How much sun­shine do we need? Fam­i­ly­den­tal­care

• Amal­gam free den­tistry • Safe re­moval of amal­gam • White & Porce­lain Fill­ings • Tooth Whiten­ing • Crowns & Ve­neers • Cos­metic Den­tistry

Living Now - - Health - By Jost Sauer

The amount of sun­shine each in­di­vid­ual should be ex­posed to de­pends on the colour of a per­son’s skin, the re­gion some­one lives in, the time of year, and the amount of time the per­son spends out­doors. In gen­eral, peo­ple with fair skin should be ex­posed in the sun for 3-15 min­utes, while peo­ple with darker skin tones should be ex­posed for 15-30 min­utes.

This does not in­clude walk­ing out on your lunch break for a few min­utes in your work at­tire as at least 40% of your skin needs to be ex­posed, es­pe­cially fatty ar­eas (thighs and stomach), and when the sun in high­est in the sky at mid­day. Colder pe­ri­ods of the year may re­quire sup­ple­men­ta­tion with vi­ta­min D, de­pend­ing on in­di­vid­ual lev­els.

The truth about sun­screens

Topi­cally ap­plied, sun­screens pro­tect us by ab­sorb­ing or re­flect­ing ra­di­a­tion at the sur­face of our skin. In ad­di­tion to block­ing UV ra­di­a­tion, sun­screens also in­hibit the en­doge­nous pro­duc­tion of vi­ta­min D.

As Ala­nis Moris­sete would oth­er­wise sing it; isn’t it ironic that melanoma rates have risen in re­cent decades af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of sun­screens? As vi­ta­min D sup­press the growth of melanoma cells, vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency in the skin may play a role in the de­vel­op­ment of melanoma. In­ter­est­ingly, reg­u­lar, healthy time in the sun pro­duces nat­u­ral sun­block through the body’s abil­ity to pro­duce melanin. More time spent in the sun, there­fore, helps the skin reg­u­late more nat­u­rally, be­com­ing less likely to burn and re­duces the need for sun­screens with an SPF of 15+. In­di­vid­u­als with very sen­si­tive skin, how­ever, may still need more pro­tec­tion.

Sev­eral com­mer­cial sun­screens avail­able on the mar­ket con­tain chem­i­cals that are not only prob­lem­atic to hu­man health, but also to the en­vi­ron­ment. Sun­screens can be cat­e­gorised by chem­i­cal or phys­i­cal UV block­ers. Chem­i­cal sun­screens are usu­ally ‘in­vis­i­ble’ and there­fore ap­peal­ing to con­sumers (no one wants to leave the house look­ing like a vam­pire). How­ever UV ab­sorp­tion may ac­ti­vate their caus­ing un­wanted skin re­ac­tions.

Many of the syn­thetic chem­i­cals in­clud­ing ben­zophe­none-3 have been shown to be en­docrine dis­rup­tors, mim­ick­ing nat­u­ral hor­mones in the body. Iron­i­cally, con­ven­tional sun­screens that are mar­keted to pro­tect us from skin cancer and melanomas con­tain chem­i­cals have been linked to var­i­ous forms of cancer. Padi­mate O, a chem­i­cal filler in con­ven­tional sun­screen, has been found to pro­duce free rad­i­cals when ex­posed to sun­light and causes con­tact der­mati­tis and pho­to­sen­si­tiv­ity.

Com­monly found in­gre­di­ents to avoid: • ben­zophe­none-3 (Bp-3) / Oxy­ben­zone • ho­mos­alate (HMS)

Safe sun­screen choices

Phys­i­cal sun­screens re­flect both UVA and UVB rays away from the skin. Phys­i­cal sun­screens are chem­i­cal-free, and are nat­u­ral sun­screens use min­eral blocks, such as ti­ta­nium diox­ide and zinc ox­ide. Nat­u­ral sun­screens con­tain many plant-based in­gre­di­ents that are sooth­ing and nour­ish­ing to the skin, are non­toxic, low in skin ir­ri­tants, and free of per­fumes or petroleum-based poly­mers.

Eat your sun­screen

While sun­screens have been use­ful to as­sist in re­duc­ing sun dam­age, their pro­tec­tion alone is not ad­e­quate to pre­vent UV ef­fects. Be­cause of this, new skin pro­tect­ing meth­ods are needed to pro­mote healthy skin and of­fer the high­est avail­able sun pro­tec­tion without skin re­ac­tions. The study of in­gre­di­ents found in many of the foods we eat, used both topi­cally (on the sur­face of the skin) and sys­tem­i­cally (in­ter­nally in­gested) has gained con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion in re­cent years. Ingest­ing and ap­ply­ing cer­tain veg­eta­bles, fruits, and herbs, have both been found to be the best way to pro­tect our skin from the sun’s rays.

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