You have probably got enough preaching to apply sunscreen during summer. New research suggests 25% of normally functioning skin cells that have been exposed to sunlight could become skin cancer. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid this is to stay indoors and to never see the sun. This might be not optimal, especially when you enjoy spending time outdoors, such as a good hike in Sai Kung or relaxing on the beach with your friends. Therefore, it is often suggested to protect yourself by wearing sunscreen and re-apply it regularly.
However, there’s been much debate about the health implications behind sunblock and sunscreens. Not every formula of sunscreen is healthy for you. You have to cautious that you won’t potentially expose yourself to chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Dermal exposure to hazardous agents can result in a variety of occupational diseases and disorders, including occupational skin diseases (OSD) and systemic toxicity. We have made a simple guideline for you to use when choosing your sunblock or sunscreen. A few things to look for when picking out a good sunblock/sunscreen:
Don’t use the following:
- Spray Sunscreens
- Contain Oxybenzone
- Ridiculously High SPF: We still need enough Vitamin D!
- Contain Retinyl Palmitate
- Contain Titanium Dioxide
At the end of the day, always be cautious of the amount of time in the sun. Pick a later point of time in the day when the sun is lower to be out, if that can be an option, and always cover up when you can.
Contributed by Dr. Kenneth Chu.