5 Things You May Not Know About Sun Protection
Men tend to have a love/hate relationship with the sun – they love to bask in it, they hate to be bugged about it. Well it turns out your mom (and the medical and scientific communities) were on to something all these years. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays have been proven to cause deep wrinkles, pre-mature aging and even that nasty form of skin cancer called melanoma, which quite frankly, can be deadly if ignored. It’s a high price to pay for those bronzed biceps and pecs.
In fact, you may be unaware of just how prominent skin cancer is. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer – combined. And to no surprise of most moms, men experience the highest rates of skin cancer because so many simply refuse to slather on sunscreen.
Your mom may have been the first to nag you about sunscreen, but she likely didn’t divulge these nitty gritty facts about sun protection:
All sunscreens are not created equal – There seems to be a sunscreen for every age, activity, skin type and perspiration level. That’s going change soon. The FDA recently announced stricter sunscreen rulings, cracking down on misleading marketing tactics. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you’ll see in the next year or two:
- Sunscreens that don’t protect against both UVA and UVB rays, and have an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, will need to have the following warning label: "This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging."
- Only sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB can be labeled “broad spectrum.” (This is what you should be aiming for!)
- “Waterproof” and “sweatproof” will be a thing of the past. The FDA calls these labels “exaggerations of performance.” A sunscreen may claim it’s “water resistant” if it offers 40 or 80 minutes of protection, based on standard testing.
- The FDA is capping the highest SPF value at 50, unless a company can provide scientific results supporting a higher number.
- Sunscreens can’t claim to provide more than two hours of protection without reapplication.
One sunscreen application isn’t enough – Applying sunscreen once in the morning doesn’t cut it. If you are going to be exposed to sunlight throughout the day, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., you need to reapply every couple of hours.
Tanning booths can be worse than actual sunlight – Don’t just stay out of the sun. Stay very, very far away from tanning booths. Numerous studies link indoor tanning to early melanoma (remember, that deadly form of skin cancer). Indoor tanning is actually so dangerous that efforts are underway to make it illegal to minors. Young Brits are already banned from the booths. Even Snooki and the rest of the Jersey Shore gang are switching to spray tanning.
You can get burned by the Earth – Well, sort of. The sun alone doesn’t cause damage while you are outside. In addition to the rays beating directly on your skin, the sun reflects off sand, water, concrete, pavement and even snow to cause double the damage.
You need to wear sunscreen all year round – Sunscreen isn’t a summer fad. You need broad spectrum sun protection all year round, even when it’s cold. We recommend you slather on an SPF 30 mineral sunscreen (like zinc oxide) every day.
Learn more about natural mineral blockers: RA for Men's EnviroProtect. This moisturizing cream compliments your sun protection regimen and contains sun supportive ingredients.