Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Sunscreen

I'm a transplant to Southern California. The sun does wonders for my disposition, but a recent trip to Dr. Sandra Morimoto, my dermatologist, got me wondering about what it does for my skin. So back to Morimoto I went.

"The skin is composed of multiple layers," she began. "The outmost layer functions as a mechanical barrier to outside chemicals and microbes, and prevents fluid loss. Underneath that is the epidermis, which consists of multiple layers of living keratinocyte cells. Scattered in a random pattern throughout the epidermis are the melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin pigment. They give skin its color and its ability to tan. Below the epidermis is the dermis, which contains collagen and elastin proteins. These elastic fibers are some of the first things to be destroyed by chronic sun exposure. Loss of them causes the skin to sag."

Tanning, said Morimoto, "is the skin's response to damage from ultraviolet light. You cannot tan without injuring your skin. A sunburn occurs when excess ultraviolet radiation damages cell proteins. As the cells die off, they set off an inflammatory immune response, which causes the blood vessels to dilate and become leaky. That results in redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin. Then the immune system goes into repair mode."

Ultraviolet light, she said, "consists of three bands, or wavelengths. The shortest, called UVC, is filtered by the ozone layer, and doesn't reach the earth. The middle and longest wavelengths, UVB and UVA, do make it through. UVB causes skin reddening, sunburn, and tanning. Chronic UVB exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. UVA rays, which comprise 96% of ultraviolet light, penetrate into the lower dermis and augment UVB damage in sunburning and tanning. Both UVB and UVA damage cell DNA and can cause mutation. Those damaged cells can replicate into a tumor. That's why it's important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVB and UVA."

Morimoto sought to explain sunscreen's protective action beyond the SPF numbers. "Sunscreens work in one of two ways. They are either physical blockers which block or scatter radiation the way a lead blanket would, or chemical blockers, which bind to the skin and absorb UV radiation. Most sunscreens block well in the UVB range, but are lacking in the UVA range." Morimoto preferred the physical blockers, which "block a wide range of light." Plus, they're hypoallergenic. "Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the ingredients in physical sunscreens. Micronized zinc oxide (which has smaller particles than ordinary zinc oxide) has the broadest spectrum of protection of any product on the market. And it is more translucent than regular zinc oxide, so it's more cosmetically acceptable" than a layer of white goop.

The divisions among the chemical sunscreens were legion, but Morimoto dove right in. The first division was between "those that absorb primarily UVB, and those that absorb UVA as well." A product called PABA was the first commonly used UVB blocker, "but due to its propensity for causing allergic reactions, it's rarely used." Cinnamates and salicylates tend to cause fewer reactions, and are more water-resistant to boot.

UVA-absorbing sunscreens were also divided. "Benzophenes contain Oxybenzene, which is used in 20-30 percent of sunscreens. It's a very effective UBA blocker, but it can cause dermatitis. The second UVA blocker, Parsol 1789, is the best available," but it too can cause allergic reactions.

Now it was time for the number on the bottle: SPF. "The Sun Protection Factor is a measurement of the product's ability to prevent UVB reddening. If a person normally burns after 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 would mean that the person could stay in the sun 15 times longer before burning. The numbers, however, measure only protection against UVB, not UVA. Plus, they're valid only if the person applies the sunscreen very thickly. Most people apply only a third of the correct amount. Further, many people think that SPF 30 provides double the protection of SPF 15. Actually, SPF 15 gives 93% protection; SPF 30, 96%; and SPF 50, 98%." What to use? "Use the highest number tolerated, in a form you're comfortable using. It's no good picking a high-SPF sunscreen if you don't like how it feels on your skin and you hate using it."

Morimoto offered a few parting tips, a general regimen for doing battle with the ultraviolet. "Apply a broadband-spectrum sunscreen with the highest SPF you can tolerate as thickly as you can. One ounce -- roughly enough to fill a shot glass -- is considered the amount needed to cover exposed areas. And chemical sunscreens need 15 to 30 minutes to bind to the skin before they're effective. And reapply sunscreen every two hours, even when using ones marked 'waterproof' or 'all day.' Children and people with sensitive skin or allergies do best with physical blockers, and people prone to acne should look for words like 'non-cosmetic' and 'won't clog pores.' Aerosols and sprays have problems with uneven distribution and offer less protection. Don't put sunscreen on infants under six months; it's best to just keep them out of the sun."

And even if you slather on the zinc oxide, "other protective measures are necessary; no sunscreen gives complete protection. Try to avoid the midday sun, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Typical summer weight T-shirts provide an SPF of only five to nine, and even less when wet. Adding Rit Sunguard laundry treatment to the wash cycle can increase the SPF of regular clothing from 5 to 30. One treatment is good for 20 washes, and it can be purchased in many grocery stores. And a wide-brim hat gives protection equivalent to an SPF of five."

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA

I'm a transplant to Southern California. The sun does wonders for my disposition, but a recent trip to Dr. Sandra Morimoto, my dermatologist, got me wondering about what it does for my skin. So back to Morimoto I went.

"The skin is composed of multiple layers," she began. "The outmost layer functions as a mechanical barrier to outside chemicals and microbes, and prevents fluid loss. Underneath that is the epidermis, which consists of multiple layers of living keratinocyte cells. Scattered in a random pattern throughout the epidermis are the melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin pigment. They give skin its color and its ability to tan. Below the epidermis is the dermis, which contains collagen and elastin proteins. These elastic fibers are some of the first things to be destroyed by chronic sun exposure. Loss of them causes the skin to sag."

Tanning, said Morimoto, "is the skin's response to damage from ultraviolet light. You cannot tan without injuring your skin. A sunburn occurs when excess ultraviolet radiation damages cell proteins. As the cells die off, they set off an inflammatory immune response, which causes the blood vessels to dilate and become leaky. That results in redness, swelling, and blistering of the skin. Then the immune system goes into repair mode."

Ultraviolet light, she said, "consists of three bands, or wavelengths. The shortest, called UVC, is filtered by the ozone layer, and doesn't reach the earth. The middle and longest wavelengths, UVB and UVA, do make it through. UVB causes skin reddening, sunburn, and tanning. Chronic UVB exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. UVA rays, which comprise 96% of ultraviolet light, penetrate into the lower dermis and augment UVB damage in sunburning and tanning. Both UVB and UVA damage cell DNA and can cause mutation. Those damaged cells can replicate into a tumor. That's why it's important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVB and UVA."

Morimoto sought to explain sunscreen's protective action beyond the SPF numbers. "Sunscreens work in one of two ways. They are either physical blockers which block or scatter radiation the way a lead blanket would, or chemical blockers, which bind to the skin and absorb UV radiation. Most sunscreens block well in the UVB range, but are lacking in the UVA range." Morimoto preferred the physical blockers, which "block a wide range of light." Plus, they're hypoallergenic. "Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the ingredients in physical sunscreens. Micronized zinc oxide (which has smaller particles than ordinary zinc oxide) has the broadest spectrum of protection of any product on the market. And it is more translucent than regular zinc oxide, so it's more cosmetically acceptable" than a layer of white goop.

The divisions among the chemical sunscreens were legion, but Morimoto dove right in. The first division was between "those that absorb primarily UVB, and those that absorb UVA as well." A product called PABA was the first commonly used UVB blocker, "but due to its propensity for causing allergic reactions, it's rarely used." Cinnamates and salicylates tend to cause fewer reactions, and are more water-resistant to boot.

UVA-absorbing sunscreens were also divided. "Benzophenes contain Oxybenzene, which is used in 20-30 percent of sunscreens. It's a very effective UBA blocker, but it can cause dermatitis. The second UVA blocker, Parsol 1789, is the best available," but it too can cause allergic reactions.

Now it was time for the number on the bottle: SPF. "The Sun Protection Factor is a measurement of the product's ability to prevent UVB reddening. If a person normally burns after 10 minutes, an SPF of 15 would mean that the person could stay in the sun 15 times longer before burning. The numbers, however, measure only protection against UVB, not UVA. Plus, they're valid only if the person applies the sunscreen very thickly. Most people apply only a third of the correct amount. Further, many people think that SPF 30 provides double the protection of SPF 15. Actually, SPF 15 gives 93% protection; SPF 30, 96%; and SPF 50, 98%." What to use? "Use the highest number tolerated, in a form you're comfortable using. It's no good picking a high-SPF sunscreen if you don't like how it feels on your skin and you hate using it."

Morimoto offered a few parting tips, a general regimen for doing battle with the ultraviolet. "Apply a broadband-spectrum sunscreen with the highest SPF you can tolerate as thickly as you can. One ounce -- roughly enough to fill a shot glass -- is considered the amount needed to cover exposed areas. And chemical sunscreens need 15 to 30 minutes to bind to the skin before they're effective. And reapply sunscreen every two hours, even when using ones marked 'waterproof' or 'all day.' Children and people with sensitive skin or allergies do best with physical blockers, and people prone to acne should look for words like 'non-cosmetic' and 'won't clog pores.' Aerosols and sprays have problems with uneven distribution and offer less protection. Don't put sunscreen on infants under six months; it's best to just keep them out of the sun."

And even if you slather on the zinc oxide, "other protective measures are necessary; no sunscreen gives complete protection. Try to avoid the midday sun, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Typical summer weight T-shirts provide an SPF of only five to nine, and even less when wet. Adding Rit Sunguard laundry treatment to the wash cycle can increase the SPF of regular clothing from 5 to 30. One treatment is good for 20 washes, and it can be purchased in many grocery stores. And a wide-brim hat gives protection equivalent to an SPF of five."

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Next Article

Black Lives Matter offshoot chooses street outside Police Headquarters for street mural

Placing the BLAME
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close