What is the Deal With Sunscreen Anyway?
We have been told for the last 35 years or so that the sun’s UV rays are dangerous to the human body. These rays will penetrate our skin and lead us to different medical conditions such as sun poisoning, dehydration, heat stroke, and skin cancer. Keep reading to find out what is the deal with sunscreen and why it has been in the news lately.
What is Sunscreen?
Sunscreen is a lotion that is specifically designed to put a cover of protection over skin cells so that the lotion absorbs the sun’s radiation and not your skin. SPF is Sun Protection Factor and the varying degrees lends itself to how much protection it gives. Experts say the suntan lotion should be reapplied every hour, and to not spend a lot of time during peak sun hours from 10-4. Remember to read the directions on the bottle of sunscreen you purchase to see how often to reapply, each bottle is different.
What Has Sunscreen Been in the News?
Sunscreen has been in the news all of this summer because there are reports that some of the ingredients in the sunscreen are seeping by osmosis into the skin. Some reports claim that the active ingredients then can get into your bloodstream. Some scientists report that although this is true, it is not as dangerous as not wearing sunscreen. There are definitely alternative natural sun remedies that people can make at home.
What Happens If I Don’t Use Sunscreen?
If you don’t use sunscreen you are maximizing your risk of developing sun poisoning and skin cancer. The sun’s UV rays will damage cell DNA and that DNA can replicate into a mass, or a tumor. If left untreated, the tumor can metastasize to other parts of the body and cause cancer to those affected areas. Remember, sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to your skin.
Does Sunscreen Expire?
Does sunscreen expire? The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires sunscreens to stay at full strength for up to 3 years. Some sunscreens have an expiration date on the bottle that indicates when it is no longer effective. If you purchase a sunscreen that does not have an expiration date, write the date of purchase on the bottle and discard after 3 years.
There are two main types of sunscreen, chemical sunscreen, and mineral sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen contains ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and homosalate which over time can oxidize and become less effective. Mineral sunscreen contains ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that don’t have the same problem as chemical sunscreen, but again overtime they still degrade.
It is also important to remember that these expiration dates stamped on the bottle are only good for shelf life. This means that your sunscreen can expire and degrade faster depending on a few different factors. The main factor is heat. Make sure to keep your bottle in the shade or wrapped up in a towel. The heat will cause your sunscreen to expire faster. If it has been exposed to heat you should replace it every few months.
Even with the expiration date, experts recommend replacing your sunscreen every year.
Have you ever gotten a really bad sunburn that required medical attention? Do you always wear sunscreen? Do you have a recipe for a natural based sunscreen? Do you or someone you know survived skin cancer? Comment below! For more information on how to have fun in the summer, click this link.