Emma’s Health Talk: May 2019

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The Coastal Insider

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

The sun here in South Carolina seems closer and hotter to us than it is further North; a burn is likely to happen within minutes of exposure and we all know what the results are once we get burned.

The bigger problem to me is the 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.

Is it common knowledge that whatever we slather on our skin, (the largest organ of our bodies) is processed through the blood?  But what about the question of absorption?

That leaves us with an unanswered question: how does it 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 since so much controversy exists. None of us want to burn— so knowing the product to use is key. Other beneficial ways of protecting our skin lie in just 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 Market Common.

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