The Sunscreen Squad

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.

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

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.