Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.

5.26.2012

It's Getting Hot out There, So...

5.26.2012

Common Skin Protection Mistakes to Avoid

It's already hot, humid, and blazing out there.  Keep your skin protected and avoid some common mistakes when it comes to protecting your skin.

1. Expensive Sunscreen
The Mistake: You grab the priciest sunscreen, figuring it's the best.
Some expensive sunscreens don't contain the key ingredients that can keep your skin safe, while some cheaper brands do. Look for sunscreens with labels stating that they provide "broad-spectrum protection," which means they contain ingredients that block both UVA and UVB rays. UVBs are the primary cause of burning; but UVAs, in addition to burning the skin, penetrate deeper, causing genetic damage in cells and suppressing the immune system.

2. SPF Facts
The Mistake: You think "sun protection factor" (SPF) protects against everything.
It doesn't. The ingredients that provide SPF will shield you from only UVB rays. Even so, the protection SPF provides is critical, because UVBs (along with UVAs) play a role in the development of skin cancer.
Experts advise wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Those who burn easily  should opt for SPF 30. (Research shows that SPFs above 30 do not significantly increase protection.)

3. Bug Spray and Sunscreen
The Mistake: You put on bug spray before sunscreen.
Sunscreen needs to bind with clean, dry skin in order to be effective, so anything you apply beforehand (including lotion or makeup) may reduce its effectiveness. In addition, because sunscreen is highly absorptive, putting it on top of repellent may cause your skin to soak up more of the chemicals in the bug spray.
The best advice: Apply sunscreen first, wait 20 minutes, and then mist skin lightly with insect repellent.

4. All-Day Sun Protection
The Mistake: You always wear sunscreen, so you can stay in the sun all day long.
Even the best sunscreens don't offer complete protection. If you're going to be outside for more than a few hours, wear a wide-brimmed hat and seek as much shade as possible -- particularly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest. And re-apply every few hours!

5. Sunscreen Application
The Mistake: You apply sunscreen the minute you get outside.
It takes at least 20 minutes for sunscreen to be absorbed into your skin and begin working; by then you can be on your way to a burn. Apply it at least 15 minutes before you leave home.

6. Tanning Booth Myths
The Mistake: You pre-tan at a booth to prevent burning.
Don't be misled by those ads that claim tanning-booth rays are safer than the sun -- they also expose you to UVA and UVB rays and can cause the same damage to your skin. A base tan can boost the likelihood of a burn because you may be fooled into believing you can stay in the sun longer. Whether you get it in a booth or at the beach, there is no such thing as a safe tan.

Information and text taken from Fitness Magazine.  See more common mistakes in this article: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/fitness/printableStory.jsp?catref=ftn162&storyid=/templatedata/fitness/story/data/1149103108672.xml

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