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Sun, Sunscreen and Sunburn

Ada Polla

The sun is shining (or at least should be!); it’s that time of year. And May was Skin Cancer Awareness Month so all in all, it is time to review sun, UV, sunburn and sunscreen. Here are some tips to help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to this burning topic (no pun intended…)

  • Myth: I don’t need to wear sunscreen on a cloudy day.
    Fact: Up to 85% of UV can penetrate light cloud cover.

  • Myth: I have a tan, so I won’t burn.
    Fact: Having a tan is only the equivalent of about SPF 4, and does not mean you won’t burn.

  • Myth: I am young so I don’t need to worry about skin cancer.
    Fact: Melanoma is the number one cancer seen in ages 25-29.

  • Myth: I need more vitamin D so I shouldn’t wear sunscreen.
    Fact: You only need about 10 minutes of sun exposure per day to get enough vitamin D for your well-being. (And remember, even with sunscreen on you will get sun exposure).

  • Myth: Getting sunburned just once won’t really harm my skin.
    Fact: A single sunburn in childhood will increase the risk of melanoma & it can take up to 5 years for the skin to fully recover from one burn!

  • Myth: Tanning beds are safe.
    Fact: UVs matter inside and out; indoor tanning may increase the chance of getting melanoma up to 75%.

  • Myth: Sunscreen will block all UV rays.
    Fact: “Sunscreen is not enough” as said Dr. Karen Burke. Remember to layer your antioxidants under your sunscreen, so you have a second line of defense (try our Alchimie Forever Diode 1 Plus Diode 2 Age Defying Serums and our Alchimie Forever Alexandrite Firming Gel for Neck and Bust for your body).

UVA versus UVB:
UVA rays damage DNA and can lead to skin cancer (the damage is not initially visible to the naked eye), while UVB rays lead to redness and ultimately wrinkles (the visible sunburn effects).

Chemical versus physical sunscreens:

  • Chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays. These are typically lighter sunscreens.
  • Physical sunscreens (really known as sun blocks) reflect UV rays. Ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used in physical sunscreens. The usual “thick, white, sticky” feel of sunscreens comes mostly from physical sunscreens.

Water-resistant versus waterproof sunscreens:

  • Water-resistant sunscreens maintain their SPF levels after 40 minutes of water exposure.
  • Waterproof sunscreens maintain their SPF levels after 80 minutes of water exposure.

The sun’s reflective powers are great:

  • 17% on sand
  • 80% on snow

In terms of sunscreens, I particularly love the following:

Armed with the facts and recommendations, you can ensure that you’re adequately protecting yourself from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Remember that you will tan, even if you stay in the shade and wear high SPF sunscreen. You will tan slower, safer, all the while protecting your skin. You earn the skin you’re in, so take good care of it, in particular during these sunny summer months.


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