Posted By Raj Singh on 01/18/2018 in Health

About this Sunscreen - Are you taking enough caution?

About this Sunscreen - Are you taking enough caution?

Yes, it’s high winter in Canada and everyone we know is headed to some lovely sun and warmth to the Caribbean. Okay, don’t you forget your sunscreen. But although the American Cancer Society says “Slip, Slop, Slap,” meaning "Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, and slap on a hat", not all sunscreens are made to keep their high  promises of total protection.

It is estimated that in 2018, 7,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation has stated that one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer, at least 80% of which are caused by ultraviolet radiation. And UV rays are most commonly contacted either directly by the sun’s rays or in salons on artificial tanning beds.

The Banana Boat Horror

When you go down to the beach and “slop on some”, you probably think it’s as good as it can get, but this lady in Australia brought on a legal case against Banana Boat, a popular sunscreen brand for causing extreme skin burn as soon as she applied their aerosol spray on herself and her kids. 

Lab tests requested by her law firm meanwhile, revealed 11 SPF on cans that were advertised as 50+ SPF. On testing several cans of these sprays, SPF measured only a range between 11-20. Embedded above are average test results.

Investigations into Banana Boat have started full swing in early December 2017. If you use Banana Boat products or have been burned by any of their spray sunscreens, you can register your interest in the potential class action here.

While experts say creams function better than aerosol sprays as the spray might blow away content if sprayed outdoors in a breeze. But caution needs to be applied in choosing a safe sunscreen right for you.

Sunscreen: The variations

Read The Basics of Sunscreen here.

Sunscreens can be either physical or chemical in nature. Physical sunscreens contain both titanium oxide and zinc oxide while chemical compounds such as paraaminobenzoic acid, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone and more make up the chemical sunscreens. This variation is so important because of the difference in ingredients and their effect on various skin types. Natural living experts advise not using sunscreens that use paraaminobenzoic acid, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, retinyl palmitate, retinol, vitamin A and instead look for those that contain zinc oxide, 3% avobenzone and Mexoryl SX.

Sunscreens can also be either broad spectrum or not, depending on their nature. Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against both UVB and UVA sun rays within one package. Some sunscreens are designed to protect against one type of rays. Choose your sunscreen with caution.

Another common term used for sunscreens is 'water resistant', used to identify sunscreens that can repel water for some time. Such sunscreens are ideal for swimmers and people doing heavy exercise in the sun. In the past, these sunscreens were labelled as 'water proof' but the FDA outlawed it.

Practice caution when you use it.

There are some limitations to using sunscreen. Pregnant women should not use chemical sunscreens at any one point. The chemicals in chemical sunscreens such as paraaminobenzoic acid (PABA) and oxybenzone may pose a risk to the unborn baby when absorbed. Babies below 6 months of age should not have sunscreen applied on them either.

The SPF or sun protection factor is the mark used to show the level of protection a sunscreen brand can give you. The SPF can be anything from 2 and above, but you don't need the highest level for total protection. Mid range SPF levels such as SPF 30 can do well enough on a good day, but you can still go for SPFs 15 - 25 for good protection.

Sunscreen has to be applied more than once for total protection. Experts recommend that users should apply before stepping out, and reapply every two hours after that.

One final word:  Never leave your sunscreen home before stepping out. Get the one that's right for you and your skin will always thank you.