As summer winds down and we use any excuse we can to get out in the sun, it’s important we don’t let our desire to perfect our tans leave us hiding under huge straw hats, lathering aloe on sunburned skin. Though only 5% of the sun’s UV rays will be to blame for blistered shoulders and peeling noses, a simple layer of sunscreen could prevent the aftermath of a sunburn, some of which isn’t experienced for years and years after the original burn.

Almost all of the sun’s ultraviolet rays that hit the earth’s surface are UV-A. The rest, a measly 5%, are UV-B. Though UV-A rays penetrate deeply into the skin, UV-B are what cause the chemical reactions in the outermost layer of skin. These shallow chemical reactions are what cause the capillary beds to become inflamed, an immune system response to damaged skin cells. What results from these now swollen cells is a the production of melanin, pigment to help block further damage. Along with melanin, the body will release different proteins to help repair the damaged skin cells by stimulating nerve endings. But, if too much damage has already occurred, the production of this melanin will result in red (sunburned) skin, and the stimulated nerve endings will only add to that too familiar burning sensation (source).

To avoid the day-later fallout of a fun day at the beach, sunscreen is the best method for protecting your skin. Along with taking into account the SUn Protection Factor (SPF), SPF 60 only allowing 3% of UV-B radiation reach the skin (source), the chemical makeup of your sunscreen can be just as important. Sunscreens with octyl methoxycinnamate and oxybenzone absorb UV-B radiation and release it as heat. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium oxide reflect and refract UV-A radiation before it is absorbed by the skin. Both are important aspects of sunblock, so the best sunscreen to purchase will have a combination of the two - an aspect that blocks, and an aspect that reflects (source).

Even if you aren’t a person who burns when exposed to too much sunlight, overexposure to ultraviolet light can lead to aging, DNA damage, and skin cancer. It should be noted that of the three most common types of skin cancer, two, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are related to sun exposure (source). Though these two type of skin cancer are rarely fatal and can be removed easily most times, a layer or two of sunscreen throughout the day can save a lot of time, money, and pain later on in life. So next time you throw together a bag for your day at the beach, grab your hat, your bathing suit, a snack to throw to the seagulls, and don’t forget your combination sunblock to reflect and absorb those harmful rays; Troy Biologicals recommends Sunscreen SunXⓇ SPF30, this combination sunblock enriched with Vitamin E and Aloe is available in a 4 oz. bottle (item#1017028) or in travel-size pouches (item#524797). Order yours today online at www.mytroybio.com or over the phone at 800.521.0445.