Tag Archives: sun safety

UV Protection…for your Eyes?!

We all know it’s best to play it safe with sunscreen during the hot and hazy summer months (and year round!), but did you know your eyes need sun protection too? Your eyes are at risk for damage and signs of early aging due to UV exposure, even if you can’t tell right away like you would if your skin gets sunburned.

So what can you do to protect your peepers? Well, it’s not just about wearing sunglasses (but that’s a good start!).

Listen and Learn
Find out what you can do to protect your eyes and your skin on the new BlogTalkRadio edition of Healthy VisionTM with Dr. Val Jones*.  Dermatologist and AVEENO spokesperson Jeanine Downie, M.D., joins Dr. Val and Stephen Cohen, O.D., past president of the Arizona Optometric Association, to discuss the importance of protecting your entire body from the sun’s dangerous UV rays.

It’s an interesting podcast, so listen up at the link below!

Listen to internet radio with HEALTHY VISION on Blog Talk Radio



*Episode created by AVEENO and ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses
Photo: Jenny Erickson

SPF Safety: Sun Protection by the Numbers

Soon, you may pay more for this...in more way than one!
Soon, you may pay more for this…in more ways than one!

Where sun protection is concerned, the numbers can really add up.  Check out these interesting numbers about sun safety from some of the nation’s leading authorities.

0: The number of “healthy” tans (any tan signifies sun damage)
-The American Cancer Society

1: Ounce of sunscreen that should be applied before going outside (about the size of a shot glass)
-The Skin Cancer Foundation

2:  Hours that pass when you then need to reapply sunscreen for adequate protection (sooner if you heavily perspire or get wet)*

6: The minimum UV Index forecast number that triggers a UV Alert (issued only when the UV Index forecast is also higher than normal statistically — at or above the 95th percentile — for that date)
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SunWise Program

10: Tax percentage on indoor tanning proposed by Congress in the health reform bill*

15-30: Minutes before going out in the sun that you need to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen*

15: The minimum recommended SPF number to be worn in a broad spectrum sunscreen*

15: The number of minutes it can take for the sun’s UV rays to cause skin damage
-The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

17: Ingredients that are currently FDA approved that provide ultra violet protection
-The U.S. Food and Drug Administration

40: The percentage of 5-year survival rates for people diagnosed with Stage IIIC melanoma
-The American Cancer Society

8,700: Estimated number of people who will die of melanoma in 2010
-The National Cancer Institute

68,130: Estimated new cases of melanoma to be diagnosed in the U.S. during 2010
-The National Cancer Institute

*Data compiled from numerous sources

Photo: Cover – Stock Xchng user Terry_N; Sunbed – Patryk AKA Costa

SPF Safety: Are you Susceptible to Sun Damage?

This isn't the only way to get sun damage.
This isn’t the only way to get sun damage.

We all know that it’s not the best idea to lay in the sun at the beach for 10 hours straight. Or even one hour. But if you avoid direct sunlight, does that mean your skin’s safe?

According to skin-care expert and licensed esthetician Renée Rouleau, most sun damage to skin isn’t caused by basking in the sun during lazy summer days without protection. She asserts that the majority of sun damage is caused by everyday activities you might not be thinking of.

“Seventy-eight percent of all the sun damage that occurs in a lifetime is from incidental exposure…driving in the car, walking to the mailbox, gardening,” she says. “During these times of incidental exposure, you may think you’re not outside long enough to get any kind of sun damage — think again. Every time the sun sees your skin, you are increasing how fast your skin ages.”

So how do you avoid sun damage short of wearing your winter ski mask while watering the plants? The answer is right under your sunburned nose: SPF.

Renee Rouleau SPFRouleau, who sells her own Daily Protection SPF 30, firmly believes that everyone should be wearing a minimum of SPF 15 all over each and every day.  And the best way to do that, she says, is by wearing a moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF (blocking UVA and UVB rays) built right in.

“The key to protecting your skin in the sun is to re-apply your sunscreen generously at least every two hours,” advises Rouleau. “A little dab won’t do ya…you need to slather it on. The same SPF number rules for the body as face — minimum of 15.”

And there are no shortcuts to SPF safety. Rouleau says that swiping on a higher number SPF doesn’t necessarily mean you can avoid reapplying it as often.

“The truth is an SPF 30 only offers four percent more protection than an SPF 15.  As you get up in the higher numbers (SPF 45, 50, 70 +) that percentage comes down, but you’re also exposing your skin to more chemicals which might result in a negative reaction on the skin.”

The lesson here? Everyone is susceptible to sun damage, so don’t skimp on SPF, and reapply often — even if you’re not planning on spending time in the sun.

Photos: Sunbather – Matthew Bowden; SPF – Renee Rouleau

SPF Safety: I Wanna Soak Up the Sun…But What Should I Use to Protect My Skin?

happy sunWith the first official day of summer just days away, it’s time to start thinking about how we’re going to protect our skin as we prepare to take part in all those activities that define the summer months — biking, hiking, canoeing, beaching – all of which require us to be outdoors in the hot sun.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the first line of defense against sun damage is to avoid the sun as much as possible. This means staying in the shade or indoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. — the time of day when the sun’s rays are the strongest — and wearing clothes and sunglasses that provide coverage.

But lets be honest — I don’t want to wait until 3 p.m. to go to the beach, and while I’m there I certainly don’t want to be wearing a caftan. So what’s the next best option for sun protection?

The obvious answer is sunscreen. But which brands should you use? What does UVA protection mean? What SPF is best? Every week this summer, BX will be reviewing sun safety basics and the products that can provide it so you won’t have to be the beach bum in the muumuu.

This week, we’re spotlighting sunscreens for you eco-minded readers. The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, recently tested 500 sunscreens, and of all those products tested, only 39 earned the approval of EWG’s scientists. All of EWG’s recommended sunscreens have low hazard ratings according to the Skin Deep scale. Let’s check out their findings.

beach chairsHigh SPF

According to the FDA, little has been done to ensure that sunscreens with a sun protection factor above 50 actually provide extra ray resistance. Instead, the EWG found use of SPF 50+ products might encourage sunbathers and hikers alike to spend even more time in the sun without extra applications. They might think they’re covered, but they might be wrong.

Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

None of the EWG’s top recommended products contain chemicals that could be potential hormone disruptors. Using sunscreens with oxybenzone or 4-MBC, especially on children, could be hazardous.

Vitamin A

According to the EWG, sunscreens containing this ingredient might actually accelerate the development of skin cancer when the product is spread on the skin in the presence of sunlight. Look for “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol” on the label.

What do you think, readers? Have you tried any of the sunscreens the EWG recommends? Do they hold up to your expectations?

Photos: Cartoon Sun – Prashant Jambunathan; Beach Chairs – Prashant Jambunathan; Girl Sunbathing – Sanja Gjenero