Health

Embracing The Sun

Here in Connecticut we went from spring which felt more like fall to summer in a matter of a day. That’s right. We went from 60 degree days to 90 degrees. Just like that. So this post seems perfectly timed. Today I’m going to share how I protect myself from the sun. Now, lets be honest here, there’s no guarantee that all of these precautions will save me from having to deal with health issues in the future. There’s also been some discussion on some of the ingredients in the sunscreens currently available. But a gal has to do something. Right?.

Especially because you can’t sit on the sidelines and let life pass you by. No, you got to get out there whether it’s sunny, cloudy or foggy.

So, here’s what this gal does on a regular basis.

Hats.

I love hats and how cool is it that an accessory can have health benefits? The floppier, the better.

Sunglasses.

I am rarely outside without them. One of the reasons is because the sun does bother my eyes. I’ve heard that people with blue eyes are more sensitive to the sun’s rays. I’m not sure if that’s true but it could be.

Sunscreen.

As I’ve written before, I apply sunscreen liberally and deliberately when I am outside. This is a must-have year round. And it’s even important when it’s cloudy outside.

Shade.

I also seek shade when I am outside, especially if I’m outside for a long period of time.

Warm weather is supposed to be enjoyed and these are the things I do so that I can enjoy spring and summer. When I pack my bag for Memorial Day weekend, I will be including sunscreen because I don’t want to miss one minute of the fun.

Be safe!

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Health

De-Mystifying Sunblock

Last week I wrote a post, Sunblock Is The New Black, where I touched upon the importance of sunblock and I know that when I’m in the sunblock aisle of the drug store I’m more than a little confused. And then there as the news story last year about the little white lies surrounding all those “water-resistant” claims. So I’ve decided to do a little research to help clear up my confusion and I decided to share it with you. Please be sure to consult with your physician about the appropriate sunblock for you and your family.

Lets start with SPF. WWhat exactly is SPF?
Sun Protection Factor. This rating indicates how long a sunscreen remains effective on the skin.

Is a higher SPF the better?
The the number doesn’t necessarily mean a significant amount of protection from the sun. An SPF 15 sunblock product blocks approximately 94% of UVB rays while a product with a SPF 45 blocks approximately 98% of rays.

What is UVA and UVB?
The sun gives off energy in the form of radiation. We can see the sunlight, but we can’t see or feel the sun’s UV’s rays. This ultraviolet radiation is made of UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are short, powerful and dangerous rays that affect the outer layers of our skin. The cause sunburns or produces melanin, aka that tanned look. UVA rays are longer rays that penetrate into the skin’s layers. The rays cause wrinkling and premature aging of our skin

When should sun block be applied?
Approximately 15-20 minutes before you step out into the sun.

Is water-resistant really water-resistant?
Water-resistant sunblock retains its SPF level after 40 minutes of water immersion. But it never hurts to re-apply.

How often does sunblock need to be reapplied?
Some sunblocks will lose their effectiveness after two hours. So re-apply often.

Spray-on vs. Lotion, which one is better?
Both have their pros and cons. I like the spray-on because it dries quickly, easy to apply and doesn’t leave my hands greasy. However, it’s hard to tell if you’ve covered up completely. I think with lotions you have better control of where you’ve applied sunblock. And I guess either one is the better choice if you use it consistently.

Applying sunblock is an extra-step in our already hectic life, but it’s well worth the couple extra minutes we spend. Now we are armed with info to hit the drug store and buy what we need to help protect us from the sun and allow us to enjoy these great warm days ahead.

Which do you prefer? Spray-on or lotion?

Health

Sunblock Is The New Black

Morning routine (not in any particular order): Shower, brush teeth, feed dogs, prep food for the day, style hair, drink 2 cups of coffee and apply sunblock.

Just like brushing my teeth and drinking my coffee, applying sunblock is something I do every morning before I the make-up goes on.

I’ve been a proponent and avid user of sun block for years. When I was a kid, my aunt and cousins tanned while I just burned. So I learned early on that sunburns hurt and that I didn’t want to be in pain. I applied sun block, wore a hat and covered up. I spent my whole life pale and I learned to accept it. I’ll share a little secret, I barely have any lines on my face and I think that’s because I stood out of the sun. You never caught me basking in the sun’s rays. Nope. And now I’m glad I made those choices.

Being fair skinned, I’ve paid attention to the warnings of skin cancer and over the years I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share. Maybe you already know this (then it never hurts to hear it again), maybe you don’t (then it never hurts to learn something).

Lets take a little quiz (it’s multiple choice):

How much sunblock should you apply (keeping in mind you will be reapplying every 30-40 minutes when you are outside).
a. a palm full
b. a tablespoon
c. a shot glass full

I need to apply sunblock when it’s…
a. sunny out
b. cloudy out
c. all of the above

Which is a Class 1 carcinogen?
a. arsenic
b. cigarettes
c. indoor tanning
d. all of the above?

Answers:
1. C
2. C
3. D

Did I know anything of this when I was a teenager? No. Do teenagers today know any of this? Yes. There’s been an open dialogue about the dangers of tanning, whether it’s outdoor or indoor, but yet too many of us seem to not remember the message. Maybe it’s the extra step of putting on the sunblock first thing in the morning or re-applying when we’re having fun. Maybe it’s because we don’t think it can happen to us.

Maybe we need a reality check.

1 out of 5 Americans will develop skin cancer
Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, the greatest risk are for women aged 45 years or younger.
Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the past 30 years.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the most common cancer for 25- to 29-year-olds.

As we get ready to celebrate the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day with cookouts and fireworks lets not forget sun block. Lets make sunblock our new black – the must-have essential for everyday.