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Posts for category: Sun Safety

We are well into summer now, and in the spirit of enjoying all the joys summer has to offer without the downside, I would like to offer:

                       9 tips for Sunscreen Safety

Throw out your sunscreen with oxybenzone. Research indicates that this common sunscreen ingredient has hormone-disrupting effects.

Replace chemical based sunscreens with zinc oxide-based sunblocks. These can have longer-lasting protection without the harmful ingredients. Zinc oxide protects across the entire UVB and UVA spectrum, to an extent unique to all the sunscreen agents. As a physical blocker, rather than a chemical, it is not depleted as the sun's rays penetrate the skin, and may be safer for us and the environment.

Steer clear of super high SPFs. SPFs over 50 do not actually protect any better than a properly-applied sunscreen of SPF 15 or 30, and one might ask, does putting more chemicals on our skin and in the environment really make sense? If a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 is properly applied to the skin of a person who normally would burn in a hour with no sunscreen, that person would not burn until 15 hours of sun exposure (this assumes no sweating or activities that rub the sunscreen off).  There is evidence that super high SPF sunscreens may give you a false sense of security, parodoxically resulting in more burning. Sunscreen should be reapplied every hour to hour and a half, especially if one is sweating, in the water, or rubbing the skin with clothing or towels, and each application to a body with just a bathing suit on requires a full ounce (what would fit in a shot glass).

Avoid makeup in loose powder form claiming SPF protection (containing zinc or titanium nanoparticles). These could create damage because they’re often inhaled during use and the small particles can get lodged in your lungs.

Avoid indoor tanning. People who regularly get indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanning are 74% more likely to develop melanoma (the most dangerous of skin cancers) than people who have never tanned indoors. According to a JAMA Dermatology study, there are more cases of skin cancer due to tanning than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking.

Dress to protect. Shield your skin’s elastin and collagen from potentially harmful UV light by wearing a hat and sunglasses when outdoors (and other cover-ups when possible). For water sports, I love the rash guards surfers wear.

Get some Vitamin D. Expose your arms and legs to the sun 5 to 30 minutes twice per week without sunblock but only in the morning and late afternoon hours (to avoid the most damaging rays). If you’re fair-skinned, 5 minutes twice per week is all you need. You can also get vitamin D by eating the following foods: Salmon Wild, Fresh – (3.5 oz = 600–1000 IU of vitamin D3), Cod liver oil (1 tsp = 400–1000 IU of vitamin D3) and Shiitake mushrooms, Sun-dried (3.5 oz = 1600 IU of vitamin D2). Almost everyone should get a 25-OH vitamin D level, and start supplementation with the aim of achieving a level of 50 to 75.  For more on Vitamin D, see my Facebook page, Sheryl Clark MD.

Eat antioxidant rich foods. Studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet, one rich in vegetables, fruit and olive oil, as well as certain dietary supplements incuding niacinamide, and carotenoids, can have sun-protective effects and can combat oxidative damage and prevent skin cancer. Helioplex is an OTC supplement that helps prevent sunburn. Talk to your functional dermatologist about your diet and what supplements you might consider.

Apply a properly-formulated, potent topical antioxidant.  There is considerable scientific evidence that a carefully-manufactured topical antioxidant can, much more effectively that oral antioxidants, protect you from the harmful effects of the sun, while still allowing Vitamin D to be produced from the sun's rays, even when only applied every  few days. Talk to your dermatologist about green tea and vitamin C formulations, such as Citrex and Replenix.

For more information on this and related topics, please visit my FaceBook page,


UV Neutralizer-TanHave you heard that there is a new sunscreen you can drink?  Sometimes things that sound too good to be true are exactly that.

Osmosis Skincare’s UV Neutralizer Harmonized Water is a product that claims to provide the equivalent of SPF 30, protecting you from 97% of UVA and UVB rays for up to three hours. How? By "making the water molecules just below the surface of your skin vibrate, emitting frequencies that cancel out the burn-causing frequencies of UVA and UVB radiation." This is according to Ben Johnson, MD, general practitioner and founder of Osmosis Skincare.

Say what?  As far as I know, there is no technology that would allow  water molecules to vibrate via anything one would ingest.  Nor can I conceive of any principle of physics whereby vibrations could interfere with ultraviolet light.

Dr. Johnson concedes that no controlled or randomized trials have been performed. He apparently has had roughly 50 patients try it and feel that it helps.

Until he explains the science and performs studies that show efficacy, I would recommend one not rely on this product to prevent sunburn.   My concern is that people might try this and get a severe sunburn which could greatly increase their risk for a potentially fatal melanoma.

But hey, that's just my opinion.

Recent studies suggest that we need not be concerned about nanoparticles in sunscreens. Researchers assessed exposure by the extent of nanoparticle zinc oxide (ZnO-NP) contained in sunscreens and other cosmetic products and found that the level of exposure and penetration is not sufficient to affect cell function, including metabolic state of skin cells or their morphology.

Eur J Pharm Biopharm 2013 Feb 28

By contactus
August 16, 2011
Category: Sun Safety
Tags: heliocare  

Did you know their is a pill that can prevent sun damage to your skin.  Derived from tropical ferns, leucovorum polypodium can prevent all the harmful effects of ultraviolet light, including damage to pyrimidine dimers in DNA, while still alowing vitamin D production.  I have been using it for patients with disorders of the skin due to sun sensitivity, such as solar urticaria or polymorphous light eruption, but it may be helpful in skin cancer prevention as well.  Take one capsule 30 minutes prior to prolonged sun exposure, and a second capsult 2 to 3 hours later.

It is sold under the name Heliocare and is available at  and Amazon.

Sun Safety