According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “More than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S. in 2012, the most recent year new statistics were available.” Skin cancer is outpacing all the other cancers combined in the United States. Can you imagine 1/5 of the populations having skin cancer by the time they are 70?
What is even more shocking is that in the United States 92% of top commercial brands of sunscreen fail to block the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Consumer Reports did a study and “found that 43% of the 60 sunscreens tested failed to meet the SPF claim on the label. They found that of all the sunscreens we’ve tested over that stretch of time, fully half came in below the SPF number printed on the label, and a third registered below an SPF 30.”
Sunscreens have become a false safety net. In spite of applying sunscreen often, it fails to protect us from melanoma like we think it does. Most people aren’t fully aware of just how intense UV radiation is. The sun’s most intense times are from 10a to 4p, not just around the noon hour.
Elevation also plays a big part, there is about an increase of 4% intensity for every 1000 feet in elevation. If you are chilling out at 12,000 feet, chances are you have doubled your exposure to UV.
Reflective UV is a considerable factor in the winter. Skiers beware, the reflection off of the snow increases the UV intensity by about 80%. Whereas water skiers are exposed to double the intensity.
If you get caught cooking your skin like a Maine lobster your cells will suffer DNA damage. Worse still is the UVA breakdown of connective tissue causing that unattractive leathery look. A tan is a sign you have damaged the DNA’s melanin cells. Your body will try to kill the mutative cells, but when a mutated cell slips by, you end up with cancer. Unfortunately, melanoma spreads like wildfire.
The next time you are hanging out in the sun consider the following to protect yourself, save yourself from the agonizing “sun scream” due to overexposure!
While most sunscreens are ineffective, according to Fortune here are the top three sunscreens:
1. La Roche-Posay Anthellos 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk lotion
2. Pure Sun Defense SPF 50 lotion
3. Banana Boat SunComfort Continuous Spray SPF 50+
UV Blocking Sunglasses
UV-blocking shades can protect you from at least 95% of the harmful rays and help prevent cataracts. Wraparounds are the best.
Dermatologists recommend a hat with at least a 5-inch brim to protect the back of your neck, ears, and nose. I found it hard to find one with that large of a brim, but I use this unisex hat.
T-shirts are great but tend to stretch out when they are wet. Try a surfer’s rash guard the next time you are going to spend some time at the beach.
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