The Sunscreen Squad

Sun Protective Resort Wear

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on February 9, 2010

In Australia last year, there were TV commercials running which featured beautiful, tanned model Jen Hawkins parading around in a bikini, while fashion people said “cover up from head to toe”. I am confused by this message. Cover up with what? Sunscreen? Most people don’t know how to use it properly, and beautiful UV clothing is non existent. The ads left me scratching my head.

Does anyone know where to get a beach cover up which has high UPF50+ and isn’t made for my gran?


Pregnancy and tanning beds. Please don’t.

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on January 14, 2010

I was reading some comments on a New York Times article about sun protection and one of the readers noted she was concerned about getting enough vitamin D for her unborn baby. She was using tanning beds 3 times a week to combat this problem. This is A) a useless way to get vitamin D; B) potentially hazardous to her life and C) could seriously jeopardize the health of her baby.

Why? Apart from the very real risk of skin cancer. Tanning beds emit condensed UVA radiation at around 12 times higher than what you would get from natural sunlight. Some studies have indicated that UVA in concentrated doses may lead to breakdown of folic acid, an essential vitamin for fetal brain development. Not worth the risk.

Vitamin D is derived from UVB rays. Tanning beds emit about 95% UVA. So to get a small amount of UVB, your body is subjected to a magnified dose of UVA. Not healthy.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to sunburn and hormonal brown patchiness (chloasma).

Overheating your body during pregnancy is not a great idea.

Allergic to sunlight?

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on January 10, 2010

I was talking to someone the other day who says she develops red bumps on her skin within minutes when she is in the sun. She said if she uses sunscreen it helps a lot but she still gets this rash. I told her to use a mineral sunscreen like zinc because it blocks UVA more effectively.  Like most people (including myself a couple of years back) she had no idea what I was talking about.. I wondered how widespread her condition is? This particular lady was Asian with a dark complexion.

Here is what I found out about the various types of rashes caused by sunlight or heat;

Solar Urticaria
Cause: Exposure to sunlight. Not serious.
Symptoms: Itching, redness and hives on areas of skin within minutes of exposure to sunlight. Sometimes mistaken for sunburn, but appears quicker, and goes away within a day after sun exposure is stopped.
Prevention: Use broad spectrum sunscreen (blocks UVA and UVB).

Polymorphic light eruption: Common alergic reaction to sunlight. Not serious.
Cause: Exposure to sunlight
Symptoms: Red pimples,blisters or scaly skin appears from 1-4 days after sun exposure
Prevention: Use broad spectrum sunscreen (blocks UVA and UVB).

Sensitivity caused by topical creams or medication;
Your medication may be causing a reaction on your skin when exposed to sunlight. You may be even be allergic to sunscreen. If so, try a sunscreen with zinc or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient.

Cholinergic or heat urticaria
Cause: Increase in body temperature from hot showers, exercise, spicy foods, or panic/ high stress.
Symptoms: Chronic hives
Prevention: Basically, avoid being hot. Take cool showers with mild soap and wear loose, cool clothing. Don’t have too many covers on when sleeping.

Heat rash or prickly heat syndrome
Cause: Blocked sweat glands.
Symptoms: Inflammation and rash.
Prevention: As above, keep cool wear cool clothing, take cool showers with mild soap. Avoid any unnecessary creams or powders because they will make it worse.

You should see a doctor about these rashes just to make sure they are not serious diseases like
porphyria or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Nanoparticle Zinc Sunscreens.. BEST!

Posted in beauty, nano sunscreen, nano zinc, nanotechnology, Skin care, Sun care, sunscreen by sunscreensquad on October 28, 2009

Has anyone heard doom-and-gloom stories about the potential health dangers of teeny nano particles in their sunscreen? Well I have been concerned about that too so have been keeping my eye on a study by Environmental Working Group. Their latest report says that they expected to find some nasty issues with sunscreens containing nano ingredients BUT.. they actually find that nano products are much safer than any other sunscreen, and in fact they recommend sunscreens containing nano ingredients. As well as containing less harmful ingredients, they give 20% more protection from UVA than any other sunscreen.


Close Your Window Shade! Melanoma up to 25 Times Higher in Pilots

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on October 3, 2008

A physio friend of mine told me of a study of melanoma skin cancer in pilots. I did a bit of Googling and found out that pilots’ melanoma risk is up to 25 TIMES higher! You know, it makes complete sense to think that at that altitude, above the cloud, UV radiation would be stronger…

This is a snippet of an article from a BBC story on the study:

“Farrol Kahn, director of the Aviation Health Institute, said: “One of the main factors would probably be from the radiation because pilots usually sit in the cockpit in short sleeves next to the windows”
BBC Pilots have ‘higher skin cancer risk’ Thursday, 17 February, 2000

Finally! – Sunscreen/Hand Cream by Hissyfit

Posted in beauty, hand cream, pale skin, skin cancer, Skin care, Sun care, sunscreen by sunscreensquad on October 3, 2008

Handy Work


Well who would’ve thunk? A high protection sunscreen and hand cream in one! Ahh, finally…

Hissyfit are taking sunscreen to a higher level. Go here to check out their website to see some more fantastic products.

SunSCREEN vs SunBLOCK – different..

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on August 4, 2008

It is a shockingly widespread belief that sun cream gives you a super-human sun barrier. NOT TRUE!  It is an extremely important part of our skincare routine but certainly not a license to hang out in the sun all day long under the false assumption that we are safe inside an invincible shield

Basic things to know about sun creams:

*Sunscreen and sunblock works differently. Sunscreen contains chemicals which absorb UV. Some people may have an allergic reaction to these chemical absorbers. Sunblock is a physical sun barrier which deflects the sun’s rays. Active mineral ingredients in Sunblock are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.

*SPF (Sunburn Protection Factor). The number on the label is basically a guide to the amount of protection you should have from sunburn. For example. If it takes your skin three minutes to develop a sunburn, and you apply SPF 15 (15×3=45) it will generally take you 45 minutes to develop a sunburn. Needless to say, the effectiveness of a sun cream is relative to your skin’s own natural sun tolerance, HOW MUCH YOU APPLY and to the intensity of the sun (time of day and distance from the equator).

*SPF is a measure for UVB radiation only. There is now a labeling system for the level of UVA radiation protection. Look for the stars on the label. The UK is currently using a FIVE star rating and the US is proposing to upgrade labels to include a FOUR star UVA protection rating alongside the SPF.

*Don’t skimp on the application!-The SPF coverage depends on how much of the cream is applied. Apply a liberal amount to the skin In order to achieve the effectiveness of the SPF on the label.

UVA Rays: No Longer in the Shade.

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on August 4, 2008

UVA and UVB: How they affect our skin.

Image from Ultra Violet Devices Inc. Website -

UVA are long reaching rays which are not absorbed by the ozone layer. Exposure to UVA radiation can contribute to premature skin aging and eye damage. UVA rays penetrate water, fog and clouds, so don’t be fooled by thinking you are safe from sun damage on a cloudy day! UVA rays can also penetrate glass. Take a look at the following pictures from a study on the La Roche Posay, Anthelios website. This teacher was facing her class so that the sun was shining through the window onto the left side of her face. UVA rays were penetrating the glass and damaging her skin. Look at the difference between each side of her face after 30 years!

For more information go to

Recent proposals for changes to sunscreen testing and labeling in the US will hopefully give UVA radiation the recognition it deserves.

Left: proposal for new sunscreen labeling taken from the US Food and Drug Administration website. Read more about it here:

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The Amazing Aging Effects of the Sun

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on August 4, 2008

Aging in Twins Study

Now, for those of you who think the aging effects of UV exposure is over-hyped, here is an interesting study which may change your mind..

New York plastic surgeon Darrick E. Antell, M.D. has been researching facial surgery techniques by performing the procedures on identical twins. Take a look at this example below. Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 are twin sisters before and after their facial surgery. The one on the right has a long history of sun exposure. Read more about the study at

The Good News About Skin Cancer.

Posted in sunscreen by sunscreensquad on August 4, 2008

The Cancer Council of Australia says skin cancer is an almost entirely preventable disease.

Most of the time a skin cancer is not life threatening if it is treated in time. Think of it this way; Skin is our body’s largest organ. We can’t see what is going on with other organs in our body, but we have the advantage of being able to notice many of the changes on our skin.

The following table from the US National Cancer Institute, updated 21, February 2008, shows the estimated number of new cases and deaths for each common cancer type in the US each year. It is easy to see 1) how high the rate of skin cancer diagnosis is, and 2) how low the estimated death ratio is for skin cancer patients compared to other cancer types.

Cancer Type Estimated New Cases Estimated Deaths
Bladder 68,810 14,100
Breast (Female — Male) 182,460 — 1,990 40,480 — 450
Colon and Rectal (Combined) 148,810 49,960
Endometrial 40,100 7,470
Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer 46,232 11,059
Leukemia (All) 44,270 21,710
Lung (Including Bronchus) 215,020 161,840
Melanoma 62,480 8,420
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 66,120 19,160
Pancreatic 37,680 34,290
Prostate 186,320 28,660
Skin (Nonmelanoma) >1,000,000 <1,000
Thyroid 37,340 1,590

Cancer basically starts out as an abnormal cell that divides and divides and can move or spread very quickly. Getting it sorted out as early as possible is extremely important. Here is a clip which explains what you should be aware of noticing when it comes to checking moles and freckles.

I’d just like to sit on a beach somewhere and relax…

We all need our leisure time and many of us couldn’t imagine a holiday without at some point being outside in the sun. It’s part of our life and wellbeing, right? Well so is looking after our health. We need to take precautions when we are enjoying holiday time and the outdoors. The following YouTube clip is sad and may frighten some people, but the message I would like to get across is that part of living your life to the fullest is looking after yourself and your loved ones.

Enjoy the outdoors but please be careful and use your common sense 😉

Don’t be afraid of the sun, but be aware that the sun’s rays produce UV radiation. It’s just common sense that we need to be diligent and take precautions when this radiation is in direct contact with our skin.

Simple rules to remember are:

*Stay out of the sun when it’s at its most intense- generally from 10am to 4pm.

*Do a bit of research on your sunscreen/sunblock and understand how to use it.

*Wear clothing that will protect you from the sun.

*Don’t get sunburned. Ever.

*If you are on vacation and get sunburned by accident, absolutely do not re-expose that sunburned skin to the sun.

*Keep an eye on the moles and freckles on your skin. If they change in size, colour or appearance, get yourself to a doctor that very day. Put your mind at ease. Don’t wait or be frightened because it could very likely be nothing serious, or it could be that your actions result in removal of an early threat.