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Tuesday, June 2

Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes)

Wellness Wednesday : Wearing Sunscreen

Summer is coming, and we will be outside more and more.  Every year, we are reminded to wear sunscreen.  And here lately, we are also reminded of the dangers of wearing sunscreen.  So, I present the question :  Sunscreen - friend or foe?  I'm not going to answer this question for you.....take the information and make your own decision.

First off, it's important to note that no SPF (not even 100 SPF) offers 100% protection.  There is only a marginal difference in the protection offered by SPF 50 and SPF 100 - the number is calculated by comparing the time needed for a person to burn unprotected versus when that person is wearing sunscreen.  Theoretically, you're protected 100 times longer if wearing SPF 100.  Theoretically.

When we expose our skin to the sun, our pores open up from the heat, allowing sunscreen (and any chemicals and free radicals in the compound) to enter into the body.  Some research has found that this actually speeds up skin damage and increases skin cancer risk.  Also, many sunscreens contain a hormone-disrupting compound called oxybenzone.

The biggest problem, however, is that sunscreen gives people a false sense of security.  If you're in the sun and begin to feel pink, you will typically take that as a signal to go inside.  However, wearing sunscreen prevents you from burning, and the common misconception becomes that you can stay outside much longer than advisable.  Bottom should seek shade and wear protective clothing as a first defense against burns.

Pro Sunscreen
One in three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.  Up to 95% of those are caused by excessive sun damage.  Protecting oneself from sunburn is critical to prevent skin cancers later in life.  

Sunscreen can be an effective preventative, if applied properly.  However, many people don't rub on nearly enough to protect themselves.  You'd need at least a shot glass to safeguard your body for a couple of hours.  And if you're sweating or swimming, you'd need to apply more frequently.  Just slathering it on once doesn't give you license to sit out in the sun all day.  

Take it to the Next Level

Eat your sunscreen!  Sunburn is a type of inflammation, and diet has a tremendous impact on inflammation in the body.  The natural-sunscreen-diet will actually be beneficial for many other health conditions (such as arthritis and allergies) that are inflammation-based.

Foods to Avoid:

  • processed foods
  • vegetable oils (this is the most important for sun exposure)
  • grains
  • sugars

Foods to Eat:

  • lots of healthy saturated fats
  • lots of foods rich in omega-3s (fish, etc)
  • lots of leafy greens
  • 2+ tablespoons of tomato paste daily
  • Green tea
  • Vitamin D supplement
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