Boot Camp Tip of the Week - Good Health Includes Healthy Skin -

Boot Camp Tip of the Week – Good Health Includes Healthy Skin


Jul 19

Good Health Includes Healthy Skin – Use Sunscreen!
Article Written by Get You In Shape Personal Trainer, Julie McCan.

For most of our Boot Campers, being able to work out in the outdoors is a perk!  Now that we are in the midst of a typical North Texas very HOT summer you may be thinking twice about that.  Due to the heat, we always encourage you to hydrate, take your time, rest when you need to, and using a good sunscreen cannot be emphasized enough either. 

Although I would like to think that everyone is using sunscreen daily, a recent article in the  Dallas Morning News on “Save your skin: Rub on the sunscreen heavily and often” convinced me that this was a timely tip. The article states that not only are sunscreens the number one tool we have to save our skin from the sun’s damaging rays, but they could also prove to be a life saver. Unfortunately, it goes on to say that “most of us either aren’t using it, aren’t using enough or are using it the wrong way.” 

Why Sunscreens are Important

I am a huge advocate of lubing up with sunscreens to avoid getting the dreaded burn.  But, like most of us, I like getting a little color.  The truth as I discovered is “a healthy tan is an oxymoron.  A tan on your skin is a sign of damage.  It’s your body’s response to injury.  Tans aren’t made to make you look pretty; they’re to protect from further UV light damage.”  As a trainer, I try my best to help you avoid injuries due to exercise, yet some of you may be getting a kind of injury you wouldn’t attribute to the workout just because you got a little color.  If you use a good sunscreen, you won’t injure you skin either!

If that doesn’t make you think twice, maybe these dermatologist-provided numbers will.

One million:  The number of skin cancer cases diagnosed each year in the U.S.

65,000: The number of those that are melanoma.

One per hour: Deaths from Melanoma

Five: Number of years it takes for your skin to get totally back to normal after a sunburn.

20: Traditional number of years after exposure for skin cancer to develop.

12: Age by which we get 80 percent of our lifetime sun exposure

No race, nationality or skin color is immune to skin cancer.  This is important.  How often do you hear someone say, “I don’t need to use sunscreen because I tan easily” or “I don’t need to use sunscreen because have a dark complexion.” The reality is that other people besides those of us with fair skin, blonde and blue eyes or those that are freckled faced CAN AND DO get skin cancer.

If this has got you thinking about changing your habits as it relates to your use (or limited use) of sunscreens, make sure you do the following:

  • Use LOTS!  A shot glass worth is what you should aim for to cover all exposed areas.  Think ears, toes, and the place where your tank top meets your underarm.
  • Nothing is waterproof or has “all day protection” you should apply every 2 hours at a minimum.
  • Use it every time you walk outside.  Get in the habit of putting it on when you dress every day.  Harmful rays hit you when you take a walk, go to lunch, or walk to your car.

However, before you go out and buy what you think is a good sunscreen, read on to find out…

What Sunscreens are the Best

A recent sunscreen guide published by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) rated 1400 sunscreens, sunblocks, lip balms and on its ability to truly protect ourselves against damage.  According to the latest science, sunscreen likely protects against only one of three kinds of skin cancer, and not against melanoma, the deadliest form. Melanoma accounts for just 3 to 4 percent of all skin cancers but is responsible for 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths.”  They have provided these protective steps you can take.

If you already have sunscreen, check out their guide to see how yours is rated.  You can also use the guide to find out which ones they rate as the best and why.

However, you can also use these helpful tips the EWG provided and get used to what to look for in a good sunscreen the next time you shop for one. 

1. Quick tips for a good sunscreen. (We always encourage you to read your food labels; now start looking at your sunscreen product labels as well.)

Ingredients Oxybenzone
Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
Added insect repellent
Titanium dioxide
Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX
Products Sprays
SPF above 50+
Broad-spectrum protection
Water-resistant for beach, pool & exercise
SPF 30+ for beach & pool

2. But first things first – do these before applying sunscreen.

The best defenses against getting too much harmful UV radiation are protective clothes, shade and timing. Check out checklist:

Don’t get burned.
Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!

Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.

Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.

Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.

Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

3. Now put on sunscreen – here are the essentials, beyond the quick tips.

Some sunscreens prevent sunburn but not other types of skin damage. Make sure yours provides broad-spectrum protection and follow our other tips for better protection.

Don’t be fooled by a label that boasts of high SPF. Anything higher than “SPF 50+” can tempt you to stay in the sun too long, suppressing sunburn but not other kinds of skin damage. FDA says these numbers are misleading. Stick to SPF 15-50+, reapply often and pick a product based on your own skin, time planned outside, shade and cloud cover.

News about Vitamin A. Eating vitamin A-laden vegetables is good for you, but spreading vitamin A on the skin may not be. New government data show that tumors and lesions develop sooner on skin coated with vitamin A-laced creams. Vitamin A, listed as “retinyl palmitate” on the ingredient label, is in 41 percent of sunscreens. Avoid them.

Ingredients matter. Avoid the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body. Look for active ingredients zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. These substances protect skin from harmful UVA radiation and remain on the skin, with little if any penetrating into the body. Also, skip sunscreens with insect repellent – if you need bug spray, buy it separately and apply it first.

Pick a good sunscreen. EWG’s sunscreen database rates the safety and efficacy of about 1,400 products with SPF, including about 500 sunscreens for beach and sports. We give high ratings to brands that provide broad-spectrum, long-lasting protection with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns when the body absorbs them

Pick a good sunscreen. EWG’s sunscreen database rates the safety and efficacy of about 1,400 products with SPF, including about 500 sunscreens for beach and sports. We give high ratings to brands that provide broad-spectrum, long-lasting protection with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns when the body absorbs them.

Cream, spray or powder – and how often? Sprays and powders cloud the air with tiny particles of sunscreen that may not be safe to breathe. Choose creams instead. Reapply them often, because sunscreen chemicals break apart in the sun, wash off and rub off on towels and clothing.

Message for men: Wear sunscreen. Surveys show that 34 percent of men wear sunscreen, compared to 78 percent of women. Start using it now to reduce your cumulative lifetime exposure to damaging UV radiation.

Got your Vitamin D? Many people don’t get enough vitamin D, which skin manufactures in the presence of sunlight. Your doctor can test your level and recommend supplements or a few minutes of sun daily on your bare skin (without sunscreen).

Source:  The Dallas Morning News, Tuesday, July 6, 2010.

Source:  The Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Written by:  Julie McCan, CPT    Julie is on the team of personal trainers. Get You In Shape has is a Fitness Company in the Dallas, TX area. Coppell boot camps, Dallas boot camps, private training, 24 Day Challenge, weight loss, sports performance and nutrition are the main services of Get You In Shape.
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