How to Be Safe in the Sun – Dr. Stuart B. Porter & Robbi Boyer

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Though skin cancer can be scary, it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. With summertime approaching, and more exposure to the sun’s harmful effects, we’ve put together a few guidelines to help you reduce your risk of skin cancer while you’re out enjoying the summer sun:

Explore Medical Grade Sunscreen/Sunblock

The majority of skin cancer cases are due to ultraviolet damage from sunburns. Medical spas, dermatologists and some plastic surgeons may carry, in their office, an advanced medical grade sunblock, offered in SPFs of 30 or higher.

There are now better formulated broad-spectrum protection sunblock offered to consumers.  Better technologies and the use of nanotechnology offer new elegance and efficacy to well-known broad-spectrum sunblock ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the two best ingredients for a broad-spectrum sunblock.  They are used by SkinCeuticals,  Obagi,  SkinMedica and other doctor recommended skin care lines.  It’s not new science, and the better formulations now have the micronized particles so they don’t leave that weird, white residue on the skin.

Optimize Healthy Effects of Sun Exposure

While you certainly need to avoid the skin damage associated with sunburn, sun exposure is required for optimal health.  Renowned physician and best-selling author Dr. Joseph Mercola tells us: “If you accept the essential nature of UV light, then you can conclude that safe exposure to sunshine is possible by understanding your skin type, the UV strength at the time of exposure, and your duration of exposure. My advice has been clear: Always avoid sunburn.”

Darker-skinned people not only need more sun exposure to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D, they’re also more protected from skin cancer due to their skin pigmentation. Yet, this important reality is simply ignored by dermatologists, resulting in most African Americans being at a radically increased risk of cancers and heart disease from vitamin D deficiency.

The following excerpts are taken from Dr. Mercola’s website (www.mercola.com):

”How the sun affects you depends on your complexion, the shade of which is determined by melanin … The anti-oxidizing molecule is so versatile at protecting and repairing DNA from UV solar radiation that creatures from humans to fungi deploy it … [T]he melanin sits atop cellular DNA like tiny umbrellas pointed … out to shield from incoming rays …

[T]he same ultraviolet wavelengths in the 290 to 400 nanometers range that trigger melanin production also spark vitamin D creation. You cannot make one without the other.

Humans evolved to produce two kinds of melanin … The MC1R gene determines the type of melanin the body produces. In the mid-zone such as the Mediterranean region, people … produce eumelanin, the pigment responsible for brown or black hair and for dark skin that tans easily …

[I]n far northern Europe, humans paled, adapting to lower light … with a different type of melanin, called pheomelanin, associated with fair skin and blonde and red hair with minimal protective value, but allowing more UV to penetrate to make vitamin D. ”

Caution with Mid-Day Sun

Mid-day is associated with the strongest sun rays.  In North America the sun’s rays are strongest from 10:00 to 4:00.  Depending on skin type, we can safely expose ourselves to the sun for 5 to 20 minutes before applying sunblock. Protective clothing, a broad rimed hat, and sunglasses can also be used to prevent UVA and UVB rays from having access to your skin…(read the rest of the story)

Originally published on Utah Valley Health and Wellness

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