Emma’s Health Talk: Sunscreen

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The Coastal Insider

Is It Safe For Our Skin?

by Emma Ware

When it’s May in the South, we have, for the most part, already put away our winter clothes and are happily sporting flip flops, shorts, and tank tops, (at least some of us are). 

Because it’s warmer here than in the North, getting a sunburn happens fast— often within minutes. So what is one to do? 

There’s been great controversy over using sunscreen. So many studies have been done on both sides of the issue, leaving us unsure who or what to believe. I can’t say I’m an expert on the subject, but what I can share with you is how our wonderful bodies are complexly designed to accept, or reject what we subject it to.

What we put on our skin, the largest organ of our bodies, is processed through the blood. And how does what’s absorbed through the skin, affect us long-term?

After researching much information, I came upon an article that I found helpful in determining how I make my choices on what to put on my skin. I hope it helps all of you in making your decision to use a product produced to protect you from burning. The website is from a skin care company. I’m not promoting their products— just the information. The address is www.annmariehianni.com and it is titled, “How much does our skin actually absorb?” by Aubrey Wallace.

This is what I found helpful:

Skin absorbs what we put on it from transdermal medications to creams to smooth and soften etc. Studies have found linalool in the bloodstream of people regularly using lavender essential oil topically, as well as lead in the bodies of children from Oakland from playing outside in polluted air and dirt. These are just a few finds to make us wonder.

Our skin is an elimination system; we have four million sweat glands and on average shed almost nine pounds of skin every year. Our skin, liver, kidneys and lungs are always working to detoxify our bodies. So if we put products on our skin not knowing how they will be processed, do we know if the benefits are greater than the risks? 

The bigger issue is understanding the difference between absorption and penetration. Penetration is when a chemical makes it into the deeper layers of the skin while absorption is when the chemical actually makes it into the bloodstream.

My questions are: What is in the product I’m using to protect myself from UV rays that can and will burn my skin? Will the ingredients be absorbed into my bloodstream or is it penetrating deeper?  If it is, what if any harm will it do?

Learning what is in a product is our personal responsibility. None of us want to burn— so knowing the product to use is key. Other beneficial ways of protecting our skin lie in old-fashioned wisdom. Don’t stay out for more than ten minutes at a time. Wear long-sleeved shirts and a broad brimmed hat. Getting tan may be beautiful but is it worth the cost?

As with all the information out there, the best choices should be made knowing all the facts and consulting with your doctor before making that choice. 

I’d love to hear your take on this subject. Call the office at 843 997-7037 or stop and chat with us at 2798-D Howard Avenue in the Market Common

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