Gleam, WWB's Wisdom Wrap

Weekly Wisdom Wrap: Girls Just Want to Have Sun… Everything You Need to Know About Sun-Bathing & Protection


Girls just want to have sun but what’s a gal to do, when so many warnings are coming at us regarding the dangers of sun. Not only do we hear about the dangers of the sun itself, but we also hear about the dangers of the chemicals in our sun-protection products. Sigh! To top this off, we also hear how important it is for our bodies to absorb Vitamin D and it is best absorbed via the sun-rays.

Art Photography by Hope VanCleaf/Click for more on Mannequin Series

Let’s start with Vitamin D. Here is a fantastic infographic that illustrates everything you need to know about Vitamin D. Once you review, you’ll understand why we need to have some fun in the sun! As you can see from the chart, you can take supplements and you can get Vitamin D from some food sources. This may be something to consider because getting your Vitamin D from the sun depends on where you live, the color of your skin, and how much exposure you get everyday.

We are all different, and this is why you always have to consider your unique body and lifestyle when reviewing health data. Believe it or not, researchers say we only need 20 minutes of good sunshine to get our Vitamin D but this isn’t always easy to do year round for many of us. Continue on for more wellness wisdom on how you can have your sun in just the right doses, and protect yourself safely…

Don’t you just love the mannequin model named ‘Celeste’ by the way! A friend of mine has created this wonderful series of mannequins. What I love about ‘Celeste’ is she looks so sophisticated in her hat and shades! Notice how fair-skinned she is, which is all the more reason she needs to cover up. Especially if she is spending significant time in the sun. This is the key factor to remember. 20 Minutes in the sun is great for absorbing your Vitamin D, but after that you have to protect your skin through covering up and using SPF skin-care products. Below are recommendations excerpted from the Mayo Clinic on Sunburn protection and if you develop these healthy sun bathing habits, you will reap the benefit of younger looking skin. Most dermatologists will tell you it is sun-damage to the skin that ages you quickly, especially if you have sensitive skin to begin with. Just as a reminder for the darker World Wise Beauties, you have to worry about sun-damage and cancer just as much. You just have slightly different guidelines. See below for the general tips…

Excerpt from the Mayo Clinic:

Use these methods to prevent sunburn, even on cool, cloudy or hazy days. And be extra careful around water, snow, ice and sand because they reflect the sun’s rays. In addition, UV light is more intense at high altitudes.

  • Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun’s rays are strongest during these hours, so try to schedule outdoor activities for other times. If you’re unable to do that, limit the length of time you’re in the sun. Seek shade when possible.
  • Cover up. Wear tightly woven clothing that covers you, including your arms and legs. Consider wearing clothing or outdoor gear specially designed to provide sun protection. Check the label for its ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which indicates how effectively a fabric blocks damaging sunlight. The higher the number, the better. Dark colors offer more protection, as do fabrics treated with UV- absorbing chemicals.Also wear a broad-brimmed hat, which protects you better than a baseball cap or golf visor does.
  • Use sunscreen frequently and generously. No matter what your skin type is, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater.Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply it every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring. If you’re also using insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend products that combine an insect repellent with a sunscreen.You may use sunscreen on toddlers and babies 6 months or older. But for younger babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using other forms of sun protection, such as shade or clothing.
  • Wear sunglasses when outdoors. You offer your eyes the best protection outdoors by choosing the highest UV protection-rated sunglasses. Darker lenses are not necessarily better at blocking UV rays. Check the UV rating on the label when buying new glasses. It also helps to wear sunglasses that fit close to your face and have wraparound frames that block sunlight from all angles.
  • Don’t expect a base tan to protect. Some people think getting a base tan prevents sunburn. The idea is that a few sessions of indoor tanning will protect them from burning in the sun. Research doesn’t support this. A base tan is no substitute for good sun protection. Plus, the risks of long-term tanning outweigh the unproven benefits of a base tan.
I want to share the following page from the Skin Cancer Foundation, because they offer a very comprehensive overview on all the concerns about SPF products and it helps you understand the ‘lingo’ when looking for sun-care products. In the meantime here is an excerpt from their site on the new sunscreen guidelines developed by the FDA.

FDA Sunscreen Labeling Guidelines at a Glance

  • Sunscreens may be labeled “broad-spectrum” if they provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation according to FDA-sanctioned test methods.
  • Only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher may state that they help protect against skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures.
  • Broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPFs of 2-14 must display a warning that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.
  • The terms “sunblock,” “sweatproof” and “waterproof” are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels.
  • Sunscreens may claim to be “water-resistant,” but must specify whether they protect the skin for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Sunscreens that are not water-resistant must instruct consumers to use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
  • A company cannot claim that its sunscreen products provide sun protection for more than two hours without submitting test results to prove this.
  • The FDA has proposed a regulation that would require sunscreen products with SPF values higher than 50 to be labeled “SPF 50+.” The FDA is seeking additional data before making a final ruling. Learn more about high-SPF sunscreens.
  • The FDA is currently reviewing the effectiveness of sunscreen wipes, powders, towelettes, as well as body washes and shampoo with sunscreen ingredients. No decisions have been made.
  • For sunscreen spray products, the agency has requested additional data to establish effectiveness and to determine whether they present a safety concern if inhaled unintentionally.*

*The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying spray sunscreen in a well-ventilated room, or outdoors (keeping in mind that the wind may carry some sunscreen away). Keep your eyes and mouth closed when spraying sunscreen. When applying to the face, it’s best to spray the sunscreen on your hand and then apply to your face by hand.

But wait, what about all those nasty reports about the chemicals in SPF’s?  I like to get the full story on everything and personally prefer using the least amount of chemicals as possible when I can. Having said this, I think it is important that you get a full and balanced report on sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation wrote the following response to the EWG ( Environmental Working Group) after their scorching sunscreen report was released in 2014.
The EWG’s conclusions about various brands are based on product label information, which is analyzed by people who are not experts in the field. The EWG’s Sunscreen Report uses scare tactics that only serve to confuse the public and potentially deter them from using the quality sunscreen products that are readily accessible. Though using sunscreen is a vital sun safety strategy, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended a complete sun protection regimen that includes not only sunscreen use, but also seeking shade, covering up with clothing including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
So you have to consider the science, but also consider who is backing the research. Sorry to say, but this is the world we are living in. I think the Skin Cancer Foundation wants to protect us and I would like to believe they do their research. Having said this, I personally might try some of the sunscreens that use minerals vs chemicals or at the very least harm-free chemicals. Here are the well-respected groups that will give you their research on dangerous chemicals, and recommend products who use minerals and safe ingredients.
Ultimately you have to make a decision for yourself. Be your own guru but get ALL the information available and then choose wisely. The bottom line is we need to have a little fun in the sun for our health and our spirits! And we definitely need our Vitamin D!  Just be wise, practice safe sun-bathing and do your research when using ANY personal care products you slather all over your skin! Happy Summer World Wise Beauty!

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