"31% of Americans say they never wear sunscreen, even if they are outside for more than four hours, according to a poll of 1,000 adults, age 18 and older, conducted by Consumer Reports' National Research Center.
Only 27% of men and 48% of women usually put on sunscreen if they are planning to spend two to four hours in the sun. And 27% of parents with kids under 12 say they never or only sometimes apply sunscreen to their children when they are outside two to four hours. Fourteen percent don't apply sunscreen to their kids when they are outside for more than four hours.
Nevertheless, skin cancer is a concern, with 22% of those polled saying they had been examined by the doctor for something they thought might be skin cancer, and 14% saying they've been told by a physician that they are at risk of skin cancer.
Consumer Reports examined different sunscreens' ability to protect against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation and found that most do the job well. In the July issue, the magazine names three best buys: Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50; Coppertone Water Babies SFP 50 (lotion); Target Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 (brand name has changed to Up & Up)."
Source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-05-20-sunscreen-cancer_N.htm Writer: Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
According to some research I did online:
(1)Sunscreen (sunblock) works by absorbing or reflecting the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
(2)Medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend the use of sunscreen because it prevents the squamous cell carcinoma and the basal cell carcinoma.
(3)Contrary to the common advice that sunscreen should be reapplied every 2–3 hours, some research has shown that the best protection is achieved by application 15–30 minutes before exposure, followed by one reapplication 15–30 minutes after the sun exposure begins. Further reapplication is only necessary after activities such as swimming, sweating, or rubbing/wiping.
(4)Some sunscreens protect us from the two types of damaging UV radiation: UV-A and UV-B. Both UV-A and UV-B cause sunburns and damaging effects such as skin cancer.
Ultraviolet radiation is broken into three types of wavelengths:
* UV-A: This is the longest wavelength and is not absorbed by the ozone. It penetrates the skin deeper than UV-B.
* UV-B: Responsible for sunburns. It is partially blocked by the ozone layer.
* UV-C: This is totally absorbed by the earth's atmosphere; we encounter it only from artificial radiation source
(5)Who needs to use sunscreen?
In a word: everyone! More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.1 Many studies have found an association between sunburns and enhanced risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.2 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Academy of Dermatology recognize six skin categories:3,4
(5) Skin types and burning
Skin Type Sun History
I Always burns easily, never tans, extremely sun-sensitive skin
II Usually burns easily, tans minimally, very sun-sensitive skin
III Sometimes burns, tans gradually to light brown, sun-sensitive skin
IV Burns minimally, always tans to moderate brown, minimally sun-sensitive
V Rarely burns, tans well, sun-insensitive skin
VI Never burns, deeply pigmented, sun-insensitive skin
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that, regardless of skin type, a broad-spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 should be used year-round.
(6) What is sunlight? What does it consist of?
Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays — ultraviolet A (UVA) rays and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays (which pass through window glass) penetrate deeper into the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin. UVA rays can cause suppression of the immune system, which interferes with the immune system's ability to protect you against the development and spread of skin cancer. UVA exposure also is known to lead to signs of premature aging of the skin such as wrinkling and age spots. The UVB rays are the sun's burning rays (which are blocked by window glass) and are the primary cause of sunburn. A good way to remember it is that UVA rays are the aging rays and UVB rays are the burning rays. Excessive exposure to both forms of UV rays can lead to the development of skin cancer.
The United States Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
(7)When should sunscreen be used?
Sunscreen should be applied every day to exposed skin, not just if you are going to be in the sun. While UVB rays cannot penetrate glass windows, UVA rays can, leaving you prone to these damaging effects if unprotected. For days when you are going to be indoors, apply sunscreen on the areas not covered by clothing, such as the face and hands. Sunscreens can be applied under makeup, or alternatively, there are many cosmetic products available that contain sunscreens for daily use because sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer. It's never too late to protect yourself from the sun and minimize your future risk of skin cancer.
Don't reserve the use of sunscreen only for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun's rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun's rays.6
8. How much sunscreen should be used, and how often should it be applied?
Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes BEFORE going outdoors. When using sunscreen, be sure to apply it to all exposed areas and pay particular attention to the face, ears, hands and arms. Coat the skin liberally and rub it in thoroughly — most people apply only 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.7 One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. Don't forget that lips get sunburned too, so apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Sunscreens should be re-applied at least every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily. Even so-called "water-resistant” sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the water. Sunscreens rub off as well as wash off, so if you've towel-dried, reapply sunscreen for continued protection.
Also, while there are a number of combination cosmetic products, such as moisturizers that contain sunscreen, it is important to remember that these products also need to be reapplied to achieve continued UV protection.
9. What type of sunscreen should I use, and what ingredients should I look for?
There are so many types of sunscreen that selecting the right one can be quite confusing. Sunscreens are available in many forms including ointments, creams, gels, lotions, sprays and wax sticks. The type of sunscreen you choose is a matter of personal choice. Creams are best for individuals with dry skin, but gels are preferable in hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest. Sticks are good around the eyes. Creams typically yield a thicker application than lotions and are best for the face. There also are sunscreens made for specific purposes, such as sensitive skin and for use on babies.
Ideally, sunscreens should be water-resistant, so they cannot be easily removed by sweating or swimming, and should have an SPF of 15 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB light. Ingredients to look for on the sunscreen label to ensure broad-spectrum UV coverage include:
avobenzone (Parsol 1789), cinoxate,ecamsule (Mexoryl SX), menthyl anthranilate,
octyl methoxycinnamate,octyl salicylate,oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, titanium dioxide
(10)Can I use the sunscreen I bought last summer, or do I need to purchase a new bottle each year? Does it lose strength?
Unless indicated by an expiration date, the FDA requires that all sunscreens be stable and at their original strength for at least three years.
While you can use the sunscreen that you bought last summer, keep in mind that if you are using the appropriate amount, a bottle of sunscreen should not last very long. Approximately one ounce of sunscreen, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly.
(11) What is an SPF?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Sunscreens are rated or classified by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers on the packaging can range from as low as 2 to greater than 50. These numbers refer to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning rays.
The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. For example, if a sunscreen is rated SPF 2 and a person who would normally turn red after ten minutes of exposure in the sun uses it, it would take twenty minutes of exposure for the skin to turn red. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would allow that person to multiply that initial burning time by 15, which means it would take 15 times longer to burn, or 150 minutes. Even with this protection, sunscreen photo degrades (breaks down) and rubs off with normal wear, so it needs to be reapplied at least every two hours.
Dermatologists strongly recommend using a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater year-round for all skin types. This will help protect against sunburn, premature aging (e.g., age spots and wrinkles) and skin cancer.
(12). Does the SPF tell how well a sunscreen protects against UVA or UVB rays?
The SPF number on sunscreens only reflects the product's screening ability for UVB rays. At present, there is no FDA-approved rating system that identifies UVA protection. Scientists are working to create a standardized testing system to measure UVA protection.