SUN, SUN not Always FUN!
By Janet Moody
Summer and the living is easy! Yes! I love summer, but along with all the fun in the sun, we also run a risk of the much summer time pesky down sided bothersome points.
Sun burn, sun poison, sun rashes………….. Oh my. They don’t sound too sinister but can definitely put a sting to your day not to mention a risk to your life! All of that sun exposure can result in a killer tan, but getting too much sun can be risky. UVA and UVB rays can cause the progressive skin damage that leads to cancer.
In fact, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. More than a million Americans are diagnosed with it each year and athletes run a big risk as they are often choose the outdoors for their exercise and practice times.
Here are a few facts to keep in mind when choosing the right product for your lifestyle.
Sun protection factor (SPF) is the key component of an effective sunscreen. This refers to the amount of protection the sunscreen will give you, or how much longer you can spend outdoors before you get sunburned compared to if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
Here’s how SPF works:
Say you normally can stay outside in the sun for 20 minutes without burning. If you slather on an SPF 15 sunscreen, you can stay outside for 15 times longer — about five hours — before burning. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection the sunscreen provides. An SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, an SPF 30 blocks 97 percent, and an SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. The SPF of a sunscreen only relates to UVB rays — there currently is no rating system for UVA protection, but it’s in the works.
Even though you may still see sunscreens labeled “waterproof,” there really isn’t any such thing. No sunscreen can be entirely waterproof, because all of them will eventually wear off if you submerge your body in water for long enough. Water-resistant is the more accurate label. No matter how water- or sweat-resistant your sunscreen is, you’ll need to reapply it about every two hours and sooner if you’re sweating a lot
Sport sunscreens that get the Skin Cancer Foundation’s approval include:
- Banana Boat UltraMist Sport Performance Continuous Spray Sunblock SPF 30
- Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
- Hawaiian Tropic Sport SPF 45
- NO-AD Sport SPF 50 Active Sunblock Lotion
- Ocean Potion Oil Free Sport Xtreme Sunblock SPF 30
- Rite Aid SPF 30 Sport Continuous Spray
- AVEENO Continuous Protection Sunblock SPF 55
- Mederma Cream plus SPF 30
If you are dealing with sunburn, it can be miserable. The nonprescription medications in your medicine cabinet can help relieve the discomfort of sunburn, headache and fever. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are all good choices. If the pain is severe and your fever remains high, call your doctor. Remember, if you’re treating a child, use aspirin only with a doctor’s approval.
You also can apply an aloe vera gel or lotion several times a day to relieve pain and keep your skin moist. A spray-on product will be the easiest to apply. Avoid heavy creams that require rubbing the skin a lot, which can cause irritation and likely be hard to do because of the pain.
Next, head to your kitchen; wrap ice or a bag of frozen peas in a damp towel for some fast relief. Chilled cucumber or potato slices, or even plain yogurt, can also feel soothing. A cool bath made with about a half cup (125 mL) of oatmeal, cornstarch or baking soda will bring down your skin temperature and help relieve itchy, irritated skin. Repeat as needed, but don’t use soap, which will cause more irritation. Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it. Adding about a cup of vinegar (250 mL) to a cool bath also helps reduce pain. Some people claim that putting a few tea bags into the bath also helps. Another option is to place the cold, wet tea bags directly on your sunburned skin. Be sure to moisturize after these treatments.
Hopefully you will get the most of summer and your outdoor work outs but should you get affected by the sun, now you know how to deal with it.