Regular readers know of my dealings in the skin cancer arena. Three appearances, three defeats, three basal cell carcinoma surgeries. If you want further details, you can find them here. I wanted to pass along this information to maybe save you from ill-considered do-it-yourself sunscreens. Skin cancer is serious stuff. Don’t risk it.
Social media and other online tools have changed the way people seek and share health information. Recent consumer interest in natural, organic, and ethically-made personal care products has led to an increase of shared recipes for homemade products including sunscreen. A new study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Brooks College of Health at University of North Florida examined how homemade sunscreens were portrayed on Pinterest.
The study, published in Health Communication, found that nearly all (95%) pins, or bookmarks, for homemade sunscreen positively portrayed the effectiveness of homemade sunscreens and most (68%) recommended recipes for homemade sunscreens that offered insufficient UV radiation protection. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) claims were made in a third of pins with a range of SPF 2 to SPF 50. This is concerning because the ingredients recommended in homemade sunscreen pins offer minimal scientifically proven broad-spectrum protection from UV radiation yet are widely shared and promoted as safe alternatives to commercial sunscreens on Pinterest. The average number of saves for a pin was 808, with one pin being saved more than 21,700 times.
By this point, everyone knows that the sun can cause severe damage to the skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, one of the main organs of purification. It acts as an insulator, regulates body temperature, and protects us from the harmful radiations of the sun. During the long days of summer, when exposure to the sun is at its peak, the risk of damage to our skin increases multifold.
Over-exposure to sun can allow extreme ultraviolet (UV) rays to penetrate through the layers of our skin, harming the DNA of our cells. From the perspective of Ayurveda, the intensity of the sun’s heat during the summer also aggravates Pitta dosha.
According to Ayurveda, most skin problems are associated with an imbalance of Pitta dosha, which governs metabolism, heat and digestion. Pitta has five subdivisions or “subdoshas”, and one of them, Bhranjaka Pitta, resides in the skin. Its…
The power of the sun can be brilliant as you can see in this presunrise shot of the Chicago Lakefront. That doesn’t mean the UV rays can’t be cancerous. Wear protection.
Here are some tips from the American Dermatological Association that my doctor gave me. I hope you will pick up something useful from them and avoid going under the knife as I must on September 10.
The ADA brochure stated:
Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers. Here is what you can do:
*Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all skin not covered by clothing. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. *Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible. *Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.
*Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn. *Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun. *Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product or spray, but continue to use sunscreen with it.