Or How to Avoid Skin Cancer
While I was walking from the car yesterday, I saw a girl from my ward who was wearing her swimsuit. I could tell that she had been wearing it for a long time because of the dark red colour covering all of her revealed skin. Not only is that not appealing or comfortable but it is also dangerous. As we age, our skin takes a lot of abuse. Whether you notice it or not, it is almost constantly exposed to the sun. The sunlight damages and ages the appearance of your skin and can make someone in their 30s or 40s appear much older than they actually are if they are not careful.
To avoid this, I have gotten into the habit of using sun block, not just when I am going to be spending a long time outside or in the pool, but whenever I see blue sky. Each morning, I look out the window and if I see blue I know it’s time to apply sun block. Even when it’s cold and especially when the ground is covered in snow (snow reflects the light enough to give passers by a sunburn).
While I usually apply the sun lotion to whatever skin will be showing that day, if I need to be fast I go for two key places. My face, especially my cheeks and nose, and the backs of my hands. We all know that skin on your hands can reveal age even if your face does not, and when you drive, ride a bike or use your hands outside, they often stay propped directly in the sun. A little sunscreen can save your hands from early aging.
Recently, renewed effort has been made to study sun lotions and the ingredients used to make them. These studies, released by the Environmental Working Group suggest that (1) the SPF numbers listed on the bottles are not accurate, (2) the chemicals in many sun lotions cause hormone problems, (3) no expiration dates are listed on sun lotion containers and (4) the Vitamin A found in some sun lotions actually speeds the aging of skin. While the Personal Care Products Council says that these ideas are both hyped up and incorrect, it is worth keeping both sides of the story in your mind when choosing a sun lotion. The EWG provides a list of safe alternatives to the popular commercial sun lotions, on their website. I personally have switched to Burt’s Bees sunscreen. Mostly because I don’t trust government groups that put chemicals in our drinking water and keep lead in our cosmetics…but I suppose it’s up to you to decide.
The point is, wear whatever sun lotion you wear on a very regular basis and you won’t be sorry in twenty years.
Both sides of the sunscreen debate: