Tag Archives: sunburn

Does sunscreen compromise vitamin D levels?

I am somewhat paranoid about my bike riding in the sun as I have had three skin cancer operations. Foolishly, because I am Italian and tan don’t burn, I never felt the need for sunscreen. Not one of my best decisions. As my dermatologist said, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.” I now lather up big time before riding in the sun.

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Here is the sun rising over Lake Michigan on a morning ride.

Sunscreen can reduce the sun’s adverse effects, but there are concerns that it might inhibit the body’s production of vitamin D. In a new British Journal of Dermatology study, however, investigators recorded an increase of vitamin D in participants during a week of cloudless weather, with very high UV index, even when sunscreens were used properly and prevented sunburn.

Sunlight contains UVA and UVB radiation, and the latter is essential for vitamin D synthesis. Two sunscreens with the same SPF were compared. Sunscreen with a high UVA protection factor enabled significantly higher vitamin D synthesis than a low UVA protection factor sunscreen, likely because it allows more UVB transmission.

The findings indicate that the benefits of sunscreen use can be obtained without compromising vitamin D levels.

“Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. Sunscreens can prevent sunburn and skin cancer, but there has been a lot of uncertainty about the effects of sunscreens on vitamin D,” said lead author Prof. Antony Young, of King’s College London. “Our study, during a week of perfect weather in Tenerife, showed that sunscreens, even when used optimally to prevent sunburn, allowed excellent vitamin D synthesis.”

You can read more about skin cancer in general and my three skin cancers here.

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Filed under exercise outdoors, regular bike riding, sunscreen, Vitamin D

What You Need to Know for May – National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Makes sense. We should be coming into some sunny days right now. (Unless you live in Chicago as I do where we still have March temps).

In order to get through the coming sunny days herewith a list of links of all the items I have filed on skin cancer and sunburn since the blog began in 2010. This includes my own bout with skin cancer in 2012.

Looking at your face in the mirror, things that change in size, shape or color can be skin cancer.

Remember the words my dermatologist told me, “There’s no such thing as a healthy tan.”

Blazing+Hot+Sun

Myths and facts about sunburn and sunscreen

Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard

How to protect yourself from sunburn and skin cancer

Do I have skin cancer?

What did I learn after being diagnosed with skin cancer?

What happened during…

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Filed under skin cancer, Skin cancer surgery, skin care, sunscreen

Skin Cancer Awareness Month – May

Consider this a ‘don’t let this happen to you’ post. As a skin cancer sufferer, I wanted to share this information with you.

I have had three basal cell carcinomas surgically removed in the past few years. You can read the details on my Page Skin Cancer Facts and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular. My dermatologist told me, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”

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Tony

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Filed under skin cancer, Skin cancer surgery, skin care

Tanning dependence linked to other addictive behaviors – Study

Around 20 years ago a friend of mine was getting married and, as I was standing up, I thought it would be cool to have a tan. At the time, I was heavily into Abba music so I had no problem lying in the tanning bed listening to Abba while I tanned. Long story short, I sport a tan for the wedding and 15 years later had an operation ( my first of three) for skin cancer. I wasn’t addicted. Actually, this was my only ‘booth’ experience. Apparently, other folks aren’t so cool about tanning booths.

Despite the known dangers of exposure to ultraviolet light, many people continue to sunbathe and use indoor tanning beds with some users exhibiting a dependence to tanning. A new study from the Yale School of Public Health finds that such dependence is also associated with other addictive behaviors.

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The study, recently published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, surveyed 499 people who had previously sunbathed or used a tanning bed, and revealed that those who exhibited tanning dependence, also referred to as tanning addiction, were six times as likely to also be dependent on alcohol and three times as likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). (my emphasis)
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Filed under skin cancer, skin care, tanning booths

20 Benefits We Get from the Sun – Infographic

With summer fast approaching and amazing heat already making itself felt, I thought it might be worthwhile to think of some of the positive benefits the sun brings to us.

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For my money outside exercise usually beats inside the health club, but please don’t forget that when it comes to sunshine, a little goes a long way. Check out my Page – How to deal with extreme heat for more details.

Thanks to my friends at the solarcentre for the infographic.

Tony

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Filed under sunlight, Uncategorized

Myths and Facts about Sunburn and Sunscreen

There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. So says Dr. Neda Ashourian of the Northwestern Skin Cancer Institute, Ltd. Speaking before the hospital’s Healthy Transitions group, Dr. Ashourian said that the best you can get is water-resistant sunscreen. So reapply when you come out of the water.


On that subject she said that when buying sunscreen to get SPF 30 or greater. It is critical to look for the terms Broad Spectrum on the container. If those words aren’t present, the sunscreen, no matter how high the SPF rating, may not protect you from the damaging Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays of the sun.

Some other dangers from sun included – windows. The UVA rays can penetrate windows, but not the Ultraviolet B (UVB).

You can get sunburn on a cloudy day because 80 percent of the sun’s rays penetrate clouds and fog.

At the beach sand reflects ultraviolet rays so you have to be doubly careful there and be certain that you have fresh sunscreen on. You need to reapply sunscreen after two hours because it wears off.

Finally, the end of summer is not the end of danger from ultraviolet light. Snow reflects UV light so you need to protect your face when skiing or engaging in other outdoor activities.

I have written about sunburn several times in the past couple of weeks and I want to reiterate probably the most important concept I have learned, namely there is no such thing as a healthy tan. I am disturbed to realize that as I have always prided myself on the nice tan that I got out riding in the sun. But, a “nice tan” is the siren song of skin cancer. Pay her no heed.

On a related subject, please check out my Page – How to Deal With Extreme Heat.

Tony

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Filed under sun screen, sunburn, Uncategorized

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sunscreen Harming Customers

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company which prides itself on selling healthy organic products seems to have really dropped the ball with its Sunscreen product.

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Time reported, “Users of Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sunscreen Are Posting Photos of Epic Sunburns”

“In a statement to the Today Show, the Honest Company stressed that the sunscreen is tested by an independent third party with positive results and that “the number of complaints received on our own website about our Sunscreen Lotion constitute less than one half of one percent of all units actually sold at Honest.com. We stand behind the safety and efficacy of this product.”

This statement seems strange to me in view of the fact that users commenting on Amazon go back all the way to April and the company continues to stand by their product.

Out of 189 customer reviews on Amazon, more than 140 were negative.

Here are a couple of the Amazon comments:

WARNING! Do Not Use! Increases Sunburns!
By Adam Watson on May 13, 2015
Sunburn Accelerant! I feel like filing a lawsuit against Honest. You don’t mess around with something this important. We applied this before going to the beach and reapplied at the beach after swimming. We all got burned, especially my daughter. I feel like a bad parent. I had a bottle of Neutrogena sunscreen spray but forgot to take it. The Honest sunscreen seemed to make my daughter burn even more than if she had no sunscreen at all. Continue reading

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Filed under Honest Company Sunscreen, Jessica Alba's Honest Company

First Rate Tips on Preventing Skin Cancer – ADA

Much of the country is suffering under extreme heat as the summer takes its time drawing to a close. So, many of us are playing and laboring under a hot sun.

Last week I wrote about my second skirmish with skin cancer so the subject is near if not dear to me.

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.

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.

Tony

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Filed under cancer, skin cancer

What You Need to Know for May – National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Makes sense. We should be coming into some sunny days right now. (Unless you live in Chicago as I do where we still have March temps).

In order to get through the coming sunny days herewith a list of links of all the items I have filed on skin cancer and sunburn since the blog began in 2010. This includes my own bout with skin cancer in 2012.

Looking at your face in the mirror, things that change in size, shape or color can be skin cancer.

Remember the words my dermatologist told me, “There’s no such thing as a healthy tan.”

Blazing+Hot+Sun

Myths and facts about sunburn and sunscreen

Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard

How to protect yourself from sunburn and skin cancer

Do I have skin cancer?

What did I learn after being diagnosed with skin cancer?

What happened during my skin cancer surgery?

What about exercise after surgery?

Important facts about skin cancer?

What to do about extreme heat

Tony

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Filed under cancer, healthy living, skin cancer, Uncategorized

What Happened During My Skin Cancer Surgery

Today marked the climax of the double-whammy that hit the blog this month with John’s near heart attack and my coming down with skin cancer.

A month ago I had what I thought was a mole removed from my cheek and learned two days later than I had a basal cell carcinoma living on my face. Today I went in for Mohs surgery to make sure that I was cancer-free.

For the past month while I have dutifully applied sunblock whenever I rode my bike, I didn’t give my upcoming surgery a lot of thought. From what I had read about Mohs surgery, it seemed like I would get the equivalent of a rug burn on my face. This morning, however, the prospect of a surgeon cutting into my face became real.

I was due at the hospital at 8:00 AM. That meant I had to get poochie walked before 7:00 AM because it takes me about 20 minutes to hike to Northwestern Memorial Hospital from where I live. The whole idea of being operated on hit me as I was fixing breakfast and I found myself unable to finish my morning smoothie. My dog sensed my anxiety and she was looking at me intensely the whole time we were together. After her walk I gave her some treats and a hug before leaving for the hospital. I had packed a messenger bag with a book, my iPad and a couple of healthy snacks.

The procedure was done by a team of really nice looking people. Who knew folks in dermatology looked so good? There were at least five at one time or another. The doctor started by holding a mirror up for me to point out the exact spot where the bulk of my tumor had been removed.

Here is the pressure bandage I will be wearing for the next 48 hours

They administered a shot or two of lidocaine to freeze up my cheek and started cutting. I felt no pain but was not able to see much as there was a cloth covering my eyes. I guess they were working for several minutes. I have no sense of the time involved as the entire morning ended up being a long blur. Afterwards, they applied a pressure bandage to slow bleeding and led me to a lounge where I would wait 30 to 40 minutes for the results and to find out if I could go home or they had to cut again and remove more.

The lounge was pleasant with coffee and small snacks, some healthy, some not. I enjoyed a cup of decaf coffee. I had packed a messenger bag with a book from the positive psychology class I just took as well as my iPad, so I was all set.
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Filed under aging, calories, Exercise, sunburn

Myths and Facts about Sunburn and Sunscreen

At the risk of sounding like a reformed whore, now that I have succumbed to skin cancer, I am being extremely careful about protecting myself from the sun’s rays as well as everyone I meet who has a ‘nice tan.’ I may have become obnoxious in my zeal.  I was especially interested in the talk on skin cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions Program® this week. Here are some tips I picked up there.

There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. So says Dr. Neda Ashourian of the Northwestern Skin Cancer Institute, Ltd. Speaking before the hospital’s Healthy Transitions group, Dr. Ashourian said that the best you can get is water-resistant sunscreen. So reapply when you come out of the water.


On that subject she said that when buying sunscreen to get SPF 30 or greater. It is critical to look for the terms Broad Spectrum on the container. If those words aren’t present, the sunscreen, no matter how high the SPF rating, may not protect you from the damaging Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays of the sun.

Some other dangers from sun included – windows. The UVA rays can penetrate windows, but not the Ultraviolet B (UVB).

You can get sunburn on a cloudy day because 80 percent of the sun’s rays penetrate clouds and fog.

At the beach sand reflects ultraviolet rays so you have to be doubly careful there and be certain that you have fresh sunscreen on. You need to reapply sunscreen after two hours because it wears off.

Finally, the end of summer is not the end of danger from ultraviolet light. Snow reflects UV light so you need to protect your face when skiing or engaging in other outdoor activities.

I have written about sunburn several times in the past couple of weeks and I want to reiterate probably the most important concept I have learned,  namely there is no such thing as a healthy tan. I am disturbed to realize that as I have always prided myself on the nice tan that I got out riding in the sun. But, a “nice tan” is the siren song of skin cancer. Pay her no heed.

On a related subject, please check out my Page – How to Deal With Extreme Heat.

Tony

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Filed under skin cancer, sun screen, sunburn

What Did I Learn After Being Diagnosed With Skin Cancer

The obvious answer is I learned that my body had become a host to a horrible disease. It is just short of a week since the ‘something’ I had removed from my face turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma – skin cancer. This is an unnerving event for anyone. But, I think it was more so for me.

As regular readers know, in the two plus years since we started the blog, I have enjoyed just stunning good health. I dropped 15 pounds that I hadn’t even realized I was carrying as excess weight. I went from 165 down to 150 pounds. I now wear size 30 waist jeans, a size I haven’t worn since high school. My body fat measures below 17 percent. My resting heart rate is under 50 beats per minute vs the high end of a normal of 60 to 80 for someone my age. In short, riding my bike nearly daily here in Chicago and paying attention to what I eat has paid off in spades. I have grown to expect that I am in near perfect condition. So the skin cancer news was doubly disturbing for me.

I got a sun hat to protect my dog, but neglected to use sunblock myself. You can see the lump on my left cheek that turned out to be skin cancer.

The first night I made it to around 2:30 a.m. then got up and wrote a blog post about it to quiet the turmoil in my mind. I had little energy the rest of the day and managed only 21 miles on the bike. Went to bed early that night but got a good night’s sleep. I think that writing the blog post on the previous day freed my mind up somewhat and I woke up rarin’ to go with loads of energy. Walked the dog, put on my sunblock and had a 30 mile bike ride that morning. The only reason I quit was because I was worried that the sunblock had worn off and I hadn’t applied more. I had loads of energy left.

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Filed under aging, skin cancer, sunburn

How to Protect Yourself from Sunburn and Skin Cancer

Here are some basic facts from skincancer.org:

• Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
• Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
• Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

I had a procedure done by the Dermatology Department of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Along with the info on how to care for my ‘wound,’ they included some powerful suggestions on how to protect yourself from skin cancer. I wanted to share it with you as it seems to be very thorough and helpful. Maybe it will help you to avoid the situation I found myself in – needing skin cancer surgery. I certainly learned some useful facts from it.

Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation that can damage your skin. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is responsible for tanning, wrinkling and premature aging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) causes sunburns. Both UVA and UVB can damage the skin and cause skin cancer. There is no “safe” ultraviolet radiation. There is no such thing as a ‘healthy’ tan. (Emphasis mine)
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Filed under hot weather, skin cancer, sunburn