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Happy First Day of Summer!

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Since Mo has DM, skin care and sun protection are topics near and dear to us. Click here for more info on DM.

DM can cause photosensitivity (adverse reactions to sun exposure). Added bonus: the medications used to treat DM can cause photosensitivity too. What the #*@$!!!

Click here for a great article about photosensitivity from SkinCancer.org!

Broad Spectrum sunscreens are recommended for everyone, but the kind of UVA/UVB sunscreen is even more important to DM patients. Click here for a full explanation of the difference between UVA & UVB. Below is a selection of the explanation that shows a list of skin-saving sunscreen ingredients:

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and UV Radiation

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Since the advent of modern sunscreens, a sunscreen’s efficacy has been measured by its sun protection factor, or SPF. SPF is not an amount of protection per se. Rather, it indicates how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin when using a sunscreen, compared to how long skin would take to redden without the product. For instance, someone using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will take 15 times longer to redden than without the sunscreen. An SPF 15 sunscreen screens 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays; SPF 30 protects against 97 percent; and SPF 50, 98 percent. The Skin Cancer Foundation maintains that SPFs of 15 or higher are necessary for adequate protection.

Sunscreen Ingredients

Since both UVA and UVB are harmful, you need protection from both kinds of rays. To make sure you’re getting effective UVA as well as UVB coverage, look for a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, plus some combination of the following UVA-screening ingredients: stabilized a avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. You may see the phrases multi spectrum, broad spectrum or UVA/UVB protection on sunscreen labels, and these all indicate that some UVA protection is provided. However, because there is no consensus on how much protection these terms indicate, such phrases may not be entirely meaningful.

There are currently 17 active ingredients approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens. These filters fall into two broad categories: chemical and physical. Most UV filters are chemical: They form a thin, protective film on the surface of the skin and absorb the UV radiation before it penetrates the skin. The physical sunscreens are insoluble particles that reflect UV away from the skin. Most sunscreens contain a mixture of chemical and physical active ingredients.

FDA-Approved Sunscreens
Active Ingredient/UV Filter Name Range Covered
UVA1: 340-400 nm
UVA2: 320-340 nm
UVB: 290-320 nm
Chemical Absorbers:
Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) UVB
Avobenzone UVA1
Cinoxate UVB
Dioxybenzone UVB, UVA2
Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) UVA2
Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimiazole Sulfonic Acid) UVB
Homosalate UVB
Meradimate (Menthyl Anthranilate) UVA2
Octocrylene UVB
Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate) UVB
Octisalate ( Octyl Salicylate) UVB
Oxybenzone UVB, UVA2
Padimate O UVB
Sulisobenzone UVB, UVA2
Trolamine Salicylate UVB
Physical Filters:
Titanium Dioxide UVB, UVA2
Zinc Oxide UVB,UVA2, UVA1

If you follow our comprehensive Prevention Guidelines, you can enjoy yourself outdoors while staying protected from both UVA and UVB year-round, whatever the weather, wherever your locale.

Prevention Guidelines

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Usa a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day (DM patients: it is recommended to use no less than SPF 30, SPF 50, 70, or even 100 is even more preferred). For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (again, double this for DM).
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. (Reapply often, keep that barrier intact!)
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

 

Mo & I tend to look for sunscreens that have the physical blockers titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. We like Honest SPF 30, click here, or thinksport Livestrong SPF 30, click here, or types available at Whole Foods (remember to always read those ingredient lists)!

Click here for WebMD’s recommendations for choosing a sunscreen and tips for applying! And click here for Whole Food’s article about their products as well as how antioxidants, topicals, and omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your skin.

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