May 15, 2012

Sunblock vs. Sunscreen



With Summer right around the corner, today I am giving you a lesson in protection.  For those of you who thought they were the same thing, there is a difference.
     Sunblock has inorganic ingredients that redirect and disperse UVB light.  UVB light only penetrates the outer layer of the skin, this ray causes sunburns.  Sunblock acts as a wall between the sun and your skin.  The main ingredients in sunblock are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.  If you are someone with sensitive skin this choice may be better for you as these ingredients are easier on the skin than those of the main ingredient in sunscreen, Parsol 1789.
     Sunscreen has chemicals that protect your skin by absorbing reflecting UV rays and allows a small amount of UV light to be absorbed into the skin.  The main ingredient in sunscreen is Parsol 1789 which protects against UVA and UVB rays, giving you even more protection.  UVA light penetrates deeper than UVB causing different types of damage like melanoma.  Most lotions have a combination of both so just read the labels to be sure your getting ample protection from the sun.
     We are lucky to live in an age that recognizes these rays are powerful and can do harm to the body if the skin is not properly protected.  The very first sunscreens were made to prevent sunburns in military personnel who would spend long hours in the bright sun.  Today, according to the FDA, sunscreens are used to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun.  Skin cancer accounts for half the cases of cancer in the United States making it the most common type of cancer.  More than 2 million Americans develop skin cancer each year.  It is also 5 times more widespread than breast or prostate cancer in the United States.
     With all this knowledge about the need to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun, its can be very hard to pick out a sunscreen from the vast selection in stores today.  So what are the best sunscreens on the market today?  First, choose an SPF 15 or higher for your UVB protection.  UVA protection has no rating for sun protection so be sure it contains the following ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone,oxybenzone, tiatanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.  According to consumer reports Targets UP & UP continuous spray sunscreen is #1 for 2 years ina row.  Three other brands that were high on the list are Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30, Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweat proof SPF 30, and CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30.  I also like Neutrogena, Bull Frog, Alba, who makes a great Organic sunscreen, and Aveeno for those of you with sensitive skin.
   Wearing sunscreen and sunblock is the best way to protect the surface of your skin from the sun.  There are also foods rich in antioxidants that can aide in sun protection from the inside out.  Below is a list of foods that are rich in antioxidants and carry cancer fighting properties:

Tomatoes: Rich in the antioxidant Lycopene which protects against UV damage

Cantaloupe: contains 10 times more Beta-carotene, 3 times more Vitamin C, and 1/3 more potassium than any other melon.

Halibut:  Filled with Omega 3 Fatty Acids which keep the skin hydrated, rich in calcium, fiber foliate, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium thiamine, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C.

Spinach: Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Quercetin and Lutein.

Whole Grains:Contain Fibrous proteins, zinc and vitamin A who work together to repair burnt skin

Soluble fiber:  This fiber moves cholesterol out of the arteries and lowers blood sugar which helps to keep excess sugar from binding to collagen skin cells.  When sugar binds to collagen's, skin cells can no longer pass each other and they start to stick.  Since collagen reduces wrinkles, when there is less of it to go around the result is more wrinkles and sagging skin.

Green Tea Extract: Reduces inflammation and sooths the skin

Milk: The lactic acid helps moisturise the skin

Oat Extract: Reduces inflammation

Soybean Oil Extract: Contains antioxidants and acts as an anti inflammatory.

Life is too short to die from something so preventable like skin cancer so please take head and protect yourself the next time your in the sun. Happy Sun Bathing!

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