Since summer is upon us and a lot of people suffer from conditions related to excessive sun exposure every year, it is important to know about the truths and myths associated with sun burn or sun exposure related skin conditions and how to avoid them. Dr Oz in a recent episode of his show, detailed the various aspects of sun exposure and the myths associated to them. Dr Elizabeth Tanzi, MD and a board certified dermatologist was a guest on the show and helped explain some of the major concerns regarding the myths surrounding sun exposure.
Dr Oz asked the audience to participate in answering questions on sun exposure and explained later if that was a myth or reality.
Truth or Myth: Really High SPF’s Protect Your Skin Better?
That was the first question, audience was undecided and the correct answer was ‘myth’. Dr Tanzi explained, SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’ and it refers to its ability to block sun’s harmful rays. In real terms, that means a SPF 15 would allow a person to be in the sun without a burn for a length of time that should be 15 times more than being without it. However, there is no direct relationship between the SPF and the amount of sun protection we are getting. She revealed that SPF 15 can block out almost 93% of sun’s harmful rays, while that does not increase much as we increase the SPF rating beyond SPF 30. Therefore any increase in SPF beyond 30 only adds a minimal increase in sun protection.
Truth or Myth: The Biggest Mistake People Make With Sunscreen Is Insufficient Application?
The audience chose ‘truth’ as answer and that was indeed the right answer. As Dr Tanzi described, most people don’t apply the recommended amount of sunscreen on their face or body. The recommended amount is about a teaspoonful of sunscreen on the face and neck and a full shot glass of sunscreen for the entire body – head to toe. Most people apply only a quarter or half of what is recommended and therefore does not get the effective sun protection that is promised on the label.
Truth or Myth: Incidental Sun Exposure Contributes To More Long-term Skin Damage Than Intentional Tanning?
The audience was able to pick the correct answer which was “truth”. Dr Tanzi explained that incidental sun exposure is what most of us get when going about our daily activities and we are not even aware of it. Incidental exposure amounts to almost 80% of the total sun exposure a person gets in a life time. The bad thing is, it accumulates and damages the skin over time. Dr Oz showed a picture of a person who is a truck driver by profession and gets his left side of the face exposed to sun more than the right side. His face clearly developed more skin damage and wrinkles on the left as compared to the right side. Incidental exposure could be that powerful.
Susan, a volunteer on the show agreed to be part of an experiment Dr Oz talked about. She was fitted with a device to carry around while doing her normal weekend activities. The device was designed to detect and record her weekend UV radiation exposure and what it found was an astonishingly high number that matches an equivalent of two hours at the beach without sunscreen. That is an example of incidental exposure one can get just on the weekend.
Dr. Oz: What is the best way to prevent Incidental Sun Exposure?
Ofcourse, sunscreen. However, most people apply sunscreen diligently when they are going for an intentional sun exposure and tend to ignore it during normal day to day activities that can get them incidental exposure. Dr Tanzi recommended using a sunscreen in the morning that would prevent incidental sun exposure throughout the day.
She recommended using Eucerin’s daily protection face lotion. This lotion is very light and non-greasy and it is a two in one formulation that combines a moisturizer with a broad spectrum sunscreen. She recommended using it on face, neck chest and hands because those are the areas that gets most incidental exposure. As a dermatologist she considers this lotion appropriate for people with sensitive skin as the sunscreen in it is a physical block, meaning it would deflect away the sun from the skin.