body make vitamin D. But according to the ACS, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), both kids and adults get plenty of this nutrient through multivitamins, vitamin D-rich foods (like milk and fortified orange juice), and everyday sun exposure. Also, even if you're wearing sunscreen, small amounts of UV rays still penetrate your skin, and that's more than enough to help your body produce vitamin D.
Myth #5: If it's cool or cloudy outside, you don't need sunscreen.
Reality: According to the Skin Cancer Foundataion, up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds. This is the reason people often end up with serious sunburns on overcast days if they've spent time outside with no sun protection. Even in the winter months, you need to beware: Snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays, increasing exposure. This is especially true if your family's on a ski vacation-- the higher your altitude, the greater your UV exposure.
Myth #6: Eighty percent of sun damage occurs before the age of 18.
Reality: Contrary to previous estimates, recent studies show that we get less than 25 percent of our total lifetime sun exposure before age 18. That means you get the majority of it later on. So while you absolutely should be vigilant about protecting your kids, make sure you take care of yourself, too. While 83 percent of parents arm their kids with sunscreen and protective clothing whenever they're outdoors, only two-thirds practice what they preach, according to a 2005 AAD survey. "Remember, kids don't always pay attention to what you say -- it's more about what you do," says Dr. Weinstock. "If you're making them wear sunscreen but baking yourself, you're sending them a mixed message they may carry into adulthood."
Myth #7: People of color do not get skin cancer
Reality: People of color are less likely to develop skin cancer than Caucasians, but they have a higher risk of dying from it. A very dangerous and fast-spreading skin cancer known as acral lentiginous melanoma is more common among darker-skinned people and may appear as a suspicious growth in the mucous membranes, under the nails, or on the palms or soles of the feet.
Insect repellants affect sunscreen SPF
Insect Repellants reduce sunscreen’s SPF by up to 1/3. When using a combination, use a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
Sunburns increase your skin cancer risk
Over exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can result in sunburns which increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Therefore, check your local UV Index which provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. The UV Index forecast is issued each afternoon by the National Weather Service and EPA.
Sun's UV rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm
Seek the shade whenever possible! The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so remember the shadow rule when in the sun: If your shadow is short it’s time to abort and seek the shade.
Choose the right sunglasses
Don’t be deceived by color or cost of Sunglasses! The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. While both plastic and glass lenses absorb some UV light, UV absorption is improved by adding certain chemicals to the lens material during manufacturing or by applying special lens coatings. Always choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays. Some manufacturers’ labels will say “UV absorption up to 400nm.” This is the same thing as 100% UV absorption.
Protect your skin all year long
Sunburn doesn’t only happen during the summer! Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Protect yourself year round by using sunscreen with protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and an SPF of 15 or greater. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen on the exposed areas of your skin whenever possible
Skin care and sun safety is as important in winter as it is in summer. You can still get a sunburn on an overcast day because 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through the clouds. UV rays are invisible and UVB rays are the primary cause of sun burning, premature aging of the skin, and the development of skin cancer.
If you are planning on hitting the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding, it is even more important to cover up and wear sunscreen because snow acts like a mirror and bounces UV rays up towards your face.
Did you know:
Source: University of Utah Health Care
Hopefully, the tips in Part 1 has helped your skin and hair remain healthy during this chilly and dry winter. Here are some more tips to help you through the winter and into the new year!
A dried-out scalp produces fewer oils, which can make hair full of static. Don't skimp on conditioner, and simulate natural scalp oils by combing a bit of vitamin E oil through the hair before bed to replenish moisture. Need a quick fix? Run a bit of lotion through strands or run an unscented dryer sheet (really) over the hair before heading out the door.
During the winter, stick to cotton hats (which conduct much less static electricity than acrylic and wool).
Keeping a tube of lip balm in an easily accessible pocket is a good first step, but winter winds can take chapped lips to a whole new level. If lips are flaky, take a clean toothbrush and very gently exfoliate the skin to remove excess skin. Slather on beeswax or a lip balm with lanolin (a natural oily wax extracted from sheep's wool!) and keep reapplying throughout the day.
For seriously dry lips, apply honey or Vaseline to the lips for 15 minutes and then remove with a cotton swab dipped in hot water.
Dry air saps the moisture right out of nails and leaves them delicate and susceptible to breaks and tears. Consider adding biotin-rich foods (also called Vitamin B7) to your diet - this essential vitamin helps the body process amino acids and produce fatty acids. Vegetables (including carrots and Swiss chard) and protein sources including nuts and fish are good ways to pack in enough of the vitamin.
The skin over high-pressure joints like elbows, knees, and heels is thicker to cushion the essential bones underneath. It's great to have some extra padding, but ashy, scaly elbows are uncomfortable and unattractive. The key to keeping elbows (and other rough spots) soft is to exfoliate once or twice per week and moisturize every day.
Dry Face / Windburn
First thing's first: During winter, avoid any face products with alcohol, and switch to a milder face wash and a thicker moisturizer. Another good option? Whole grains and aromatic veggies contain selenium, a compound that gives skin the elasticity to make silly faces. Snack on quinoa, brown rice, onions, or garlic when skin gets tight and dry.
Protect sensitive skin by layering on thick face cream with a high SPF - the only thing worse than windburn is winter sunburn. When heading into the great outdoors, dress for the weather with a hat, scarf, and gloves to avoid windburn and prolonged exposure to cold air.
It’s wintertime and the livin’ ain’t easy—for our hair, skin, and nails, that is. Whipping winds, dry air, and chilly temperatures can really do a number on soft skin and hair. Cold air outside and central heat indoors can strip moisture from strands and pores, making hair rough and skin itchy and dry.
Skin isn’t only the barrier between the environment and our insides—it’s a living organ that’s responsible for keeping the body cool, protecting it against germs and “invaders,” and many other metabolic processes. It’s important to keep these tissues in good condition and working well all year long so they can do their jobs and keep us healthy and safe. Cracked, flaky, irritated, or inflamed skin is normal during winter, though it’s not exactly fun.
A 20-minute long, boiling-hot shower might feel great on a cold day, but stick to warm or lukewarm water for 10 minutes or less. Long exposure to hot water can strip moisture from hair and skin. Slathering on lotion within three minutes of stepping out of the bath or shower is most effective for trapping in moisture.
Load up on vitamin C-rich produce like citrus fruit and dark leafy greens. Vitamin C can help boost the body’s production of collagen, a protein that maintains skin and other connective tissues. And don't forget to drink plenty of water.
To prevent hands from drying out, apply moisturizer after hand washing and at least several times throughout the day. Keep a bottle of lotion by each sink in your home and in your desk at work. If hands are very dry, use cream instead of lotion because the former has a higher oil-to-water ratio.
Wearing rubber gloves while washing dishes can prevent hands from getting dried out due to excess contact with hot water, too.
Irritated, Dry Eyes
Wind and dry air are not a good combination for sensitive eyes. Sporting sunnies on a sub-zero day might look weird, but the lenses can protect eyes from glare and wind. Keep a bottle of non-medicated saline tears or eye drops on hand and use it to refresh eye moisture when needed.
Avoid eye drops like Visine, which causes blood vessels in the eye to contract, giving the illusion you 'got the red out.' Instead, use a lubricant such as Systane Eye Drops or Blink Tears.
When outdoors in cold weather, the blood vessels cut off circulation to the nose. After coming indoors the blood vessels dilate quickly, causing a rush of blood (and bright-red color). To bring the nose back to a normal hue, apply a warm—but not hot—compress to the skin for several minutes after coming indoors. Sometimes a winter cold and the tissues that come with it can make the nose raw and chapped, too.
When the sniffles hit, use extra-soft tissues and blot the nose; don’t rub it. Apply a thin layer of moisturizing ointment or lotion to the sensitive area throughout the day.
Rough, Cracked Feet
Scrub calluses with a pumice stone in the shower once per week to slough off rough, dead skin. Moisturize feet, especially the heels, every day with thick cream—lotions containing lactic acid are especially effective—and wear cotton socks to bed.
It may look nerdy, but sporting socks while snoozing can help creams absorb. Warmer feet means sweatier feet (ick), and moisturizers are most effective when applied to warm, damp skin.
Itchy Dry Scalp
Take cooler, quicker showers to reduce the scalp’s exposure to drying hot water. Think about switching to a dandruff or dry scalp specific shampoo. Before hopping in the shower, massage the scalp with Vitamin E, olive, or coconut oil. These oils replenish natural scalp oilsand can moisturize dry hair, too
Early Detection Not an Iron-Clad Guarantee
Researchers in Queensland, which has the highest melanoma rate in the world, have found that melanomas less than 1mm thick cause more fatalities than “thick” melanomas at least 4mm deep.
The findings, published in the US-based Journal of Investigative Dermatology, suggest Queenslanders are having suspicious skin markings checked out before they develop. “(But) this is not preventing people from dying,” said lead author David Whiteman. “It’s a sobering reminder that while we have been very successful at picking melanomas up early, it’s not an iron-clad guarantee.”
Professor Whiteman, of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, said researchers had known for decades that advanced melanomas carried poor prognoses. “The danger is proportional to how deep they are when they’re diagnosed,” he said.
“Thin” melanomas present only marginal risks to life, leading to assumptions that most melanoma deaths arise from thick lesions. But the team’s analysis of 20 years of Queensland Cancer Registry data, which took account of tumour thickness at diagnosis, revealed this was not the case.
While late-detected melanomas proved 12 times as likely to kill sufferers as those diagnosed early, the sheer number of cases — which almost doubled from about 1500 a year in the early 1990s to 2800 late last decade — meant thin tumours killed about 40 per cent more Queenslanders, on average.
Even Thin Melanoma Tumours Can Kill You
Over 15 years, this gap has grown from 24 per cent to almost 60 per cent. “We’re seeing a shift in the patterns of the people dying from melanoma,” Professor Whiteman said. “We must prevent melanomas in the first place, because once they occur, even thin ones can kill you.”
Professor Whiteman said data from elsewhere, including the US, pointed to similar trends. He said that while the incidence of melanoma in Australians aged under 40 was declining, it remained the most common cancer among the nation’s young. “That’s why we mustn’t give up on primary prevention — the ‘slip, slop, slap’,” he said. “Melanoma is almost entirely preventable.”
The Melanoma Institute of Australia says about 400 extra cases are detected each year. One in 17 Australians can expect a diagnosis by the age of 85.
Melanomas comprise just 2 per cent of skin cancers but cause three-quarters of skin cancer deaths, the institute says.
Flying increases exposure to UV rays that could cause melanoma
Airline pilots and cabin crew are twice as likely to suffer from skin cancer because of regular exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun at high altitude, US researchers said in a study published on September 3, 2014.
Analysis of 19 studies which included more than 266,000 people found that incidence of melanoma was between 2.21 and 2.22 higher for pilots and 2.09 greater for flight attendants, or more than twice the rate of the general population.
The incidence rate was attributed to ultraviolet rays filtering into planes at high altitude through cockpit windscreens and windows on the fuselage, the study’s author said.
Doctor Martina Sanlorenzo, from the University of California at San Francisco, said the study had “important implications for occupational health and protection of this population.” The study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology.
Twice as Powerful
Researchers reported that at 9,000 meters (30,000 feet) above sea level, the cruising altitude of most commercial jets, carcinogenic ultraviolet rays were twice as powerful.
The researchers used a measure known as standardized incidence ratio, which helps gauge whether the cancer cases observed among specific groups of people are more or less than what would be expected in the general population.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the average American has about a 2 percent risk of developing melanoma during his or her lifetime. The researchers caution that they can’t say why cabin crews may be more likely to develop melanoma. It could be due to greater exposure to solar radiation as altitude increases and the protective barrier of the atmosphere thins.
Over 3.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancers in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society. About 76,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, which is the type of skin cancer that is most likely to lead to death.
Source: Reuters, Pakistan Today
Image Credit: iStockPhoto
Photographer Thomas Leveritt is hoping his video will help shed light on the importance of sunscreen and it seems to be having an effect.
The video shows how skin appears when viewed under ultraviolet lights. The difference is like night and day. People of diverse races are seen approaching the camera and then standing to be viewed. Many of them gasp to see the appearance of their skin under the UV light, which shows the appearance of the skin beyond what can be seen by the naked eye.
Also compelling is what happens when people apply sunscreen to their faces. The portion of skin that’s covered by the lotion appears under the UV as solid black streaks. Levitt says this shows that sunscreen can indeed block UV rays.
Here are some skin cancer prevention tips that doctors swear by.
Use Sunscreen Correctly
“Choose a sunscreen labeled SPF 30 or more, and includes the words Broad Spectrum and Water Resistant. Re-apply every two hours or after you swim or sweat. Apply sunscreen liberally. It takes approximately 1 ounce (a shot glass) to cover an adult.”
— Timothy Wang, MD, dermatologist for the Melanoma Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center
Know What Works and When
“You should wear sunscreen even when driving in the car as window glass only blocks UVB light, not UVA. And UVA light is also associated with skin cancer and as well as skin thinning. The sunscreen in makeup can’t be relied on, as it is typically lower in SPF than claimed by the manufacturer and wears off easily.“
— Bruce E. Katz, M.D. Clinical Professor and Director of the Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Clinic. Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Monitor Your Skin
“Be aware of your skin and regularly look for any changes, including new skin spots or moles, or changes in the size, shape or color of existing spots or moles. Take any concerns to your doctor for an evaluation. Have your skin examined annually by a dermatologist to check for signs of skin cancer.”
— Mary K. Tripp, Ph.D., M.P.H., The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Instructor of Behavioral Science
Source: ABC News, Good Morning America
Are you thinking about downloading that $5 smartphone app that claims to have the most advanced algorithm for analyzing skin lesions from a photo? Well, think again. A new study suggests that these apps are not very good at determining which ones are cancerous.
Marketed As Educational Only
The apps are marketed as educational only and so aren't covered as medical devices under the Food and Drug Administration's regulations. But that may not stop some people from relying on the inexpensive tools instead of going to see a dermatologist, researchers said - which could mean slower diagnosis of potentially dangerous lesions.
"There's no substitute, at this point, for a complete skin exam performed by an expert dermatologist for picking up melanoma as well as other skin cancers," said Dr. Karen Edison, a dermatologist from University of Missouri in Columbia who wasn't involved in the new study. “For example, even if an app makes a correct diagnosis of melanoma, that doesn't necessarily help if the patient doesn't know where to get a biopsy or doesn't have insurance to pay for it”, Edison said. "We're all for technology, but we need to keep it in perspective, and make it a tool."
Three of those apps, which cost under $5 to own, use algorithms to determine whether a lesion is likely to be cancerous or not. The fourth sends images to a certified dermatologist for evaluation, at a price of $5 per lesion.
Of the three algorithm-based apps, the most accurate still missed 18 of the 60 melanomas, mistakenly classifying them as lower-risk, Dr. Laura Ferris from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania and her colleagues reported Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology. The dermatologist consultation app did better than the others, misdiagnosing just one out of 53 evaluable images of cancerous lesions.
All but one of the apps classified more than half of the benign, non-cancerous lesions as problematic. The researchers said they chose not to release the commercial names of the apps evaluated because their purpose was to determine the accuracy of this type of tool, in general.
In conclusion, don't waste your money on these apps. No technology can beat in-person exams to check for skin cancer. Early detection is the key.
Source: JAMA Dermatology
A new study finds that men in these groups are far more likely than women to ignore warnings to protect themselves against sunshine by wearing sunscreen or a hat. Recently, the British Journal of Dermatology published research based of 2,215 French people detailing what steps they took to reduce their risk for the sun.
Men vs. Women
The research found that men under 20 and over 64 are the least likely to heed advice about the need to minimize the harmful effects of UV radiation from sunlight. The same two groups of men also know the least about how to protect themselves from the risk they run from getting burned skin.
On the other hand, women aged between 20 and 64 displayed the most understanding of how the sun’s rays could damage their skin and were most likely to use high-factor sunscreen and to wear protective clothing. It is already known that death rates from malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are 70% higher in men than women.
Although similar numbers of both sexes develop it – 6,200 men and 6,600 women a year – far more men (1,300) than women (900) die. Death rates are rising among men, but stable among women. Death have risen by 185% among men and 55% among women over the last 40 years, mainly as a result of the increased popularity of tanned skin, beach holidays and tanning salons.
Since this research was done in France, it may not be possible to draw all-embracing conclusions from it. Regardless, this research does show that awareness of how to prevent skin cancer is low and that everyone should be “sun-smart”by wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and to seek the shade, especially in the afternoon hours where the sun is most strong.
The first line of defense against skin cancer starts with you. You can catch skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin.
Click here to download a body mole map to document your self-examination and know what to look for when checking your spots. The Body Mole Map comes courtesy from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) SPOT Skin Cancer website.
When self-examining your skin, keep in mind the ABCDE's of melanoma.
A = Asymmetry
One half is unlike the other half.
B = Border
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
C = Color
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D = Diameter
Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E = Evolving
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
A new study lead by Dorota Z. Korta, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, suggests that Black, Hispanic people, and other minorities tend to know less about skin cancer than whites. For the study, Korta and her colleagues surveyed 152 people who visited a dermatology clinic at a New York City public hospital.
Although the sample size for the study is small, the findings are congruent to other research that shows minorities with skin cancer tend to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage and have lower chances of survival than whites. The study was published online on the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology website.
Dr. Darrell Rigel, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology said “People of all races are equally at risk of getting skin cancer on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet - but those aren't common places for sun exposure… For other parts of the body, the chances are much less (among minorities), but you can still get it. African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities with darker skin than whites are less likely to realize that they're at risk for skin cancer.”
Many respondents were unaware of the warning signs of skin cancer: (A) asymmetry, (B) border, (C) color, (D) diameter and (E) evolving nature of a mole.
50 percent of white survey respondents answered correctly that an asymmetrical shape is a characteristic of melanoma, compared to 12 percent of minority respondents. Most other responded “I don’t know.”
71 percent of white survey respondents correctly identified changes in the size or shape of moles over time as a characteristic of melanoma, compared to 29 percent of minority respondents
Of all the participants, 16 percent had undergone a total body skin examination by a doctor to check for skin cancer. Fifteen percent said they performed self-exams for skin cancer but only 11 percent had ever been taught by a health care practitioner how to look for cancer.
Survey respondents were also asked about their beliefs regarding the purpose of skin cancer screening, and the majority of them - whites and minorities alike - incorrectly stated that skin cancer screenings help prevent the disease. The correct response is that skin cancer screenings reduce the risk of death from skin cancer.
As winter approaches, our skin is prone to reaching peak dryness. Cold temperatures combined with dry indoor heat and dehydrating long, hot showers zaps the moisture out of our skin quicker than normal.
“We try getting in a hot, steamy shower to get a little moisture, and don't realize that the water itself actually takes water out of us by osmosis," explains Dr. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. "Not only that, the heat and water strip our natural moisturizing oils out of our skin. Then we get out of the shower, and that last bit of dampness evaporating away dries us out even more."
Here are some tips to protect and keep our skin healthy during the dry winter months.
Take Shorter Showers
Hot, long showers strip our skin of its natural moisturizing oils, so it is best to take shorter showers (5-10 minutes) with a warm water temperature. After you get out of the shower, gently pat your skin dry. Rubbing your skin with a towel robs your skin of moisture and precious oils.
Moisturizer: Choose Cream Over Lotion
Choose a moisturizer cream that is thick and fragrance-free instead of watery lotion. A proper moisturizer will lock and seal in moisture, providing protection for our skin to heal.
It is best to apply moisturizer within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower. Use the SunBuddy - Back Lotion Applicator to apply moisturizer to those hard-to-reach areas of your back.
Windy, cold weather and overheated houses zap moisture from our skin, so drinking more water than you want to will help replenish the water you are losing.
Not to mention, our skin is our body’s biggest organ, so keeping it properly hydrated will give you a radiant, healthy, and younger looking complexion.
Skip the Perfume / Colonge
The chemicals in your perfume may irritate your dry, sensitive skin. Also, the alcohol content will strip oils from your skin, drying it out.
Apply Lip Balm and Hand Cream Often
Don’t forget that our lips need protection too and are prone to premature aging and skin cancer! Using lip balm with a SPF of at least 30 will keep them soft and supple.
Don’t skimp on washing your hands, as it is important to remove harmful bacteria and viruses. Use hand cream after each wash to retain much-needed moisture and to reduce skin cracks.
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.
Keeping your lips healthy is important year-round. We often take our lips for granted even though they play a crucial role in our speech and for identifying different types of food.
Lip cancer is a malignant tumor, or neoplasm, that originates in the surface layer cells in the upper or lower lip. Nine out of ten cases of lip cancer are diagnosed in people over age 45. As the cells in our lips get older, they lose some of its ability to repair itself. This breakdown in the repair system combined with damaging UV rays from sunlight allows for the uncontrolled growth of cells.
If a part of the lip is affected by cancer and must be removed by surgery, there will be significant changes to one’s eating ability and speech function. Men are at a greater risk for lip cancer than women, sometimes two to three times more likely. Also, fair-skinned people are more likely to develop lip cancer than those with dark skin.
Here are some tips for keeping your lips healthy, soft, and sun safe.
Use Lip Balm to Moisturize and Protect
Since your lips are exposed to the sun every day, they are highly susceptible to disfiguring and to developing skin cancer. Use lip balm or lipstick with a SPF 15 or higher. Keep in mind that your lower lip receives the most direct sunlight.
Much like sunscreen use recommendations, remember to reapply lip protection every two hours. Reapply more often if you have been eating or drinking.
Unlike the rest of your skin, lips do not contain oil glands and therefore tend to dry out and become chapped easily. Drink lots of water to hydrate your lips and avoiding licking them, which actually saps moisture.
A new study from Cancer Research UK says that more men are dying from skin cancer than women, despite similar numbers being diagnosed with the disease. Each year in the UK, malignant melanoma kills 1,300 of the 6,200 men who develop it compared to 900 of the 6,600 women… and the gap is expected to widen.
Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist, suspects that there are biological differences and that women are more immune to melanoma. “We’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways."
"We think it is something to do with the immune system rather than hormones because pre- and post-menopausal fare the same,” she added. In addition, German researchers have identified a gene that makes men more susceptible to melanoma.
Other health experts say that the difference is because men delay seeing their doctor and thus are diagnosed more advance staged melanoma. Whereas women most often develop skin cancer on their arms and legs, men often develop the cancer on their back, making it more difficult to spot.
“Asking your partner to check your back is a good idea,” said Prof Newton-Bishop. Male incidence rates are now more than five times higher than they were 30 years ago - rising from 2.7 per 100,000 to 17.2 per 100,000.
If you notice any changes in your skin, go see your doctor. Detect the early stages of melanoma by knowing the ABCDEs. Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 and generously re-apply every 2 hours. It's not about the SPF number, but about how often and how much you re-apply your sunscreen. Order the SunBuddy® - Back Lotion Applicator to help you apply sunscreen to your back and to other hard to reach areas of your body.
Sunburns can be tricky to avoid. After a long day in the sun, you can still end up with painful, lobster red sunburn despite your best efforts to protect your skin with sunscreen.
Most of the time, sunburns are mild first-degree burns on your outer layer of skin that turn red. With second-degree sunburns, the more severe type, your skin is red, painful and blistering. Fortunately, these two types of sunburns can be treated at home but if you are experiencing more serious problems, seek professional medical help.
Typically, sunburn symptoms continue to worsen during the first 24 to 36 hours after the sunburn. There are times where your sunburn does not show up until hours after you’ve gone back indoors or left the beach.
After 3 to 5 days, sunburns will begin to go away. However, it may take 3 to 6 months for your skin to fully repair and return to normal.
Here are some natural remedies for treating sunburns:
Your skin is inflamed after being sunburnt. Soak a towel or t-shirt in either cold water from the faucet or iced water and slip it on or lay it over the burn. Repeat every few minutes and apply several times a day for a total of 10 to 15 minutes each time. Cold compresses will cool down your inflamed skin and help reduce the swelling. Besides just cold water, you can use common kitchen foods too. Believe it or not, oatmeal is very effective. Wrap dry oatmeal in a cloth and run water through it. Discard the oatmeal and cold compress in the liquid. Also, cold compressing with a combination of 1 cup of fat-free milk with 4 cups of iced water works too.
Avoid soapy water and bubble baths. Soap will strip out moisture from your skin and further dry and irritate your burned skin. If you must use soap, use a mild brand and rinse if off very well. If you are really hurting and wish to take a bath, try an oatmeal bath or baking soda bath. Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment is made from oatmeal. Alternatively, you can grid a cup of oatmeal and sprinkle it into a tub of cool water. Swish the bath water around until it becomes milky. Soak yourself for at least 20 minutes and gently pat yourself dry with a soft towel. If you don’t have oatmeal, sprinkly baking soda into your cool bath, soak for 20 minutes, and then let the solution dry on your skin. Baking soda is nontoxic and will soothe your pain.
Do Not Pop Your Blisters
If you get a blister, you have a more severe case of sunburn. Although very tempting, it is best not to pop your blister. A blister is a bubble under the skin that is usually filled with fluid and form to protect the skin. Popping a blister can lead to an infection and even more irritation and pain.
Your skin loses much moisture from a sunburn and becomes very dry. Thus, it is crucial to aid in the repair process by frequently applying moisturizing cream or lotion. Be sure to not apply so much that your skin cannot breathe. Also apply aloe vera, a natural soothing, anti-inflammatory gel that has been used for thousand of years to treat wounds and burns. For added relief, cool your lotion of aloe vera in the refrigerator before applying to your skin. Hydrate Your skin and body has lost a lot of essential fluids and you may now have a fever or headache. Often times, these are signs of dehydration. Drink plenty of water and eat fruit to combat dehydration. Watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe
Take It Easy
Stay indoors, avoid the sun, and give your skin time to repair. Wise up and be more sensitive about your sun exposure and protect yourself with sunscreen, hats, and clothing.
Although the FDA says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest products containing Vitamin A or its derivatives are harmful, Canadian health authorities and groups such as the EWG (Environmental Working Group) are concerned that the additives increase sun sensitivity. In particular, they have proposed sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate, a Vitamin A derivative, to carry a warning saying they can increase the possibility of sunburn for up to a week.
Furthermore, Canadian health authorities go on to say to “please limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.”The sunscreen industry adds Vitamin A to beach and sport sunscreens, daily face sunscreens, and SPF-rate makeup products and lip balms. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that is believed to slow skin aging and studies of Vitamin A’s carcinogenic properties raised the possibility that is may speed the growth of tumors on the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Despite evidence that Vitamin A can trigger carcinogenic activity, the FDA has delay taking action on restricting retinly palmitate in sunscreens in favor of ordering additional studies. Thus, regulatory action may be postponed indefinitely.
Be safer than sorry - take EWG’s advice and “avoid sunscreen and skin products with retinyl palmitate until the industry can prove it is safe for sun-exposed skin.”
Spray-on sunscreen is quite convenient but inhaling its questionable chemicals is a health risk. The chemicals used in rub-in sunscreen for years and years are still not yet fully understood, so why inhale them? Furthermore, spray-on sunscreens also make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot, thus leaving bare skin exposed to harmful UV rays.
According to the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG), the two major types of sunscreen available in the U.S. are "chemical" and "mineral" sunscreens. “Chemical” sunscreens are more common, and its active ingredients such as PABA or PARSOL 1789 and oxybenzone penetrate into the bloodstream and mimic the body’s natural hormones and may confuse the body's Endochrine system, which regulates our mood, growth and development, metabolism, and reproductive processes.
"Mineral" sunscreens are considered somewhat safer, as their active ingredients are from natural elements such as zinc or titanium. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide strong sun protection with few health concerns, and don't break down in the sun. Thus, EWG recommends to sticking with "mineral" sunscreens while taking other precautions such as looking for shade, wearing protective clothing and eyewear, and avoiding the noontime sun.
EWG recommends avoiding spray-on sunscreens entirely. "These ingredients are not meant to be inhaled into the lungs." Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is exploring the risks of inhaling spray sunscreens, which are greatest among children.
Here a few examples of sunscreens recommended by the EWG:
Click here to see the complete list of sunscreens that meet EWG's criteria.
Do: Wash your face and moisturize at bedtime
The skin on your face is one of the dirtiest parts on your body from being unintentionally touched all day long. Washing your face every will get rid of dirt and free radicals that can clog pores. Moisturizing will aid in skin repair and healing that occurs while you sleep.
Don’t: Use bar soap to wash your face
The binders in bar soap have a high pH balance, making it too drying for most skin types. Thus, bar soap immediately strips your skin of all its water, instantly creating dead skin cell buildup. In general, bar soap should never touch the skin from the neck down. Instead, look for mild, sulfate free, low foaming gel cleansers. Avoid high foaming cleansers.
Do: Exfoliate your skin
Exfoliating both your face and body weekly helps get rid of the dead top layers of skin that give us a dull complexion. Also, moisturizers will better penetrate your skin since the dead, flaky layer is scrubbed away. Some say the best time to exfoliate is in the morning, after your skin has repaired itself overnight. Here are some great tools for exfoliation: Facial scrub – gentle salt or sugar based one that leaves your skin feeling ‘dewy’. Avoid alcohol based ones. Basic washcloth – put a dab of cleanser on a damp washcloth and massage your skin in a circular motion. For 30 seconds. Rise off with lukewarm water. Retinoids – removes the top layer of dead skin cells while generation collagen, the skin’s structural fiber. Most skincare experts consider retinoids to be a miracle skin saver. However, retinoids are not recommended for women who are pregnant or who are breastfeeding.
Don’t: Overcleanse your skin
When you overcleanse your skin, you strip out the essential oils and water that keep skin healthy and balanced. If your skin feels taut and tight after cleansing, then it is a sign that your skin is crying out for moisture and that you are using a cleanser that is too harsh for your skin. Some effects of overcleansing are: Rashes – dry, red, flakey, irritated skin that may accelerate aging Adult acne – due to overactive oil glands triggered by a panic response
Do: Wear sunscreen
The number one cause of wrinkles is sun damage, so wear sunscreen with at least a SPF of 30. One trick is to purchase moisturizer with sunscreen for the day and one without sunscreen for the night. The ingredients in sunscreen are not mean to be used 24/7 and can aggravate your skin. Also, there is no cure for melanoma skin cancer, only prevention by wearing sunscreen.
Don’t: Skip wearing sunscreen on cloudy and winter days The sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays – UVA and UVB. UVB rays, which cause your skin to get tan or sunburn, are less strong in the winter than in the summer. However, UVA rays, which cause premature skin again and skin cancer, are equally strong from summer to winter. Even on a cloudy day, you are still getting UV damage if you do not wear sunscreen.
Do: Moisturize your skin
Your skin needs water to keep skin cells hydrated and healthy. Lack of water will cause skin cells to die prematurely, resulting in dead skin cell build up and clogged pores
Don’t: Substitute drinking water for using a skin moisturizer
Although drinking plenty of water has multiple benefits for your body such as increasing brain function, maintaining energy levels, and aids in weight loss and digestion, it is the least efficient and effective way to hydrate your skin.
Given how aggressively media outlets have pushed awareness of breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer over the past few years, it is astonishing that skin cancer is actually the most prevalent cancer in America. If fact, the number of skin cancer cases diagnosed annually is greater than breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined. Yet, compared to other common cancers, there is a lack of awareness for skin cancer.
Skin cancer is divided into the non-melanoma and melanoma categories. Non-melanoma, in the form of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer, is the more common form with around 2 million cases diagnosed last year in this country. Melanoma, the more serious type of skin cancer, attributes to over 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths and is the number one cancer for the age group 25 to 29. One American dies of melanoma every hour.
Here are some staggering facts about Melanoma Skin Cancer:
Summer is quickly approaching and here are some sun safety tips:
Sun spots, also known as sun freckles, age spots, liver spots or solar lentigines, are caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light from either the sun or a tanning bed rather than by aging. Sun spots can develop from not using sunscreen regularly or from not taking other measures to protect the skin, such as wearing a hat or long sleeves. Although sun spots are not cancerous, you may be more at risk for skin cancer. Even so, most people don’t want sun spots on their skin.
Sun spots is a common condition of hyperpigmentation in which patches of skin become darker in color than the surrounding skin. When you skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, your skin naturally produces a brown pigment called melanin that makes your skin tan to help absorb the radiation in a safer way. However, overexposure to the sun without sunscreen can cause excess melanin deposits to form in the skin, leaving behind freckle-like spots that can become darker or more pronounced as your skin becomes exposed to the sun.
Although there are fade creams and laser treatments that will reduce or remove sun spots, they tend to be expensive and may contain bleach.
The easiest and most obvious way to prevent sun spots is to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily to your face, arms and shoulders before going outdoors. Sunscreen will also prevent any existing sun spots you have from growing larger and larger. Remember that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
This transparent gel has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds and burns. Although there is no scientific consensus yet, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of aloe vera in reducing sun spots. Plus, aloe vera is natural, non-toxic when used externally, will not harm the skin, and is cheap to purchase. Apply aloe to your sun spots twice a day and watch them gradually fade away.
Vitamin C and E
High levels of Vitamin C is a natural skin brightener, but you skin will be more sensitive to sunlight, so be sure to wear sunscreen. Vitamin E oil gives your skin moisture and antioxidants it needs for healing. When applied to sun spots, Vitamin E encourages your skin cells to regenerate. As an added bonus, Vitamin E oil smooths your skin and removes imperfections.
Apply lemon juice directly to your sun spots, wait 15 minutes, and then rinse your skin. Lemon juice is safe and effective in lightening your skin. The sun spots should fade or disappear within a few weeks
Spring break is here and many young adults show off cool body art by getting henna tattoos. Henna tattoos are realistic-looking and temporary, lasting from a few days to several weeks before fading away. Risk free and fun, right? Well, a new warning from the FDA states that certain temporary tattoos can cause permanent damage. In this case, the warning is for “black henna” tattoos.
Unlike permanent tattoos where ink is injected under the skin, henna tattoos are drawn or stenciled onto the skin’s surface. Traditional henna is reddish-brown and is derived from a flowering plant that is native to Asia and Africa. Traditional henna has been used for skin decoration for centuries and is not part of the warning.
The FDA warning has to do with “black henna” tattoos that contain para-phenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is commonly used for hair dye, smells like bleach or ammonia, and is not approved for direct application to the skin. If the temporary tattoo artist is using ink that is jet-black and stains quickly, then it is most likely PPD based.
Direct application of PPD to the skin can have horrible side effects. The FDA has received reports of redness, blisters filled with fluid, loss of pigmentation, and permanent scarring. The reactions may be immediate or may not appear for a few days or weeks after exposure. One particular report from a mother, who also happens to be a nurse, states that her daughter’s skin looked “the way of a burn victim, all blistered and raw.”
Protect your skin and if you are thinking about getting temporarily body art, be sure that the artist is not using “black henna.” Be on the lookout for jet-black ink, as it may be PPD based. When in doubt, don’t take the risk or you may be left with a permanent scar.
A new study has shown that taking a low daily dose of aspirin may prevent melanoma (skin cancer) in older women. Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, CA analyzed data from nearly 60,000 postmenopausal Caucasian women who enrolled in a 12 year follow-up study.
Researchers found that during the 12 years, women who regularly used aspirin had a 21 percent lower overall risk for developing melanoma compared with women who did not take aspirin. Medical student Christina A. Gamba discovered that taking aspirin regularly less than one year reduced melanoma risk by 11 percent. Taking aspirin 1 to 4 years resulted in 20 percent lower risk, and taking it five years or more resulted in 30 percent lower risk.
Aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties may have played a role but Ms. Gamba is currently reanalyzing the data to see if anti-inflammatory activity or another mechanism is responsible for the aspirin takers’ reduced risk of skin cancer. Thirty-two thousand women in the US will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and the disease will kill 3,120.
Keep in mind that signs of melanoma can begin with an irregular shaped mole that changes in color and size. Always cover up your skin and wear sunscreen. And for areas that you cannot reach, such as the middle of your back, use the SunBuddy Lotion Applicator. If you wish to add aspirin to your daily regimen, be sure to speak to your doctor first.
Not only is UV radiation bad for your skin, it is just as bad for your eyes. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight increases the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration (blindness), and cancerous growths on the eye. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. Excessive exposure to UV can be caused by sunlight reflected off sand, water, or pavement.
Thus, it is important that you wear sunglasses every time you are outside, no matter the season of the year. Snow reflects nearly 80 percent of sunlight while beach sand only 15%. And just because it is cloudy outside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear your sunglasses. UV radiation is invisible and penetrates through clouds.
Prices for sunglasses range from few dollars to a few hundred, making it difficult to choose the right one. Do expensive brand name sunglasses necessarily mean better protection? In some cases yes, in some cases no. Sunglasses from Ray-Ban or Oakley will be more comfortable, durable, scratch resistant and higher quality than sunglasses from your local drug store. But if the cheap sunglasses offer 100% UV Protection, then they offer just as much protection as the more expensive sunglasses.
Here are some more tips for buying proper sunglasses.
UVA/UVB Protection Rating:
Look for a label that reads “UV 400”, “100% UV Protection” or “Blocks 98% of UVA and UVB Rays.” Sunglasses that block UV radiation up to 400 nanometers is the equivalent to blocking 100% of UV rays.
Avoid sunglasses with vague labels that read “UV Protective” or “UV Absorbing” because they offer little to no protection at all. Also, avoid paying extra for UV coating on sunglasses that already provide 100% UV protection.
The FDA does not regulate that sunglasses must provide any particular level of UV protection, so when in doubt, stick with brands that specialize in sunglasses such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Maui Jim.
Many brand name sunglasses have lenses that provide clear, sharp vision. Also, the plastic materials in these lenses will be thicker and won’t wrap when exposed to heat like the thinner lenses in cheap sunglasses.
However, if is possible to find sunglasses around $30-70 that are high quality and offer excellent optics with this simple test. First, hold the frame perfectly level from an arm’s distance away. Then, move the lenses slowly side to side and up and down as you focus on a stationary object (sign, parked car, door frame) in the distance. As you move the lenses across the object, the image should not shift and lines should not bend or distort.
Light vs. Dark Tints:
Don’t be fooled by dark tints. The tint of the sunglasses has nothing to do with the amount of UV protection they provide. It is more important that the sunglasses are correctly labeled to provide 100% UV Protection.
To Polarize or Not to Polarize:
Polarized lenses block horizontal waves of light that create glare. So, if you are frequently being distracted by glare while driving, boating, or skiing, then it may worth paying a little extra more. However, polarized sunglasses might interfere with clearly seeing LCD, digital, and cell phone displays. Be sure to test them out before investing the extra dollars.
Choose sunglasses that adequately shield the sensitive skin around your eyelids and prevent sunlight from entering from the side. Wrap-around shades provide the most sun protection since they cover your eyes from temple to temple. But if this style isn’t for you, then go with the current trend of having larger frames that cover your face from brow to the top of the cheekbone.
Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer incidences combined. Stop thinking melanoma and skin cancer only happens to other people and that if you get it, it is trivial to remove. Remember to wear sunscreen daily and to reapply every 2 hours or so.
If you need help applying sunscreen to your back and to other hard to reach areas, use the SunBuddy Lotion Applicator. It's compact, foldable, discrete, and can mean the difference between healthy and cancerous skin.
Myth: It's just a small melanoma mole. Just cut it off and I’ll be fine.
Reality: This may be true for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers that begin on the surface of the skin, but no so for melanoma. Melanoma occurs deep in the skin and can spread via the blood stream to major vital organs. Once the melanoma mole is removed, you may be still at fatal risk and may need advanced treatment.
Myth: If I get a small melanoma mole and have it removed, my skin will heal really fast.
Reality: Inches of skin around the melanoma site may need to be removed, often times leaving a long scar several inches long. Melanoma can deeply penetrate your skin, requiring the doctor to cut down all the way to the bone and leaving a concave hole that is visible even after the area has healed.
Myth: Only older people get skin cancer.
Reality: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer if the course of a lifetime. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old.
Myth: Skin cancer usually appears on your back and shoulders.
Reality: This is true for men, but the most common site for melanoma for women is on the lower legs. Another common area for skin cancers is the face and hands, where the skin is thin.
Myth: A "base tan" protected your skin.
Reality: There is little evidence that this is true. Any tan at all is a sign of skin damage and there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Myth: I need some sun or I'll be Vitamin D deficient.
Reality: While it is true that the sun synthesizes Vitamin D in our skin, too much sun exposure can break it down. Rather than taking the risk and soaking up direct sunlight without sunscreen, doctors recommend 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily and recommend consuming foods high in D, such as salmon, eggs, and fortified milk or taking a D supplement.
Myth: SPF 100 offers twice the protection of SPF 50.
Reality: The FDA is promoting the SPF cap to be 50. SPF 50 blocks 97 percent of UVA radiation, and there is little to no data that proves an SPF over 50 is more effective.
Myth: It's a cloudy or overcast day, so I’m not at risk.
Reality: This is not so. Although the UVB rays that make you feel hot and burning may be minimized, UVA rays are still full force no matter the weather. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Myth: Awareness has gone up and people aren’t getting skin cancer.
Reality: Melanoma has been on the rise in recent years and so has the use of tanning booths. One American dies of melanoma every hour and younger and younger people are developing skin cancer. In fact, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in 15-29 year olds and the most common form in 25-29 year olds.
Myth: People with darker skin do not get skin cancer.
Reality: It is true that darker skinned people face a lower risk of skin cancer. However, they are more likely to die from it. Since darker skinned people do not easily burn, they have a false sense of security and often overlook early warning signs of skin cancer.
Know your skin type to beeter protect it from the sun. Match your skin to the color that best resembles your own.
After more than 30 years, the FDA has finally updated regulations for sunscreens. For years, mislabeling has caused mass customer confusion and misleading claims. With skin cancer on the rise, consumers have the right to know if their sunscreen of choice is safely and effectively protecting them from the sun’s cancerous UV rays.
The new FDA regulations require sunscreen brands to rework their labels and possibly their formulas because of new testing methods. Major sunscreen brands had until December 2012 to comply with the new regulations. So, the sunscreen products available today at your local retailer should include the updated labels to make it easier for you to choose the right one for you.
Keep in mind there quite a few changes. But in the end, it is a win-win situation for us, the consumers.
Here’s a summary of what to look out for:
Sunscreens with a SPF of 15+ can be marked to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging.
Sunscreens with SPF 2-14 must now display a warning that the product has not been shown to prevent skin cancer or premature skin aging.
A sunscreen cannot claim to provide 2 hours of protection without valid data and tests to prove it.
Prior to the new FDA regulations, there was no standards regulating the term ‘broad spectrum.’ Thus, some sunscreen brands stated broad spectrum protection even if the sunscreen contained only a small amount of UVA blocking ingredients. In essence, the term ‘broad spectrum’ was more a marketing gimmick.
However, the new FDA regulations only allow sunscreens to be labeled as broad spectrum if they provide a SPF of 15 or higher and have passed a FDA-sanctioned test to prove protection against UVA and UVB radiation.
Proof versus Resistant
The terms ‘waterproof’, ‘sweatproof’, and ‘sunblock’are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels. The term ‘water-resistant’may be used if the sunscreen has been tested to protect the skin for 40 to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. A disclaimer must be included to instruct the consumer to reapply after 40 to 80 minutes or to use a ‘water-resistant’ sunscreen if swimming or excessively sweating.
Although not a regulation, the FDA is promoting the SPF cap to be 50. The FDA claims that they have not found data that proves SPF 100 to be more effective than SPF 50. Therefore, consumers should not be misled that a sunscreen product of SPF 100 provides double the protection on a sunscreen of SPF 50. This is simply not true.
In the past, cosmetic companies have labeled their makeup products to include SPF and broad spectrum protection. Because the new FDA regulations that do not make a distinction between beach and cosmetic products, makeup products that claim sun protection are subjected to the same regulations and tests as sunscreen products. Thus, this will cause cosmetic companies to re-evaluate their claims and possibly alter their ingredients and labels.
The FDA has requested additional data from manufactures to determine if spray-on sunscreens are effective and/or harmful if inhaled.
With a plethora of sunscreen lotions available on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you. Each sunscreen makes claims that are purely for marketing purposes, so by knowing the basics below, you’ll be able to decipher the facts from the fluff.
What is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen helps prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation rays, particularly UVA and UVB, from reaching and damaging the skin. UVB rays are the chief cause of redness and sunburns and damage the top layers of the skin.
UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin and are responsible for prematurely aging skin by causing it to wrinkle and to become leather-like. UVA is the dominant tanning ray and accelerates the development of skin cancer, especially by intensifying the carcinogen effects of UVB rays. UVA rays account for 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface and is the type of ray tanning booths emit, but with a dose 12 times more powerful than the sun.
What is SPF?
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB rays, not UVA rays, from damaging the skin. In simple terms, SPF prevents you from getting ‘burned.’ However, reddening” is caused to UVB rays alone, so plenty of UVA damage can be done even if you do not get a sunburn. A number denotes SPF, and the most common ones are 15, 30, and 50.
The higher the SPF, the more UVB rays are blocked.
Notice that no sunscreen can block 100% of UVB rays. Although SPF 15 provides excellent protection, it may be best to use 30 or 50 if you have sensitive skin or for good measure. The extra couple of percentages may not seem significant, but do make a difference if your skin is exposed to the sun for hours and hours.
The SPF number is also a theoretical factor of how long the sunscreen can prevent reddening. For example, if it takes 10 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, then using a SPF 15 sunscreen prevents reddening 15 times longer, or about 2.5 hours.
Regardless of the SPF used, sunscreen should be thoroughly reapplied to your skin every two hours and more frequently if you swim or excessively sweat.
What is Multi-Spectrum or Broad Spectrum Protection?
These labels indicated that some UVA protection is provided, but there is no consensus on how much protection is provided. Although it is best to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection, keep in mind that these labels are purely for marketing effect.
Sunscreen and Skin Protection Guidelines
Keeping your skin healthy during the winter can be as challenging as it is in the summer. Even though most of our skin is constantly covered during the cold winter months, little do we realize how many nutrients, moisture, and natural oils are being zapped out of our skin. As our hands and skin become dry, itchy, and cracked, we realize how difficult it can be to treat these winter skin symptoms. If untreated, dry skin my lead to dermatitis, which causes swelling and infection.
Here are some tips to help prevent and treat dry skin:
Indoor tanning exposes both UVA and UVB rays that damage the skin and can lead to cancer. People who begin tanning younger than the age of 35 have a 75% higher risk of developing melanoma.
Data courtesy of skincancer.org, cdc.gov, and melanoma.com.
Regular exposure to sunlight allows our skin cells to use UVB rays to synthesize vitamin D, a steroid vitamin that is important for a maintaining a strong immune system. Other benefits include:
However, with modern lifestyles that include more time indoors and scientists warning about the dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer, it is no surprise that most people are vitamin D deficient. Keep in mind that our skin makes vitamin D only when directly exposed to the sun, and skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Other factors such as cloudy days, smog, sunscreens, and having dark skin tone may reduce your body’s vitamin D synthesis.
Advocates of unprotected sun exposure promote 5-10 minutes of UV exposure from the sun 2-3 times a week so that the body can regularly synthesize vitamin D. However, dermatologists and skin cancer groups have strongly argued against unprotected sun exposure, since too much will damage skin cells, accelerate aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer.
So if unprotected sun exposure is too dangerous but yet our bodies need adequate amounts of vitamin D for good health, what is one to do?
Luckily, adequate amounts of vitamin D can be obtained from vitamin D fortified foods and dietary supplements, thus averting the need of dangerous UV exposure. Not many foods contain vitamin D, but the follow do:
Although vitamin D obtained from supplements are not as effective as naturally synthesized vitamin D by our body, it is a much safer and noncarcinogenic alternative to lying unprotected in the sun.
Melanoma (mel•a•no•ma): A highly maglinant type of of skin cancer that arises in melanocytes, the cells that product pigment. Melanoma usually begins in a mole.
You can follow 3 simple steps to reduce your risk of skin cancer
To detect the early stages of melanoma, look for moles or growth that:
If you notice one or more of these signs, immediately visit your dermatologist or healthcare provider. If detected at a very early stage, melanoma can be cured with surgery 90% of the time.
Math and Cancer
Although there are numerous types of cancer, the definition is the same - a growth caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Each year, more than:
The skin is the largest organ of our body. Although it's delicate, our skin works hard to combat the elements working against it.
Skin cancer forms in the tissues of the dermis and there are several types. The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell cancer. Although these cancers are serious, the most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma.
Each year, 70,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
Melanoma skin cancer
This skin cancer forms in melanocytes (skin cells that make pigment) and can occur on any skin surface. In men, it's often found on the head, neck, or back. In women, it's often found on the lower legs or back.
Basal cell skin cancer
This skin cancer forms in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and is typically found in areas exposed to the sun. It's commonly found on the face and is the most common type of skin cancer among people with fair skin.
Squamous cell cancer
This skin cancer forms on squamous cells (flat cells that form the surface of the skin). It's usually found in places that are not exposed to the sun, such as legs or feet and is the most common type of skin cancer among people with dark skin.
Looking at Numbers
In a recent study by the American Cancer Society, the overall number of cancer incidences and death rates has decreased. However, in the past 30 years melanoma cancer incidents have increased rapidly. Most recently the increases have occurred among young white women between the ages of 15 - 39 years (3% per year since 1992) and white adults 65 years and older (5% per year for men since 1985 and 4% per year for women). Melanoma skin cancer primarily affects white adults and the occurrence rate for whites is ten time higher than in blacks. Among whites, rates are more than 50% higher in men than in women.
Melanoma is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths and an estimated 8,790 deaths in the U.S. annually. Of those deaths, two-thirds are men.
You don't need to cutout sunlight or the outdoors to lower your risk of skin cancer. The best way to decrease your risks of skin cancer is education and practicing sun safety. Here are some helpful tips:
Avoid the following:
Use the following: