Sunscreen Facts

Happy Fourth of July! If you’re going to the beach, boating, playing in the sun or just taking a quick walk… don’t forget your sunscreen! If the higher risks of skin cancer hasn’t convinced you, think of this: Daily use of sunscreen will give you significantly younger-looking skin, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Nine hundred and three participants were divided into four groups. The first group applied a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher on a daily basis and were told to apply it to the head, neck, arms, and hands in the morning and again after extended exposure to the sun or contact with water. The second group applied sunscreen when and if they usually did — without any guidance, the third group took beta-carotene supplements, while the last group took a placebo.

The study lasted 4-1/2 years. The results? People who applied sunscreen daily showed no visible signs of increased aging on their skin! Members of the groups who used sunscreen occasionally or not at all displayed an average of 24 percent more skin aging — dryness, wrinkles, and blotches! The results for groups that used the supplement and placebo were inconclusive.

There are a lot of sunscreen products out there. There are a couple things to remember. The sun has two types of invisible rays: ultraviolet A (UVA), and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays are actually longer, their penetration into the skin is deeper than the UVB rays, and play a large role in tanning, premature aging, loss of elasticity, and wrinkling of the skin. UVB rays main risk is in damage to the superficial layers of the skin — reddening of the skin and sunburns. Both types of rays are associated with skin cancer. Keeping this in mind, remember that sunscreens list their level of sun protective factor (SPF). An SPF of 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. Unfortunately, no system approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration measures UVA protection is available at this time.

Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays, these products will say “broad spectrum protection” or “UVA and UVB protection” on the label. You’ll get a lot of protection for the few minutes application costs you! You’ll …

  • shield you body from harmful rays.
  • decrease your risk of skin cancer.
  • prevent facial brown spots and skin discolorations.
  • reduce the appearance of facial red veins and blotches.
  • slow premature aging of your skin.

Go for it! Relax and and enjoy some carefree fun in the sun – block the rays, and wrinkles and age spots while reducing the risk of skin cancer!

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