May 25, 2014

Grilling is good for food. Not skin.

MELANOMA CLAIMS THE LIFE OF ONE PERSON EVERY HOUR. 

Do we have your attention? Read on.

When you browse the aisles of a supermarket, you can find a nutrition label on the back of every packaged item; specifically the calorie content per serving. This can be helpful if you are watching what you are eating and trying to stay within the recommended nutrition guidelines. Typically there are general use directions or even ideas about how to incorporate the product into different recipes.

But what if you are purchasing sunscreen? You can see the make up of the active ingredients—specifically if the sun block is chemical, physical or both, as well as the “SPF” (read more about this number below)—but no where on the packaging does it by law, have to tell you how much of the lotion, cream or spray to apply in order to attain that sun protection. “Apply liberally” is definitely up for interpretation.

"U Vill Age & U Vill Burn”...unless...

Here is a rough guide on how much sunscreen you need to apply to get adequate protection from UVA and UVB rays. For your face, at least the size of a quarter. For your body, the size of a shot glass- which is about a 1/4 of the average bottle. Which means that a family of four should go through about a bottle if they are on the beach for about 4 hours.

A QUARTER FOR YOUR THOUGHTS? 

But back to the face—realize that if you are applying a moisturizer or makeup that claims to have an SPF of 30, you would need to use as much as demonstrated below to actually be receiving full protection. Which means, the more SPF the better. Get it in your daily moisturizer, your foundation—heck, even your bronzer if you can! The easiest and safest thing to do, would be to use a separate SPF all together that is intended to be applied using the “quarter rule.”

SPF CAN BE CALCULATED...SORT OF. 

SPF—or sun protection factor, is meant to be a multiplication factor you can use to determine how long you can stay in the sun without burning OR tanning. For example, if you can stay in the sun 20 minutes without burning, an SPF of 30 will allow you to stay in the sun 30 times as long, or 7.5 hours. This does not however, factor in excessive sweating, exposure to water, latitude, longitude, time of day or season.

THE “BIG BUT” 

There is no easy way to say it- tanned skin IS damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin indicates damage from UV rays.  AND to further complicate things- it can take up to 12 hours to show the full damage of exposure—so this “SPF” thing can be very difficult to determine.

To “play it safe” apply at least an SPF of 15 about 30 minutes before exposure and reapply at least every 4 hours or more often if you are exposed to excessive activity or water. (This applies to even “water resistant” or “water proof” sun block.)

And a few more tips before your fun in the sun…. or clouds or snow.

  • Clouds only slightly filter sun rays. Still apply your SPF! 
  • Don’t skip the lip. Use lip balm with SPF and reapply often.
  • If you are walking or running, reapply SPF every 2 hours.
  • Wind can thin sunblock. If you are in a windy environment, reapply SPF every 2 hours.

If this isn’t enough to convince you to wear sun screen (and apply it to those you love) here are a few more disturbing facts about melanoma and other skin cancers from SkinCancer.org.

It’s the start of “tanning season” and Nkd reminds you there is “no safe way to tan in the sun!” We recommend using sunless tanners or visiting spray tanning salons. If you need recommendations or tips, we are here to help. Please contact the studio by phone at 508-581-0881, email us at crystal@nkdworcester.com or stop by during business hours.