Tis Sunscreen season; keep it non-toxic

It is very important for people to have a minimum of 10 minutes in the sun per day to obtain adequate Vitamin D.  It is equally important to avoid burning.

Sun Shades™ Sun Protection Research Report

Sunscreen and Sunblock UV Protection

Researched and written by RM Barry Publications staff

Summer activities lead us outdoors, where we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, sometimes resulting in damage to our skin. However, summer fun does not have to lead to sunburn — or even cancer — if you know how to protect your skin. This report is about UV rays and the ingredients in Melaleuca’s *Sun Shades™ products: *Mineral Sunblock 30+, *Sport 45+ Sunscreen, and * After Sun Hydrogel E.

Ultraviolet Rays and Skin
There are two types of ultraviolet rays that result in two different effects on the skin. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply to damage the collagen and can result in leathery skin, sagging skin, premature wrinkles and other effects of photoaging (premature aging caused by the sun). Think of UVA as the “aging ray.” UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and cause sunburns. Think of UVB as the “burning ray.”1 But sunburns and photoaging are not the only effects you need to take precautions against. UV radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, and don’t forget that tanning beds produce UV rays that are just as harmful.2

Blistering sunburns in childhood increase the liklihood of developing skin cancer much later in life. Risk factors for skin cancer include having fair skin and blue or green eyes, and red or blonde hair.3 Another risk factor is having more than 100 moles on the skin. Moles are different from freckles, in that they are typically raised from the surface of the skin. Moles that are asymmetrical, with more than one color, or with cauliflower-like edges, or that have changed over time, are extreme warning signs that warrant an immediate trip to the dermatologist.4 Darker skinned people may still get skin cancer, but their risk factor is much lower.

According to the American Cancer Society, children under the age of six months should have NO direct sun exposure, nor should sunscreen/sunblock be applied to their skin. So keep babies in the shade of a covered stroller if you must take them in the sun.

If you wonder why the American Cancer Society instructs the public to wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day, it’s not an attempt to boost the sunscreen industry’s sales, it’s to help protect your skin from the photoaging and carcinogenic effects of UVA rays, which you can’t feel like you can feel a sunburn from UVB. Radiation from UVA reaches the skin all year long, and more evenly throughout the day than UVB, which peaks in intensity between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Your skin could even be damaged by UVA radiation on a cloudy day because 80% of the sun’s UV rays reach the earth when it’s cloudy. 5, 6

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, accounting for more than half of all the cancers diagnosed, with more than 1 million non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed annually. It’s likely that there will be over 62,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer (the most serious form) and about 10,000 skin cancer deaths this year.7 Since 90 percent of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, protective sun care is crucial.8

The amount of UV light reaching the earth’s surface in any given place depends on a number of factors, including the time of day, time of year, elevation, and cloud cover. To help people better understand the intensity of UV light in their area on a given day, the National Weather Service and the US Environmental Protection Agency have developed the UV Index. It gives people an idea of how strong the UV light is in their area, on a scale from 1 to 11+. A higher number means a higher chance of sunburn, skin damage and ultimately skin cancers of all kinds.9 Look for your country’s UV index map below, at reference 9.

1. <!–0708 this site is now a flash based nav and i can’t link directly to the page –>Sunscreens Explained. Skin Cancer Foundation

2. Cosmetic Procedures: Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer. WebMD: Skin & Beauty.

3. Warning Signs: The ABCDEs of Melanoma. Skin Cancer Foundation. (this page will have photographs of cancerous vs. normal skin moles.)

4. Detailed Guide: Skin Cancer – Melanoma -What Are The Risk Factors for Melanoma? American Cancer Society.

5. Detailed Guide: Skin Cancer – Melanoma-Can Melanoma Be Prevented? American Cancer Society.

6. Protection Against Photoaging, Aging Skin Net, Am. Academy of Dermatology 2005

7. Skin Cancer Facts, American Cancer Society.

8. 2007 Skin Cancer Facts, Skin Cancer Foundation

9. UV Index Maps by country:

Sunscreen Abbreviations and Phrases

  • The main difference between sunscreen and sunblock is that sunscreen chemically absorbs UV rays, while sunblock deflects UV rays.10
  • Broad-spectrum is a phrase that suggests the product can protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is an abbreviation that explains how long you can stay in the sun without burning.
  • A higher SPF does not indicate a stronger sunblock!10 If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours.The problem with how we perceive SPF is that no sunscreen, regardless of its SPF, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication.
  • Whether you’re using sunblock or sunscreen, you must reapply it every two hours, and you must apply it liberally. For a day at the beach, when you’re wearing a bathing suit, most adults should use one ounce (about one shotglass-full) to cover exposed skin. Remember, skin doesn’t necessarily turn red when there is UVA damage, and that’s why directions state to reapply frequently.

10. SPF, UVB and UVA Protection Explained, Charles H. Booras, MD, FAAFP, Listed in “The Best Doctors in America”, 2001 and 2002

Ingredients in Sunscreens and Sunblocks
Microfine Zinc Oxide

Melaleuca’s sunblock uses microfine zinc oxide, a natural mineral, to block out both UVA and UVB rays. There are only three broad-spectrum sunblock ingredients available: zinc oxide (mineral), titanium dioxide (mineral), and avobenzone (chemical). Dermatologists at Duke University Medical Center have found that microfine zinc oxide is a more effective sunscreen than microfine titanium dioxide.11 It has been found to be stable, and it doesn’t change in composition when exposed to the sun, or combined with other sunscreen agents.12

There has been some speculation over whether micronized minerals are actually absorbed into the skin. One team of scientists concluded that “our investigations using optical and electron microscopy proved that neither surface characteristics, particle size nor shape of the micronized pigments (like zinc oxide) result in any dermal absorption of this substance.”13


Since the two types of ultraviolet rays have different wavelengths, several different ingredients are necessary in sunscreens to protect the skin from both, while the broad-spectrum zinc oxide in the sunblock can protect from both.14 Melaleuca’s sunscreen Sun Shades Sport 45+ contains avobenzone, mentioned above, and three other sunscreen ingredients, to best cover the spectrum of the sun’s radiation. The salicylates homosalate and octisalate provide protection from UVB radiation, and the benzophenone oxybenzone protects against UVA, while avobenzone provides protection from UVA and UVB (that’s why it’s called a broad-spectrum sunscreen).10

11. Pinnell SR, Fairhurst D, Gillies R, Mitchnick MA, Kollias N, “Microfine zinc oxide is a superior sunscreen ingredient to microfine titanium dioxide.Division of Dermatology, Duke University Medical Center

12. Mitchnick MA, Fairhurst D, Pinnell SR. Microfine zinc oxide (Z-cote) as a photostable UVA/UVB sunblock agent. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Jan;40(1):85-90.

13. Schulz J, Hohenberg H, et. al.Distribution of sunscreens on skin. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2002 Nov 1;54 Suppl 1:S157-63

14. Cayrol C, Sarraute J, et. al., A mineral sunscreen affords genomic protection against ultraviolet (UV) B and UVA radiation: in vitro and in situ assays.

For Additional Information WRITE CSea@SaferForYourHome.com

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