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SUNSCREEN 101 – Anti-aging and skin cancer prevention awareness

Did you know that:
• Up to 90% of all premature aging and skin cancers are caused by sun exposure.

• In countries where the driver sits on the left side of the car, the rate of skin cancer on the left arm is much higher than the right. The opposite holds true for countries in which the driver sits on the right side of the car.

• Most skin cancers are found on the face, neck, head, hands and arms — the areas of skin most exposed to the sun.

• It is currently estimated that 20-50% of Americans will develop some form of skin cancer at least once in their life time.

• UV rays can damage the eyes as well, causing vision problems. Look for sunglasses with UV protection.

• Tinted glass in your car can block 70% of the sun’s visible light • Tanning beds emit the same kind of UV light as the sun, and can be very damaging to the skin.

• The sun’s rays are most dangerous between 10am and 2pm

• UVA rays are nick-named the “Aging” rays (‘A’ for ‘aging’), because they cause the kind of damage that creates premature aging—i.e. wrinkles and brown spots.

• UVB rays are nick-named the “Burning” rays (“B” as in burning), because these are the rays responsible for sun burns.

It used to be believed that UVB rays were the most damaging because they cause the skin to burn. It is now the common theory that the UVA rays may actually be more dangerous, because of the link to skin cancer. Many sunscreens contain a chemical ingredient that only protects against UVB rays (burning), offering no protection at all against UVA (skin cancer causing, and aging) rays. This type of chemical wears off after 2 hours, and after 1 hour has already lost some of its effectiveness.

When choosing a sunscreen, always look for ingredients containing a physical sun block, such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone. These ingredients provide protection from both UVA and UVB rays, otherwise known as “full spectrum sun protection”. Be sure to apply liberally, and reapply every 2 hours, especially after sweating or swimming.

Don’t be too afraid, a little sun is actually good for the skin and provides necessary vitamin D, as well as a lot of fun and happiness! Those can’t be too bad for you…just go about it safely and protect that beautiful skin.

© 2008 Mimi Pettibone/Stellar Style, all rights reserved

Mimi Pettibone: Hair & Makeup Stylist. © Stellar Style 2008. All rights reserved