Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Going to the beach Or shopping or simply stepping out with friends!!! Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen! No matter how the weather is – sunny or cloudy, you need to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. The sun’s harmful UV rays not only cause sun tan, but can also cause your skin to age prematurely. Aside from avoiding the sun entirely, it is your best defense against skin cancer. A good sunscreen can even protect your skin from skin cancer!

But is your sun screen giving you the right protection? 

How to choose the best sunscreen!!!

The sunny season ahead ..You are stocking up on sunscreen for . Select a sunscreen that says broad spectrum on the bottle. These provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

A sunscreen that offers SPF 30 protection

It should have an SPF of 30 or higher. Remember that sunscreens with an SPF of 45 or higher don't allow you to stay out longer. You still need to reapply every two hours.

Make sure the label says that it contains sunscreen. Some lotions and tanning oils don't, so they'll offer no protection from the sun's harmful rays.

Should not contain dangerous ingredients
In the list of ingredients, it should say one these: oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), ecamsule, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.This is an inexpensive ingredient added to the product for UV protection. But zinc oxide can make your face look pale and ghostly.

Water and sweat resistance
If you spend time in the water, choose one that is water-resistant. If you exercise outside, select one that is sweat-proof. A sunscreen that does not offer this benefit is actually pretty useless.

Skin allergies
For people suffering from skin irritation, allergies, or a sensitive skin it is important to avoid sunscreens that contain alcohol, fragrances, chemicals or preservatives. For such people it is doubly important to check and re-check the ingredient list!

Acne- prone skin
Water-based sunscreens are available in the market. If you have an oily or acne prone skin, use water based sunscreen. These do not cause your skin to break out like oil based creams.

Kid-friendly sunscreen
Kids need sunscreens as much, if not more, than we adults do. But be very careful while choosing a sunscreen for them. Children have sensitive skins and ingredients present in a sunscreen may cause allergic reactions. Do a little a research and buy a cream specially manufactured for kids. These sunscreens do not contain para-aminobenzoic acid (paba) and benzephenones and are gentle on the skin.

Sunscreen sprays
It is best to avoid sunscreen sprays. Using sprays lead to a lot of product wastage. But if you still want to go for a spray, make sure to avoid inhaling the mist after spraying. Sunscreens in spray form are best suited for people with hairy bodies or bald spots.

Expiration date
Last but not the least – check the expiration date on the package. This should become a habit for all of us while buying any product. A product past its expiration date can cause severe harm to your skin as the ingredients tend to degrade with time.

Why better sunscreens are needed

A new study has revealed that even a low level of daily exposure to a common component of sunlight, ultraviolet A1, or UVA1, can cause skin damage at the molecular level after just a few days. 

The findings by researchers at University of Michigan Medical School highlighted the need for better sunscreens to protect against these damaging rays, and prevent the process that can cause skin to look old, wrinkled and sagging prematurely. 

The researchers showed that damage starts after just two daily exposures to a low amount of ultraviolet A1, or UVA1, light- which makes up most of the UV light we are exposed to throughout the day, and tanning bed light too. 

By showing that repeated exposure to the type of UVA1 light that we typically experience on a sunny day causes these damaging processes in the skin, the researchers hope it will lead to the development of new protective ingredients in sunscreens, and more caution about routine sun exposure throughout the day. 

The researchers were able to measure the effects of UVA1 at the molecular level using advanced gene expression analysis of skin samples from human volunteers. 

The researchers shined a low level of pure UVA1 rays, as might be encountered in daily life, on small areas of 22 volunteers'' buttocks. A day later, they measured changes in skin pigmentation. Then, they took tiny samples of skin, in order to detect which genes had been ''turned on'' by the light exposure. They repeated this process three more times on each participant. 

After just two exposures, UVA1 rays caused skin cells to make molecules that break down the protein called collagen, which makes skin firm, smooth, and youthful in appearance. 

The UVA1 also caused the skin to darken a little with each exposure, but this tan didn''t protect against further production of the collagen-destroying molecule, called matrix metalloproteinase 1 or MMP1, when the skin was exposed to more doses of UVA1. 

There is very little UVB in sunlight, and most UVB exposure is at midday. During the rest of the day it''s mostly UVA, with UVA1 being the majority. UVA1 is also the main component of tanning booth light. So, we wanted to look at whether it can predispose skin to premature aging by simulating repetitive daily exposure. And we found that it can. Furthermore, the mild tanning that occurs does not seem to protect against damage from additional exposures. 

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