Friday, August 8, 2008

More on Sunscreen

Since sunscreen is important to your long-term health, I am sharing a formula for how much sunscreen to use. A couple of years ago, I published this in my Abundantly Green newsletter that we give each week to our CSA members and Poulsbo Farmers Market customers and browsers.

I posted July 6, 2008 on the topic, and received a rather interesting comment that the person's doctor recommended being in the sun without sunscreen: "Just got a lecture from my gynecologist about the need for me to spend 20 minutes a day in the sun without any sun protection -- she says she's dealing with clients with vitamin D deficiencies." The comment is longer, and you should read it for yourself. I am doing this, but my vitamin D has not been questioned or tested lately or ever.

Back to slathering oneself with sunscreen: I don't know much about this, but others claim to, and so with that caveat, here it is:

Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to their skin. If you put on sunscreen as you would a moisturizer, you are not protected. To reach the SPF factor advertised on the label you need to apply it thickly, says WebMD.

But what does “thickly” mean? Paul and Gail Gourley in their book (which is now out of print, so ask at your library) Protect Your Life in the Sun spell it out:

Body area --- Lotion application in teaspoons
face and neck --- child 1/2 --- adult 1
one arm and hand --- child 1/2 --- adult 1
back and shoulders --- child 1 --- adult 2
stomach and chest --- child 1 --- adult 2
one leg and foot --- child 3/4 --- adult 2

I sunburn easily. I found that every year I needed to apply more sunscreen to avoid burning. Using the amounts suggested by the Gourleys, I found I could get enough on my skin that I don't burn.

Even when I am wearing sandals with long pants I put sunscreen on my feet. I have burned the top of my feet several times. Also, when driving, I slather a lot of sunscreen on my arms, hands, and face because they get a concentrated amount of sun, often, through the windows. Even tinted windows, I have learned, so not provide sun protection.

My other post on July 6, 2008, also lists companies that sell sun protection clothes online.

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