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Showing posts with label sun-block. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sun-block. Show all posts

Friday, July 03, 2020

A complete guide to sun exposure ☀️🌞

July 03, 2020 1 Comments
Hello everyone!

It is summertime and the sun is shining brightly in the sky; it's time to talk about sun exposure!

We are constantly bombarded with messages that sun exposure can cause sunspots, burns, wrinkles, tissue damage and skin cancer.  The truth is that the only proven health risk so far is too much sun exposure.  The intensity of sunlight and especially UV-rays is much lower in the early morning and late afternoon, than around midday.  Thus during such periods, you can enjoy the production of vitamin D without getting too many UV-rays on you which can cause skin burns, cancer, etc.  The best-known benefit of sun exposure is vitamin D synthesis, which occurs in the skin in response to the sun’s UVB rays.

The sun is at its highest between 11 a.m.(11:00) and 4 p.m.(16:00) but that doesn't mean the sun can't be damaging before or after these times.  You should be aware of your local UV index.

woman on the beach wearing a bikini, sunglasses and a hat

To calculate the right UV dose for you, divide 60 (as in the number of minutes in an hour) by the UV index to find out how many minutes of sun exposure it will take for you to get 1 SED.  SED stands for “standard erythemal dose,” a fixed dose of sun intensity that will cause erythema (reddening of the skin).

See the table below for the approximate SED it takes for different skin types to burn.  For example, today's UV ­index, here in Malta is 11; divide 60 by 11 to get 5 minutes for 1 SED.  If you are fair, you’ll get sunburned with 2 to 3 SED (10 to 15 minutes).

Skin Type
SED Needed for Skin to Burn
Very Fair
Moderate Brown
Dark Brown or Black

There’s no question that the sun can be a danger to your skin.  The ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun is a known carcinogen.  But moderate sun exposure may have benefits for your health, including stronger bones, better sleep, improved mood, and a healthier immune system.  Consider that when you continuously shield yourself from the sun or always cover every inch of exposed skin with sunscreen, you could be missing out!  

woman on the beach applying sunscreen

Note: Not all sunscreens are safe!!

Studies have shown that oxybenzone may affect breast development, infant birth weight, and sperm function.  It has also been shown to contribute to the killing of coral reefs in the ocean.  In fact, Hawaii has banned the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate starting in 2021.  

You should keep using sunscreen, although if you want to play it safe you should switch to sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  If you want to know more about sunscreens and how they work, read these posts: Here comes the sun(screen) and Sunscreen ingredients to avoid! | A safer alternative.

Enjoy the sun and stay safe!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Here comes the sun(screen)

June 30, 2015 3 Comments
Hello everyone!

Believe it or not, there are still a lot of misconceptions about sunscreen.  Today's post aims at clarifying some of those misconceptions.  Let's get started!

Truth or Fiction?

You don't need sunscreen if you have dark skin or already have a tan. 
Fact: Everybody, regardless of race, ethnic origins and skin type is subject to the damaging effects of exposure to the sun. 

Sunscreen, with SPF-30 provides twice as much protection as SPF-15. 
Fact: NO.  Here's an SPF guide:
SPF 15 - 1/15 of the UVB rays get through to your skin - blocking about 93%.
SPF 30 - 1/30 of the UVB rays get through to your skin - blocking about 97%. 
SPF 50 - 1/50 of the UVB rays get through to your skin - blocking about 98%.

Waterproof sunscreen provides "all day protection" and does not need to be re-applied. 
Fact: Waterproof sunscreens loses some of their effectiveness after 40 minutes. 

Cloudy days limit the power of the sun's rays. 
Fact: 80% of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through clouds. 

Using sunscreen will prevent skin cancer. 
Fact: NO.  Some researchers even blame sunscreen use for encouraging people to stay in the sun longer than they should.  You should also avoid some of the chemicals used in sunscreen such as para-aminobenzoic (PABA), and oxbenzone.
  • There is no rating system for UVA protection.
  • Most sunscreens are good at blocking UVB rays (the ones that burn) but not UVA (the ones primarily responsible for DNA damage and melanomas).
  • Very High SPF numbers (SPF-100+) are mostly marketing ploys.  SPF-30 is enough. 

Here Comes the Sun(Screen)
Via: Best Nursing Masters Degrees

Some positive effects of UVA
  • Helps with Vitamin D production: strengthens bones, muscles and the body's immune system.  It may lower the risk of getting some kinds of cancers such as colon cancer. 
  • Helps some skin conditions. 
  • Helps moods - sunlight stimulates the pineal gland in the brain to produce certain chemicals called 'tryptamines'.  These chemicals improve our mood.

Protection: A timeline
  • Ancient Egyptians used potions to ward off tan and also heal damaged skin.  Some of those ingredients were rice bran extracts (today, gamma oryzanol), jasmine and Lupine extract. 
  • Early 1930s: First sunburn cream produced by South Australian chemist HA Milton. 
  • 1936: First sunscreen debuts by Eugene Schueller, founder of L'Oreal Company. 
  • 1938: SPF factor developed.  First commercially available screen had SPF 2. 
  • 1944: Remember the Coppertone girl.  She took a first bow this year 
  • 1980: Coppertone developed the first UVA/UVB sunscreen.
If you want to make your own all-natural sunscreen, click here for the recipe!

Related post:

Sunscreen 101

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beach bag essentials

June 23, 2013 0 Comments
Hello everyone!  
Summer is finally here, and here in Malta this only means one thing; the beach.  Keep reading to uncover my beach bag essentials.   

The most important thing you have to keep in mind when going to the beach is, of course, sun protection
Note: According to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), the best sunscreen is clothing, because there are no chemicals for the skin to absorb! 
My check list: 
  • A floppy hat, to protect my head and my hair from the sun.
  • Sunglasses help keep the eyes shielded from the harmful sun rays and also keep me from squinting, which cause wrinkles.  Tip: Be sure to choose sunglasses that have UV protection.
  • Cover-up/Beach dress
  • Beach towel
  • Sun-blocks/sunscreens, for more information read Sunscreen 101!
  • Lip balm with sunscreen is important to keep lips from getting chapped.
  • A hair sunscreen product or a leave-in conditioner with  high UV filter.  Read Summer hair care for more information!
  • Wet wipes
  • Flip-flops - Tip: Choose shoes that you can get wet and rinse off easily.
  • Water bottle: It is very important to stay hydrated throughout the day. 
  • Baby Powder: For getting off stubborn sand.
  • Phone/Mp3 player: Everything is better with music!

Have fun and be safe!


Photo from here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The facekini craze!

August 23, 2012 2 Comments

First came the bikini, then the mankini (remember that?) and now the face-kini

What is a facekini, you might ask.  It’s the latest craze in sun protection to hit China.

In China fair skin is a desirable trait.  A tan represents a lower class citizen, one who works long days out in the field while pale skin signifies affluence.  The facekini is an excellent way to preserve pale skin.

Sun umbrellas/parasols are also very popular in China.  I have to admit that I've owned an SPF umbrella for a while and this summer I used it for the first time.  People did stare at me (as if I was some sort of alien) but I didn't mind.  However, I could never wear a facekini! J

What do you think: Is wearing a facekini too much?  What about parasols?  


Photo from here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SOS - Sunburn

August 12, 2012 1 Comments

If you ended up with sunburn, here are some home remedies that can make you a bit more comfortable... 


As the sun burns your skin, it also dehydrates it.  Being well hydrated will help burns heal better. 

Take a bath

Adding a few tablespoons of baking soda to cool bath water makes a sunburn-soothing remedy.  Instead of baking soda, you could also use 1 cup oatmeal.  Avoid using soap, which can irritate and dry out the skin.  If you feel you must use soap, use a mild one.  Definitely skip the washcloth, bath sponge, and loofah.  Afterwards, pat your skin gently with a soft towel.


To prevent dry skin, apply moisturiser immediately after your bath/shower.  For cooling relief of pain and dryness, chill the moisturiser in the refrigerator before using.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel will take the sting and redness out of sunburn.

Cool compress

Soak a washcloth in cool water and apply it directly to the burned areas (do not apply ice or an ice pack directly to sunburned skin).


The tannic acid from tea is soothing for sunburn.  Save used tea bags and apply to burned area (at room temperature) or bathe in a cool bath with several tea bags in the water.


Soak in a bath with cool water and a gallon of milk or apply plain yoghurt directly to the sunburn.


Grate a potato and apply it to the burned area.  The starch will cool and soothe the burn.


Rub sunburned area with fresh cucumber slices.  They are very cool and will soothe the area.

Keep in mind, though, that when you get sunburn, your skin is actually damaged by UV radiation and your body is responding to the damage.  These remedies cannot reverse that damage.

Hope you find this useful.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment.


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Photo from here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer hair care

July 11, 2012 0 Comments
Hello everyone! 

We all know that the summer sun is very dangerous and that we need to protect our skin.  But some tend to forget that the sun can also damage our hair.  

Here are some tips and tricks to ensure that your hair does not get damaged this season:

  • Wear a scarf, hat or cap to protect your hair from the sun.
  • If you are going to be in the sun and you don't want to wear anything on your head, always use a hair sunscreen.
  • Limit your use of hot tools on your hair (i.e. blow dryers, curling and straightening irons).  Always use a heat protectant!
  • Staying hydrated is important for your overall healthy and for your hair as well so make sure that you are drinking enough water.
  • Avoid hair products with alcohol in them which dry out hair.  Try to use natural products that are gentler on your hair.
  • Before going into the pool/sea wet your hair; this will decrease the absorption of chlorinated/salt water into your hair.

  • Use a clarifying shampoo after swimming in a pool to wash out the chlorine in your hair.  Chlorine will severely dry out your hair if it is not washed out.
  • Try co-washing more often than shampooing your hair.
  • You can also use dry shampoos. (Personally, I don’t like them!)
  • Use a moisturising shampoo that is gentler than your regular shampoo for the summer.
  • Use moisturising hair masks and deep conditioners.
  • Once you have your hair moist, lock in the moisture by rinsing your hair with cold water; this will also give your hair an extra shine.
  • Get your hair trimmed every six to eight weeks.  Your hair grows faster in the warmer months.
  • Try tying your hair, braiding it or wearing it up or in a bun.

Do you have more summer hair care tips and tricks?  Share them in a comment!


Related post:

Photo from here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Sunscreen 101

May 01, 2012 2 Comments
Hello everyone!  How’s the weather?

Here in Malta, it feels like Summer.  That’s the reason I’ve been MIA this week; I’ve been enjoying the good weather! J

Sunny days = High SPF sunscreen/sun-block days.  That means; it’s time to talk sun-blocks…

  • Everyone, regardless of skin type, should be wearing a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 daily.
  • The SPF indicates how much longer you can stay in the sun without burning than you could with unprotected skin.  For example, if it takes 15 minutes for a person to burn without sunscreen, an SPF 15 will (theoretically) allow him or her to stay in the sun 15 times longer without burning. 
  • Sun-blocks should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.  Even water-resistant/proof sunscreens need to be re-applied every 1-2 hours. 
  • A good sunscreen needs to cover both the UVA and UVB spectrum of radiation.
  • The most serious form of skin cancer is malignant melanoma.  Malignant melanomas start as small brown/ black marks (look like moles).  They can also develop from an existing mole. 
  • The best way to catch skin cancer early is to check your skin regularly.  You need to be looking for any changes in size, shape, texture, and colour of existing moles or birthmarks.
  • Skin cancer can pop up anywhere, even between your toes, on your scalp, on your lips and in your ears, so be sure to apply sunscreen from your head to your feet.  (Some people look at me like I'm crazy when they see my re-applying my sunscreen at the beach.  Lol!)


Last summer my cousin’s bf told me I was “too pale” and that “I needed to go out in the sun more”.  Really?!  My answer to that was very similar to what Leonard once told Penny I'm not indoorsy.  I just wear the appropriate sun-block because I don't take melanoma lightly.” (The Big Bang Theory 02x11)  And that I love my skin colour and don’t feel the need to change it as the seasons change! ;)

Enjoy the good weather and take good care of your skin!