GREED. More doesn't always mean better. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures the length of time a product protects against skin reddening, compared to how long the skin takes to redden without protection. So if you burn after 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, a sunscreen with an SPF 15 will protect you 15 times longer - or for about five hours. SPF protection does not increase proportionately - a sunscreen with 30 SPF blocks 97 percent of the damaging UVA and UVB rays from the sun, while SPF 15 blocks 93 percent.
The FDA has proposed a new system (August 2007) where sun screen lotions would be rated on how well they protect skin against UVA and UVB radiation.The UVA ratings have not been offered in the past and this light penetrates deeper into the skin. Some tanning products provide no UVA protection and it has been proposed that ratings will now address this issue. SPF 50 would also be recognized now and a warning about the risk of skin cancer may be required to be on all sunscreen lotions.
GLUTTONY. Don't be a glutton for punishment, stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 and 2. The rays of the sun are strongest at this time of day, increasing the risk of sun damage to your skin.
LUST. Forget about asking your significant other to rub that lotion on you on the trails. Apply that first ounce of sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors, to allow it to bond to your skin. For one overall application of sunscreen you should use one ounce - about the amount that would fill a shot glass.
SLOTH. Getting lazy will get you burned. Sunscreens need to be reapplied every two to four hours. Be diligent. Even better, choose sunblock, which uses zinc oxide or titantium dioxide so the UV rays bounce off rather than get absorbed.
ENVY. So your best friend came back from Tahoe with an amazing tan. She may look healthy now, but there is no known safe way to tan. Tanning is a form of "skin injury" that occurs when UV rays enter the skin and the derma layer produces more melanin to protect itself. And it leads to all sorts of nasty effects of premature aging, like wrinkles and sun spots.
PRIDE. Don't be proud of that goggle tan. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun's rays, causing major sunburn damage to uncovered skin. That goes for water and ice, too. Added to the already increased exposure is the increased risk at altitude. Winter sports in the mountains increase the risk of sunburn because there is less atmosphere at high altitudes to block the sun's rays.
WRATH. Okay, get angry because skin cancer statistics are alarming. Skin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the United States. Not only is skin cancer deadly, most are horribly disfiguring. Skin cancer accounts for 1 percent of all cancer deaths and 90 percent of all skin cancers can be attributed to the sun.
Facts and figures taken from skincancer.org, sunsafety.org and the American Academy of Dermatology (aad.org).
According to Jill Adler in an article in Sports Guide, cleanser should be milky and designed for sensitive skin to provide more hydration. Moisturizer should have vitamin E and C for protection against the environment and make sure it is slightly oily to retain water inside the skin cells longer. Hydrate excessively and slop on the moisturizer every night. Choose vitamin-rich products without alcohol, menthol or acid compounds that absorb your natural oils. Vitamin A helps prevent sun damage, C and E heal wounds and D helps stave off skin damage and signs of aging. Avoid baths and hot tubs because they break down body oils, but if you like baths then add bath oils to the water.
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