Daily use of sunscreens can prevent melanoma in adults according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on December 8 2010
The trial involved 1621 randomly selected participants and was conducted between 1992 and 1996. Half the group applied the sunscreen every day and the other half were left to apply it when they felt it necessary.The participants were examined 15 years later and the number of people who developed melanomas in the group that rigidly applied sunscreen every day was only half that of the group who were allowed to apply sunscreen whenever they thought necessary
The participants were not selected in the group for skin type eg fair skin as opposed to dark skin so the results covered all skin types. This random selection gives a more accurate result for the use of sunscreens
How to use sunscreens
First of all avoid the summer sun for 4 hours around midday if possible. This is between 10am and 2pm. Adjust for daylight saving if it is in your area
Always apply sunscreen to cool dry skin. This means applying before you go out in the sun and allow to dry before exposure (15 minutes is often required). Applying sunscreen at the beach when you are standing in the sun and already have beads of perspiration on the skin is NOT the way to get the sunscreen to adhere to the skin.
Every two hours come into the shade, cool down dry off and re-apply and allow to dry before going out in the sun.
Always choose a sunscreen with a rating of 30+. Some sunscreens have higher ratings but are required by law to only show a lower value.
The value means that you can theoretically stay in the sun 30 times longer without developing sunburn
I STRESS that this is a theoretical rating only and would only apply in ideal laboratory conditions.
In practice we go into the water so a little is washed off (how much depends on how dry it was before we entered the water). Then we come out of the water and towel dry. This will often rub off any remaining sunscreen. Hence the need to re-apply.
Then we come to the but…
Preventing the suns rays from reaching the skin also prevents the body from making adequate amounts of Vitamin D3.
This occurs with both clothing in cooler months and sunscreens in the summer months
Low levels of Vitamin D3 have been associated with increased risk of colorectal,breast and prostate cancers
Adequate levels of Vitamin D3 also help protect against melanoma.
So too little is bad for you, too much is worse
The happy medium… An exact amount of exposure has not been worked out and it is complicated by the various skin types,
The indications are at the moment that 2-8 minutes every day total body exposure (swimsuit for birthday suit) is enough.
Because of the uncertainty and the seriousness of getting it wrong many people are now opting for supplementation i.e Vitamin D3 in a capsule form
Vitamin D3 is also needed for bone density and strength and low levels have also been associated with the following conditions:
- Inflammatory and auto-immune diseases
- Mutiple Sclerosis
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- High blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases
- Metabolic syndrome
For more information call Jeff Now on 5546 6899