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Staying Safe and Keeping Your Skin Healthy In The Summer Sun

Written by Livia Alcantara
On July 26, 2021

Not all sunscreens are the same, we all know the importance of wearing sunscreen, but did you know there are two types of sunscreen?

Mineral and chemical. The active ingredients of both sunscreens work by creating UV filters that keep harmful UV rays from penetrating the skin. Each type of sunscreen has a different way of filtering harmful UV rays and protecting your skin from damage. 1

Mineral Sunscreens:

Mineral sunscreens sit on the skin’s surface, acting as a physical blocker by deflecting UV rays away from the skin like thousands of tiny mirrors. Since mineral sunscreens block UV rays at the surface level, the user is protected against UVA and UVB rays. A great bonus for mineral sunscreens is that they create a physical barrier, so they are effective as soon as they are applied, with no wait time. Mineral sunscreens can be visible on the skin due to the white-ish cast they give off when applied. Since this type of sunscreen sits on the skin’s surface, it can easily be rubbed, washed, or sweated off quickly, which means frequent reapplication is a must.

Chemical Sunscreens:

Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin, getting layers deep. They work by absorbing UV rays, changing them into heat, then releasing the heat back through the skin. Since the UV rays must penetrate the skin to reach these chemicals in the deeper layers, chemical sunscreens do not protect against all UVA rays, which means damage could still occur to the deeper layers of the skin. It’s also important to note that chemical sunscreens take about 20 minutes to be effective, unlike mineral sunscreens. Being in direct light causes the chemicals in chemical sunscreen to be used up more quickly, so reapplication must be more frequent. The heat-releasing property of these sunscreens can be highly problematic for sensitive and rosacea-prone skin, as well as for individuals with hyperpigmentation. Chemical sunscreens are not a fan favorite for those with acne-prone skin either, as the release of heat and chemicals tends to cause breakouts.

Recent news on benzene in popular sunscreens, as you might have heard, reports are coming out about traces of benzene, a cancer-causing agent, found in many popular sunscreens and after-sun products. 

“We know that exposure to benzene is associated with blood cancers such as leukemia,” says Michael Kasper, M.D., director of radiation oncology for Lynn Cancer Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. It’s unknown how this agent ended up in products; however, a popular theory could be the result of contamination in the manufacturing process. “Or, it may be a naturally occurring breakdown of other chemicals contained in those sunscreens, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, and homosalate,” says Dr. Kasper. These chemicals are related to benzene. Even though the FDA approves them for use in sunscreens and other products, many manufacturers are now excluding them from their formulations. It’s important to note; benzene contamination only seems to be present in chemical sunscreens2

The ABCs of Early Warning Signs

The number one form of cancer today is skin cancer. Luckily, it’s easy to protect yourself from this type of cancer, and when armed with the knowledge of what to look for, you can spot early warning signs. The biggest red flag is any change in your skin, which could include a new growth, a sore that has trouble healing, or changes to an old mole. For melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer, there is a simple way to remember the warning signs: A-B-C-D-E. 3

“A” stands for asymmetrical.

Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?

“B” stands for border.

Is the border irregular or jagged?

“C” is for color.

Is the color uneven?

“D” is for diameter.

Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?

“E” is for evolving.

Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

Remember, not all skin cancer looks the same, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your skin so they can give your the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. 

How To Keep Your Skin Safe All Summer

  • Tip 1: Choose Lotions- Whether you prefer chemical or mineral sunscreen, the FDA prefers users to opt for a lotion formula to limit nanoparticles from being inhaled and exposed to the lungs.

 

  • Tip 2: Don’t Forget Your Lips– As silly as this may seem, lots of people forget to apply sun protection to their lips. Your lips are sensitive and can get sunburn if unprotected. Be sure to use a lip balm with SPF protection to help keep your lips burn-free.

 

  • Tip 3: Be Aware of Medication and Products- Some medications and cosmetic products, such as retinol, can your skin more sensitive to sunlight and cause you to burn easier. Be sure to read the side effects and instructions for all medications and products before exposure to sunlight.
  • Tip 4: Use Protective Clothing– We aren’t just talking about hats here. There are tons of different styles of protective clothing out there today, from swimwear to scarfs to undershirts. No matter the activity or conditions, you can find protective clothing that’s your style and keep you safe with different SPF ranges.

 

  • Tip 5: Don’t Skip Your Appointment With The Dermatologist– It’s recommended to have an annual visit with your dermatologist to note any changes to your skin. It’s also wise to self-check your skin roughly once a month in a well-lit room, preferably in front of a full-length mirror. If you notice any changes to your skin, be sure to contact your doctor to schedule a visit.

GeniusRx Helps You Soak Up The Savings Loving

Here at GeniusRx, we are all about helping our patients save while providing them with FDA-approved medications to help treat their conditions. Our team is dedicated to helping you feel better quickly, so we are pleased to offer fast and free delivery to your home so you can get back to enjoying the things you love this summer. 

Contact us today or visit our website for more information.

Data and information from: 

(1) Baptist Health (2) EWG (3) Cancer

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