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Sunscreen

Sunscreen

Half of U.S. adults under 30 say that they have had sunburn at least once in the previous year. UV rays are the principle cause for the overproduction of free-radicals, which oxidize or damage skin at the cellular level by diminishing our body's store of antioxidants. When metal oxidizes, we call it rust--when skin oxidizes, we call it aging.

There are so many varieties of sunscreens that it sometimes seems as if we are following a confusing maze. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has partnered with dermatologists to simplify all of the SPF numbers, terms, and ingredients used in labeling. Gone are the words sunblock--now sunscreen, water proof--now water resistant, and if a sunscreen is labeled broad spectrum, it must filter both UVA/UVB rays. Gone too, are the misleading SPF values, where it was assumed that higher was better. Maximum sunscreen protection is now achievable in a more realistic range of SPF 30-to-SPF 50. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, SPF 30 is 97% effective and SPF 50 is 98% effective.

What is Ultra Violet B or UVB radiation? Think of it as the rays that burn and that cause redness, pain and damage the skin's surface or epidermis. It can be a factor in skin cancers.

What is Ultra Violet A or UVA radiation? Think penetration deep into the skin where blood vessels and connective tissue reside. UVA rays are present year-round, pass through windows and clouds, and are responsible for 95% of the radiation that reaches the skin. These rays not only suppress the immune system, but account for up to 80% of the skin's aging process. UVA rays also contribute to skin cancer, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and sun spots.

What do you need in a sunscreen? At a minimum, the first line of defense is a UVA/UVB broad-spectrum product that will both "reflect and deflect" rays. The second line of defense is a sunscreen supplemented with antioxidants, which specifically intensify protection from UVA rays, moisturize and shield against cell damage. R|Essentials contains only the highest-grade antioxidants.

Remember:
It takes 15 minutes for most sunscreens to become effective. Don’t leave sunscreen in a car – heat degrades and shortens shelf-life. Replace old sunscreen after three years. Snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays. Medications can be sensitive to heat and light: some antibiotics/chemo drugs, retinoids and NSAIDs – all may cause rash or easier sunburn. Don’t forget to use UVA/UVB-protected sunglasses. Be vigilant and reapply and lather all exposed body parts.