This sunscreen blog will help you stay up to date on news about sunscreen, the dangers and benefits of sunlight and related health matters...
Having spoken out about the dangers of using the variety of chemicals one gets lured into using on our scalp by dying our hair, it's interesting to note that some of the best detectives for spotting cancer are your hairdressers. Think about it - they're the ones who get to inspect your scalp quite intimately as they work with your hair while washing, dying, cutting or drying.
It is most common to get skin cancers where people forget to cover up or apply their sunscreen, like the head, ears and the back of the neck. Detecting something on your own scalp is really difficult as of course you can't ordinarily see something. Undetected, these cancers can then grow or spread quite alarmingly before anything is found. If it's actually a melanoma, the result can be deadly.
In fact, the statistics about survival from melanomas on the scalp versus elsewhere on the body are alarming enough to motivate for an education program with hair professionals. I for one, will wholeheartedly support this.
The Skin Cancer Foundation have constructed a fun quiz to help you to establish which skin type you have. This is with respect to how your skin copes with being exposed to the sun's UV rays and not whether you have a dry, oily or mixed skin type.
Once you understand how well your skin copes with the sun, you will be able to manage your time outdoors a whole lot more effectively with respect to potential sun damage. There is a very thin line between being outdoors in the sunshine and embracing the health benefits of the sun's UVB rays that allow you to create Vitamin D, and actually getting sun burnt! The latter is something to avoid no matter what skin type you are as we are all open to skin cancer risk once we allow our skin to get burnt.
So take time to have a look at this quiz, or watch this video.
The Skin Cancer Foundation commented recently on a JAMA Dermatology study on “International Prevalence of Indoor Tanning". The global result of "the number of skin cancer cases due to tanning being higher than the number of lung cancer cases due to smoking" is reflected in the same way in the USA. Even though in some States they have successfully banned teenagers from tanning salons it's too soon to see any improvements. The Skin Cancer Foundation further reported that "in the USA alone, 419,254 cases of skin cancer can be attributed to indoor tanning. Out of this number, 6,199 are melanoma cases."
This is apparently the first time a 'global' assessment has been done of just how prevalent indoor tanning actually is. Altogether there were 88 study groups, involving 406,696 participants that were spread over 3 main locations - the USA and Canada; Northern and Western Europe; and Australia.
Slowly but surely the message surely has to reach people of all ages and all skin types, that tanning in salons is really not a healthy habit!
Individuals of all ages and skin tones should be made more aware of the dangers of the sun's UV rays and wear sunscreen daily to prevent damage to their skin. This damage not only increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers but melanoma skin cancer too.
This is the view of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), who have aligned with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in requesting for more information to be made available to the general public about UV exposure and the risks related to it.
I was very surprised to learn in a Harris Interactive survey report, just how many Americans are unaware of the dangers of the sun's UV rays. One example - 38% said that they believed the main time to wear sunscreen was on cloudy days. However, more alarming to me is that even when close friends or family are struck with a life threatening melanoma skin cancer, many people and carry on being careless in the sun, regardless of the life lesson at hand, will still believe that "it won't happen to me".
Applying some due diligence to sun care, without being paranoid, can be relatively easy. In fact, it's so beneficial to be able to embrace the sun's wonderful energies, if you just know how to manage your time in the sun without getting burnt.
Sunscreens can contain any number of what I believe are toxic ingredients worth avoiding - liquid paraffin, phenoxyethanol, sodium laurel sulphate, propylene glycol, fragrances, artificial colours, PEG emulsifying waxes, dioxane and quite commonly, parabens.
When it comes to the parabens, there have been a number of studies done in the last 2 decades illustrating the need to look closer at the potential link to breast cancer. Parabens possess oestrogen properties, which is known to play a central role in the development, growth and progression of breast cancer.
Parabens in deodorants were thought to be a main cause, but have also been seen to be present in women who have never used underarm products. In fact, parabens were detected in the majority of the breast tissue samples taken by the Oncology Dept at the University of Reading of 40 women studied with breast cancer. "But this cannot be taken to imply that they actually caused breast cancer" said Dr Philippa Darbre. However, she noted that "the fact that parabens were present in so many of the breast tissue samples does justify further investigation".
A favourite proactive cancer site of mine is Cancer Active. Started by a father after losing his daughter to skin cancer, it is now considered Britain´s Number 1 Complementary and Integrative cancer charity. They cover both orthodox medicine and complementary cancer treatments that 'may increase your survival and even prevent a cancer returning'.
The latest research is made available in layman's language articles, where their main objective is to 'quite simply, help you increase your personal odds of beating cancer.'
Preventing skin cancer is a key, focussed message of theirs and they have a Sun Safe list of '15 ways to save your skin'. Amongst this list, I like the fact that they don't just tell you to wear sunscreen, they tell you look at the ingredients and choose non-toxic sunscreens. I do think they could be a little more detailed and specific here though.
Skin cancer being the second most common form of cancer in the UK, and non-melanoma skin cancer affecting 57,000 new people a year in the UK and over a million in the USA, makes their contribution increasingly important.
Looking after this valuable protective skin of ours should now be a high priority.
I've just discovered a UV app that has been created by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) together with the UK's National Meteorological Office. It aims to provide free daily UV forecasts to the general public out there and have already made it available to over 10,000 locations worldwide they claim.
In their words, 'The UV forecast identifies the peak strength of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun at a particular place on a particular day.' Key message from this professional organisation is that 'UV rays can cause damage to the skin and can cause sunburn – which may lead to skin cancer.' The overriding message is to look after yourself and this empowering tool allows you to do just that.
This BAD company is everything BUT bad! An acronym for British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), it is a central association of practising UK dermatologists. Through voluntary participation, they collectively aim to "continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease", hence their slogan ‘Healthy Skin for All’. Through sharing their knowledge and providing proactive programs, they focus on early detection of skin cancer, as well as prevention and improved recovery.
The Met Office claims to be "the most accurate and reliable weather information on TV and radio, in print, and online". Whether this is globally or locally true it does not say… The end result is well worth looking at, especially if in the UK!
I just read another article about new scientific evidence that the sun can help our bodies to heal. Get sun exposure right and your heart may thank you
The more we learn about the benefits of Vitamin D and careful, managed exposure to the sun, the more we realise just how wonderful the sun actually is!
Also, we realise how amazing our bodies are in the way that they can look after themselves and heal themselves if we give them a chance. Science is coming round more and more to realise this I think.
So, make sure to embrace the wonderful benefits of the sun in a balanced and sensible manner.
The Skin Cancer Foundation has recently published an article called 5 Tips for Repairing Sun Damage.
I am always very keen to support them and read their publications with interest. However, I really do have to disagree with a couple of their tips here.
Repairing those brown sun spots (solar lentigos) can be done using wonderful natural, non-chemical methods like using Kigelia and Aloe Ferox (found in all of sunumbra's sunscreens as their key foundation botanicals).
Chemical based exfoliation can also be done using natural non-chemical based ingredients like oats or Dead Sea salts.
Cindi Eggemeyer, a teacher from Festus, Missouri, was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 45. She shares her experience actively with students, trying to persuade them that tanning, especially indoor tanning, is something not to dismiss too lightly as a potential health hazard.
Cindi speaks about her mother lecturing her for years as a youngster, but she ignored her advice and continued to lay out in the sun as well as use tanning beds. She tells us that her mother is" 71 years old and looks 60 because she didn’t get any sun. I have premature aging and wrinkles already and I’m only 45. Please listen to your parents.”
Aiming to reach teenagers with the right message, The Skin Cancer Foundation has a free, interactive Sun Smart U education program, aimed at students in grades 6-12. It includes a lesson plan complete with a true/false activity; a quiz to help students identify their skin type; real-life video segments of a young woman with melanoma; and an animation explaining sun-smart safety tips to kids.
Perhaps what is missing, is a message about how wonderful the sun can be - if managed in a way that you don't get burnt? Although Cindi has a hard message to convey, obtaining enough Vitamin D through clever exposure to the sun's UVB rays, she can help her body to resist the melanoma naturally.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, "between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will be diagnosed with either a BCC or an SCC at least once". Facts about non-melanoma skin cancers are explained for both basel cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
The important take home message is that most of these non-melanoma skin cancers are preventable, especially if conscious about protecting areas such as the ears, nose and lips. Plus the warning signs should NOT be ignored, thinking they will go away.
Although melanoma takes centre stage when it come to being deadly or not, the non-melanoma skin cancers can be terribly disfiguring and if neglected completely, even deadly.
Natural News have a delightful article on how Mother Nature has a cure for everything if you just look for it. It also has the ability to boost our immunity systems and prevent disease.
Acknowledging the capability of the human body to absorb the goodness contained within organic fruits and vegetables is the basis for healing and living a healthy life. Nutritionists and Naturopathic Physicians will tell you this across the globe. Given the correct fuel, the body will fire "on all cylinders", like a well tuned machine.
In the world of sunscreens, if is possible to find some that are not only free of toxic chemicals, but contain only natural and organic ingredients, to the extent that you could even eat it! Looking to nature for solutions - one of my favourites - there are so many wonderful botanical ingredients to be found, that provide sun protective qualities as well as a skin health boost. There's no need for harmful chemicals in your sunscreen.
Besides Natural News's advice in "tracking the truth" and learning to focus on eating and drinking healthily, make sure to apply this knowledge to your choice of sunscreen too.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed the recent surge in the number of mobile apps available today related to dermatology. A senior author of the study and Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine - Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH - observed that although the information available has great benefits, people must also be cautioned.
This ability to access information related to dermatology so readily has enabled people to diagnose many different skin diseases affecting themselves or others. Although this is wonderful knowledge to have, the extent of self diagnosis and treatment is probably worth checking out further with a medical expert.
"This availability of information will require some caution by users, but it also opens up new opportunities," DR Dellavalle said. "I think most apps are generally safe right now, but I would not rely solely on them. I would cross-reference them with other apps, other people and with your doctor."
In this information age where we have do's and don'ts fired at us from all directions every day, sometimes contradicting and definitely confusing overall, it is possibly worth noting what the various experts avoid when it comes to food choices. Mirrors the cosmetics industry where so many harmful ingredients are used in products.
A report by Odyssey Magazine lists the following various experts and their examples for avoidance:
1.Endocrinologist: Canned Tomatoes
"The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food."
2.Farmer: Corn-Fed Beef.
Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feeding their animals corn and soybeans fatten up the animals faster for slaughter but provide a lot less nutrition for us. grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease.
3.Toxicologist: Microwave Popcorn.
Chemicals in the lining of the bags, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are part of a compound class linked to infertility in humans. Microwaving vaporises the chemicals which migrate into your popcorn and accumulate and stay in your body for years.
4.Farm Director: Nonorganic Potatoes.
Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. Potatoes are treated with fungicides during the growing season, then with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. Even after they’re dug up, they are treated again to prevent them from sprouting. Potato farmers won't eat their own potatoes - they grow their own on a separate plot!
5.Fisheries Expert: Farmed Salmon.
Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. The result is farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.
6.Cancer Researcher: Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones.
Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of an insulin-like growth factor in milk.
7.Biotech Specialist: Conventional GMO Unfermented Soy.
Genetically engineered food is a cause of great concern due to the manipulation of DNA and genetic code including transfers from one species to another. Since almost 90% of soy in the world is genetically modified, long-term health problems can result, especially with hormonal balance and even cancer.
8.Organic-Foods Expert: Conventional Apples.
Believing that apples would win a "most doused in pesticides contest” due to their high needs for pesticides due to low resistance.
Humans derive most of our vitamin D from the action of the sun's UVB rays in our skin. However, when you look into 'typical' Western lifestyles with a predominant focus on indoor daily activities rather than outdoor, sun exposure is mostly insufficient for adequate vitamin D creation.
For this reason, dietary intake becomes very important. Based on this, 2 Swiss researchers recently published a review of their studies on the vitamin D content of various protein food groups.
This included vitamin D content in red meat and poultry, eggs, dairy products and fish. The authors concluded that “because recommendations for vitamin D intake have recently been increased considerably, the possibility to cover these requirements with foodstuffs, is even more difficult.”
So perhaps it is now time to fortify more foods with vitamin D? It seems that many people will need to get vitamin D into their diet or they will just not get enough. Eggs, cereals, breads, canned vegetables, fast foods, yogurt and cheese could all be fortified with Vitamin D.
Legislation does its best, but actually falls way short when it comes to chemicals associated with cancer and endocrine disruption. Cosmetics companies can put just about anything in their products actually.
However, many companies have taken the responsible step of reformulating products containing formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, like DMDM Hydantoin, and the four parabens linked to endocrine disruption.
EWG are highlighting 2 companies of significant standing - Revlon and L'Oreal - who are putting their customers at risk in their continual use of these specific chemicals. They seem to think it's unnecessary to withdraw their use of them.
EWG have put together a petition appealing to them to remove these chemicals and any others deemed to be dangerous, from their products.
A new research project in Australia, home to the highest skin cancer incidences in the world, aims to "establish an understanding of the amount of sun people are exposing themselves to and then to see if their behaviour needs to be modified."
The real essence of this is to get to understand if people should seek more sunlight, or look to Vit D supplementation.
Researchers from the Nencki Institute in Warsaw have come up with an intriguing and exciting research program that's about deceiving brain tumours and changing malignant gliomas into benign forms. This is of great interest to me as melanoma sufferers can end up fighting brain tumours if their fight against the spread of the cancer doesn't succeed.
Their findings have resulted in the Nencki researcher team developing small molecules, or short peptides, that interfere with the binding of the tumorous cells (CSF2 proteins) to the appropriate receptors on microglial cells. What this actually means is that the signal coming from the tumorous cells gets blocked, which prevents the microglia from "re-programming" itself.
These developed molecules, together with all relevant genetic tools, have been patented internationally. Work has started in both preclinical and clinical trials.
What is important for the Nencki researchers is that these molecules target only the one fragment of the signalling pathway that functions between the cells of the malignant tumour and the microglia. This will then guarantee that no other functions of the organism will be affected.
"Our research is investigative in nature and above all aims to explain why and how tumours develop. We conducted our research mostly on experimental models, mouse glioma cells or human glioma cells growing in mice. Therefore the road to develop drugs and therapies limiting the invasiveness of gliomas in human is still very long. Luckily we already discovered the molecule that is worth targeting," sums up Prof. Kamińska.
After South America in Peru and West Africa in Burkina Faso, Greentech has now started a cooperation project with the university in Madagascar. Greentech has equipped the University with a complete research laboratory, specifically for the development of new cosmetic active compounds. This has included all necessary equipment for plant extraction and analytical control of these cosmetic ingredients.
The new network GreenMadag has been especially created for the development of new actives from their local flora rich in medicinal applications. In addition to this there is an educational investment into the creation of competent technicians, which is already under way.
The first development steps of cosmetic ingredients and extraction assays will be done in this local GreenMadag laboratory, but any follow-up scale-up phases will be performed in Greentech’s laboratory.
This extends an added value service offering to the local industry producing raw materials, which is always great for keeping things local. Not to mention the new employment for engineers and technicians in Madagascar and thus new income for local communities.
From its creation, Greentech was active in the preservation of rare or threatened species by developing in vitro cultures and, ever since, has remained engaged in the preservation of the world's plant resources. I shall watch their progress with this latest venture with great interest!
Ashland Speciality Ingredients has recently announced that they are looking to include technology first looked at over 30 years ago by the FDA in the USA. In attempting to improve their offerings to the sunscreen industry "in response to new demands", they have decided to include homosalate in their range of broad-spectrum UV formulation solutions.
This astounds me. Not only because I really expected to read about them including one of the many really innovative, healthier natural sunscreen ingredient options being researched these days. BUT because they have chosen to use something that appears to be a very unhealthy choice? According to the Skindeep database of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) "Homosalate is a common sunscreen ingredient. Research indicates it is a weak hormone disruptor, and sunlight breaks down the chemical into harmful byproducts."
I have to ask how this is seen as a "response to demands" in the suncare industry? What about the increasing demand for healthier, non-toxic sunscreen ingredients?