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    Monday, July 6, 2009


    SPF is often misunderstood says the Prescriber’s Newsletter.

    SPF applies only to UVB...not UVA. UVB causes the familiar sunburn. SPF is an estimate of how long a person can stay in the sun without obvious sunburn.

    For example, if a person would burn in 10 minutes with NO protection, then an SPF 15 sunscreen will protect 15 times longer or 150 minutes...and an SPF 30 would protect 30 times longer or 300 minutes.There's no proof that an SPF over 50 gives any measurable added benefit.

    UVB ratings get the most attention, but are only part of the story.
    UVA ratings will appear on some sunscreens. You'll see 1, 2, 3, or 4 stars indicating low, medium, high, or highest protection.
    UVA causes skin aging and skin cancer...not visual sunburn.

    Recommend sunscreens labeled broad-spectrum. These contain UVA blockers such as avobenzone, zinc oxide, and/or titanium.

    You'll now see Mexoryl SX (ecamsule) in some Anthelios sunscreens. Mexoryl SX covers some of the shorter UVA rays that are not covered by avobenzone...and it's more stable in sunlight.

    But when avobenzone is combined with octocrylene, oxybenzone, or other ingredients it's more stable and has a broader spectrum.

    Recommend zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for sensitive skin. They block UVA and UVB by sitting on top of the skin...not binding to it.

    Water resistance ratings refer to how long the product is effective during swimming, heavy sweating, etc.

    Explain to patients that a product labeled "water-resistant" lasts about 40 mins in water...and a "very water-resistant" product lasts about 80 mins.

    Proper application is key. Instruct people to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before sun exposure...and reapply at least every 2 hours.

    Emphasize applying enough...about 1/2 to one teaspoon per body part (leg, arm, back, face, etc)...or about 1 ounce for the full body. Applying only half the amount will give only half the protection.

    Advise avoiding sunscreen/insect repellent combos. Suggest using separate products because the sunscreen needs to be applied more often than the repellent. Advise patients to apply the sunscreen first, then the repellent.

    There are new ways to help you prevent the kind of damage to your skin that can cause not only wrinkles, but also skin cancer, which is the second most common form of cancer in the United States.

    • Use skin care products with UVA/UVB and broad spectrum protection. Before going outside, apply sun-resistant skin care products such as body wash, makeup, and lip balm. Use sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) that contains a broad spectrum protection ingredient such as oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, avobenzone, ecamsule, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

    • Buy clothing with UVA/UVB protection. Everyone knows that the more you cover up, the less chance you have of damaging your skin. But did you know that you can get additional protection by choosing clothes made from fabrics that reflect ultraviolet light? These fashions, from bathing suits to sweatsuits, come with a label that states the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of the clothes. The higher the UPF, the more protection you receive.

    • Add UPF to your own clothes. Special laundry additives are available that apply sun protection to your clothes for up to 20 washings. You can find more information about additives and purchase them online.

    • Choose sun-resistant accessories. While you are outside, wear sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVB rays and at least 95 percent of UVA rays. Select a sun hat made with UPF fabric. Take an umbrella with you, even when it’s not raining.

    * Tune in tomorrow for Sun Allergies!

    Deepen your understanding of "medical malpractice"...


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