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.


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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