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All About Cheesecake
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The Wonders of Dried Fruit
by Lisa Stag-Tout, Wellness Manager
I used to be an all-out sun worshipper. Tropical tanning oil darkened my skin, and good ol’ lemon juice lightened my hair. I couldn’t help it; it was the south Floridian culture where I grew up. Locals and tourists alike were always basking in the sun, catching a few rays, competing for the darkest tan. To me and my friends, sunscreen was a joke. Aside from preventing sunburn early in the season why would anyone ever want to prevent bronzing their body to the fullest extent possible? Ignorance, in this case, isn’t bliss but potentially deadly. I can’t say I would have heeded the warnings about skin cancer if I had heard them while in my teens and early twenties but maybe if I had thought about the sun’s rays in terms of radiation dosages...
Ultraviolet radiation is the “sunburn” and “suntan” wavelengths of solar radiation; the skin-damaging spectrum of sunlight. In 2002 the Department of Health and Human Services added UV Radiation from the sun or from tanning beds to government’s list of known carcinogens.
UVA penetrates deeply and efficiently and is not filtered through window glass, like UVB. UVB primarily affects the outer skin layers and is responsible for sunburn. It is most intense at midday.
UV radiation can cause eye damage including cataracts; immune suppression; genetic injury; wrinkles; allergies; photoaging; and skin cancers. One of the fastest growing cancers in our nation is malignant melanoma. In fact, melanoma is the most frequent form of cancer found in women aged 25-29 and is second only to breast cancer in women over 35. Some dermatologists believe there may be a link between melanoma and childhood sunburns. While this cancer can be fatal, if caught very early it is almost always curable. Dark pigmented moles, called melanomas, can develop from a mole that you were born with or a mole that appeared suddenly. Located mostly on the upper back and shoulders, melanomas can develop anywhere on the body and can rapidly change in appearance. They can grow wide or lumpy, become itchy, tender or change color. Squamous cell carcinomas, a non-melanoma skin cancer, appear as red, scaly patches or nodules on the face, ears, lips and mouth that can develop into large masses and/or spread to other parts of the body. Basal cell carcinomas, also a non-melanoma skin cancer, are very slow growing fleshy bumps and nodules that rarely spread to other parts of the body, but they can penetrate to the bone.
While it is easy to assume that these dangers are easily averted by just wearing sunscreen, there are a few things to understand to ensure the complete protection that you may be expecting.
SPF numbering is regulated by the FDA, and it is a measure of the amount of time a person can stay in the sun without getting burned. It’s a simple equation based on your personal sunburn rate. For example, it takes at least 25 minutes for me to burn, so I multiply that by SPF 15, and I get 375 minutes of protection from applying SPF15 sunscreen correctly. “Correctly” means that I apply it liberally—really slather it on a recommended one and a quarter ounce per adult. If I swim or sweat profusely then I will need to reapply—again liberally, but I still need to retreat from the sun after my 6 hours and 25 minutes. If someone else takes only 15 minutes to burn—15 x 15 = 225 minutes that someone should head for the shade by the time four hours are up even if there is no apparent sunburn. They can’t just reapply SPF15 for another few hours of fun in the sun.
So, if you’re planning a full day in the sun, it’s best to apply a sunscreen or sunblock with a SPF45 and bring a hat and a tight weaved, long-sleeved shirt if you’re fair-skinned and burn easily. It’s also recommended to reapply sunscreen more often if you are continuously in the sun from the hours of 10am until 3pm or if you have a pre-existing sunburn or if you are taking any photosynthesizing medications/herbs such as antibiotics or St. John’s Wort. Check the expiration date as well; some products lose effectiveness after two years.
• Micronized titanium dioxide and zinc are the most common, active ingredients in sunblock. These in-gredients reflect light because they are opaque, and if they were not micronized they would leave a white
film on your skin.
• PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid): Rarely found in modern preparations, PABA was an early chemical
sunscreen that often induced sensitivity reactions.
• PABA esters (glyceryl, padimate A and padimate O): These newer preparations have fewer side effects
than the original PABA.
• Salicylates (homosalate, octyl salicy-late): an older substance that is easily absorbable and assists the absorbsion of other ingredients.
• Cinnamates (cinoxate, octyl methoxycinnamate or octocrylene): Octocylene is a cinnamate with both UVA and UVB absorbing properties. It is also insoluble in water and is found in waterproof formulas.
• Benzophenones: These can absorb both UVA and UVB rays.
It’s been many years since I’ve gone sunbathing, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it, but one quick glance at the little—as yet unchanging —moles on my, arms and I apply that sunblock, SPF30... just in case I’m caught out in the sun for more than a few hours.