Monday, May 17, 2004

the paradox of sunscreen lotions

With the mercury reading ever on an incline, I just wanted to pick up some sunscreen lotion.

Well, the market is flooded with a lot of them from all kinds of brands. I browsed through some of the brands and tried to make out what are the common ingredients they contain and how do they work.

All the brands talk of SPF (sun protecting factor). How good a sunscreen works is determined by this factor often. The higher the SPF, the better. The prices too differ according to it.

The prices of those with SPF 30 onwards are audible on the day of my salary and never euphonic on month-ends.

I often feel like telling myself, “oh well, I am fair enough and being dusky is in fashion even if I get tanned”. But, I read a few articles and did my bit of hunting and realised that there is a different story to narrate.

There has been a gloomy statistics about the rising rates of skin cancer.

For a commoner like me, a sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
All the manufacturers talk about UVA and UVB. Sunscreen is supposed to work by either absorbing the sun's rays or reflecting them away from the body.

Either way, they are supposed to stop rays from burning or penetrating the skin.

UVA (A for ageing) can cause premature ageing by breaking down the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and smooth. (Gosh! My dreams of having a good skin even after 35)

UVB (B for burning) penetrate the top layer of the skin and cause sun burn and skin damage.

In the long run, both can lead to the development of skin cancers. I found out that cancers of the skin are of the types:
Squamous cell carcinoma and
Malignant melanoma

Both can be cured if detected early but malignant melanoma could be dangerous.

Parsol 1789 (also known as Avobenzone), zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the main players in any good sunscreen lotion or sun block. (If they are there, I know it is atleast reliable)

One should be especially careful to avoid midday sun exposure. Midday summer sunlight has the greatest concentration and intensity of UVB and UVA rays.

While most of them protect from the UVB rays, they are not effective enough to the UVA rays. They penetrate the skin causing the release of free radicals, which can cause damage to DNA, which can in turn cause cancer. While most sunscreens protect from UVB, there is a lot of debate on their effectiveness against UVA.

The explanation for this paradox is unknown. I conclude that it’s better to use something atleast rather than nothing at all as the intensity of the sun are ever increasing.

After reading all these, I realise the best sunscreen I use is my jacket from shopper’s stop. (That too gifted by my friend)

Tips: Do not go out in the sun.
Wear full sleeves.
Smile! All of us will die someday.


Anonymous said...

Dhupa meh nikala na karo, rup kee rani
Gora rang kala na para jaye........... la la

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