I ventured out yesterday to grab a couple emergency groceries I'd failed to grab last weekend. Likely, like many of you, one prevalent thought came to the forefront, even just walking out of my car straight into Kroger:
It is HOT.
The heat is upon us in Texas, y'all. Say goodbye to sweater weather - Lord only knows when that'll be back.
Though we all might agree this heat has been an adjustment, it's nice to have the sun back in the picture. Definitely makes for more fun outdoor activities, as swimsuit season is also just around the corner. However, it is imperative we protect ourselves.
If you're like most, one of the last things you'll think of before going on a neighborhood stroll is sunscreen. Trust me I've even been bad about it myself, but ultraviolet radiation is no joke. Chronic overexposure to the sun slows the immune system's response to outside pathogens, promotes premature skin aging, and increases risk of developing skin cancer (Wilson et al., 2012). Still, there is a well-documented and firmly supported solution.
You guessed it! Good 'ol sunscreen. Over the years, research has demonstrated sunscreen use's correlation with reduced actinic keratosis (Thompson et al., 1993), photosensitivities (Roberts and Beasly, 1995), and solar elastos (Darlington et al., 2003). Chemical, organic sunscreens are designed to ultimately convert absorbed UV into lower energy rays (Wolverton and Levy 2007). Physical, inorganic sunscreens reflect, disperse, and absorb UVR (Sayre et al. 1990). SPF (sun protection factor) 15 corresponds with 93.3% UVB absorption, 30 with 96.7%, 45 with 97.8%, and 50 with 98% (Levy 1997).
Though it's crucial to tread with caution when out in the sun for extended periods, this is not to say that UV is all bad. In fact, it has shown to be effective in treating SAD (seasonal affective disorder), sarcoidosis, vitamin D deficiency, psoriasis and mycosis fungoides among other skin conditions (Wilson et al., 2012). Main takeaway is to be mindful and take care of yourself as you head into this season. Not everyone is the same as far as reaction to certain types of sunscreen, so it is important to educate yourself on what type of sun protection is right for you.
Stay cool, stay hydrated, Happy May.
Darlington, S., Williams, G., Neale, R., Frost, C., and Green, A. (2003). A randomized controlled trial to assess sunscreen application and beta carotene supplementation in the prevention of solar keratoses. Arch Dermatol, 139(4), 451-5.
Levy, S.B. (1997). Sunscreen for photoprotection. Dermatology Theory, 4, 59–71.
Roberts, L.K. and Beasley, D.G. (1995). Commercial sunscreen lotions prevent ultraviolet-radiation-induced immune suppression of contact hypersensitivity. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 33, 941–946.
Sayre, R.M., Killias, N., Roberts, R.L., et al. (1990). Physical sunscreens. Journal of Social Cosmetic Chemistry, 41, 103–109.
Thompson, S.C., Jolley, D., Marks, R. (1993). Reduction of solar keratoses by regular sunscreen use. New England Journal of Medicine, 329, 1147–1151.
Wilson, B.D., Moon, S., and Armstrong, F. (2012). Comprehensive review of ultraviolet radiation and the current status on sunscreens. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 5(9), 18-23.
Wolverton, S.E. and Levy, S.B. (2007). Comprehensive dermatologic drug therapy. (2nd ed.). 711–712.