What is a sunburn?
Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UVB) radiation from the sun. A similar burn can follow overexposure to a "sun"(tanning) lamp. UV radiation can also damage the eyes, although no surface burn is apparent.
Can sunburn cause permanent damage?
Yes, Sunburn early in life increases the risk of developing skin cancer later on. Repeated overexposure to ultraviolet rays can also scar, freckle, dry out, and wrinkle the skin prematurely. In addition, frequent overexposure to ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of developing eye cataracts and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
What are the symptoms of sunburn?
First, the skin becomes red, tender and hot. Touching or rubbing the skin causes pain. Because heat triggers fluid loss, a sunburn victim can also become dehydrated. For several days after exposure, the skin may swell, blister, and peel. Some sufferers develop welts or rashes.
The symptoms of sunburn can be mild, moderate or severe, depending mainly on the following:
- The skin type of the person affected
- The time, length, location, and altitude of exposure.
- Medications the person has been taking.
- Skin preparations the victim has been using.
In severe cases of sunburn, the victim may experience fever, nausea, chills, dizziness, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, shock, and loss of consciousness. Obviously, such symptoms require emergency treatment.
Who is most susceptible to sunburn?
Persons with certain pigment disorders (such as albinism) and persons with fair skin are at highest risk of suffering a burn. The American Academy of Dermatology classifies skin types into six categories (in terms of susceptibility to sunburn) for skin colors ranging from fair to black. These skin types are as follows:
Types 1 and 2: High Susceptibility to Sunburn
Persons with Skin Type 1 have very fair skin (pale or milky white), blond or red hair, and possibly freckles. Such persons can suffer a burn in less than half an hour when exposed to summer sunlight at midday. They never tan.
Persons with Skin Type 2 have very light brown skin and possibly freckles. They burn in a short time in the sun, although they can achieve a very light tan.
Types 3 and 4: Moderate Susceptibility to Sunburn
Persons with Skin Type 3 (called "Average Caucasians") by The American Academy of Dermatology) have skin that is slightly browner than the skin of Type 2. They can develop moderate sunburn and a light brown tan.
Persons with Skin Type 4 have olive-colored skin. Ordinarily, they develop only minor sunburn while acquiring a moderate tan.
Types 5 and 6: Minimal or No Susceptibility to Sunburn
Persons with Skin Type 5 have brown skin and can develop a dark tan while rarely burning.
Persons with Skin Type 6 have black skin and never burn.
What is Ultraviolet (UV) light?
UV light is radiation energy in the form of invisible light waves. UV light is emitted by both the sun and by tanning lamps.
The sun discharges three types of ultraviolet radiation: ultraviolet A (UV-A), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). Only UVA and UVB reach the earth. (UVC does not penetrate the earth's upper atmosphere.)
Although research has long implicated UVB as the most likely form of UV to damage the skin and cause skin cancer, recent studies suggest that UVA is also dangerous.
Tanning lamps also produce UVA and /or UVB. These artificial rays affect the skin in the same way as do UVA and UVB from the sun.
When and where are UV rays most intense?
UVB rays are most intense at noon and the hours immediately before and after (between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.), particularly in the late spring, summer and early autumn. Although they are less concentrated at other times of the day and year, UVB & UVA can still damage the skin and eyes - even in the dead of winter. UVA rays stay the same, all day, every day, all year long.
UVB rays also increase in intensity in relation to altitude and latitude. The higher the altitude, the greater is the concentration of UVB rays. Likewise, the rays are more powerful the nearer the latitude to the equator.
UV rays "bounce" off reflective surfaces - including water, sand, and snow. Thus a skier, swimmer, fisherman, or beachcomber may be bombarded with UV rays from above and below. Many an outdoors lover who skipped sunscreen has learned this lesson the hard way.
Why does the skin tan after exposure to UV rays?
The skin contains a pigment called melanin. It colors the skin, imparting the variety of skin tones we all recognize.
Melanin blocks at least some of the UV rays from penetrating the skin. After repeated or prolonged exposure to UV rays, the skin produces more melanin. Consequently, the skin darkens, or tans, which in turn protects the skin.
Can diseases cause a heightened sensitivity to UV rays?
Yes. Certain disorders place their sufferers at very high risk of skin damage - including severe sunburn, blisters, and sores - from exposure to UV radiation. The following is a small sample of afflictions that increase the skin's sensitivity to UV radiation:
Albinism: Persons with classic oculocutaneous albinism lack melanin in their skin and eyes - hence, the term "oculocutaneous" ("oculo" for eyes, and "cutaneous" for skin). Without the protection of this pigment, their white skin and pink eyes are both highly sensitive to UV and susceptible to the rays' damage.
Porphyrias: The porphyries are disorders of specific enzymes that are needed for the metabolism of heme (part of the pigment hemoglobin that permits red blood cells to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide). Patients with these disorders manufacture abnormally large amounts of substances called porphyrins. Stimulation of the excess porphyrins in the skin by the UV rays causes damage and scarring of the skin. This skin damage is a prominent feature of several forms of porphyria including porphyria cutanea tarda, hereditary coproporphyria, variegate porphyria, and particularly, congenital erythropoietic porphyria.
Vitiligo: Vitiligo is a relatively common disorder that causes patches of white depigmented skin. These patches lack melanin and are extremely sensitive to UV rays.
Xeroderma pigmentosum: This disorder appears to result from an inherited hypersensitivity to the cancer-causing (carcinogenic) effects of ultraviolet light. Sunlight causes DNA damage that is normally repaired. Persons with this condition have defective inability to repair the DNA after UV damage. Affected individuals are hundred times more vulnerable to developing skin cancer than other people. Their extreme skin photosensitivity predisposes them to pronounced skin damage and scarring but also to the early onset of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and malignant melanoma).
What kinds of cancer can UV rays cause?
Overexposure to UV rays can cause three varieties of skin cancer; malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Malignant melanoma is by far the most dangerous form of skin cancer. This form of cancer usually begins from a mole. The border of the mole assumes an irregular shape. The mole is black or brown - and sometimes red, white or blue, or a mixture of those colors. Melanoma can spread (metastasize) rapidly. Diagnosed early, melanoma is curable. Diagnosed late, melanoma is likely to kill.
Basal and squamous cell cancers are slow-growing and are far less likely to metastasize than melanoma. Both basal and squamous cell cancers can be cured in at least 90 percent of the cases if diagnosed early.
Basal cell carcinomas are flat, pearly patches with translucent edges and dimpled centers. They may bleed. Usually, they appear on the head, neck, upper trunk, and hands. If ignored, these cancers can cause considerable localized damage.
Squamous cell carcinomas are rough patches or crusty scaly areas on the skin that do not clear up and do not respond to the usual skin creams. They may bleed a little. They tend to appear particularly on the ear rims, face, lower lip, and hands. If ignored, they can spread to other parts of the body.
How can sunburn and skin cancer be prevented?
The ideal methods of preventing sunburn, and hopefully skin cancer, involve:
- Limiting the amount of time of sun exposure and avoiding the worst hours of late morning to early mid-day.
- Wearing protective clothing such as a broad-brimmed hat, long-legged pants, and shirts with sleeves that cover the arms;
- Being aware that sunburn can occur even on a cloudy day (clouds don't stop the ultraviolet rays), and even when you are in the water;
- Remembering that sand reflects the sun rays and increases the chance of burning; and
- Using a protective sunscreen to minimize the penetration of UV rays. Sunscreens with s Skin Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 are recommended for most people. This should be applied several minutes before going into the sun and reapplied often.
What are sun-sensitizing drugs?
Sun-sensitizing drugs are medications that can increase the skin's susceptibility to reddening and burning from the sun (or a tanning lamp). These drugs are also called photosensitizing agents.
It is very important to read the label carefully before using a prescription or non-prescription medication, paying particular attention to side effects such as photosensitivity. Click here for a partial reference list of sun-sensitizing drugs.
What medications and products can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun?
Many prescription and non-prescription drugs contain photosensitizing agents that can cause sunburn, blistering, hives, rash or other skin reactions. These reactions are classified as either photoallergic or phototoxic. Click here for a partial reference list of sun-sensitizing drugs.
What is the difference between a photoallergic and a phototoxic reaction?
In a photoallergic reaction, a drug or an ingredient in a drug combines with ultraviolet light to produce a mixture that the immune system mistakenly perceives as a harmful invader, or antigen. Even thought the mixture poses no threat and causes no symptoms, the misinformed immune system produces antibodies (proteins that fights and eliminate antigens) to repel future invasions of the mixture. When the photosensitizing drug is taken again, the antibodies wildly attack the harmless invader and end up damaging the body in the process. This overreaction produces the allergy symptoms described above.
In a phototoxic reaction, a response from the immune system does not occur. Instead, the skin reacts as if poisoned, generally exhibiting symptoms shortly after the drug is taken the first time.
Among agents that can cause a photoallergic or phototoxic reaction are sulfa drugs, known as sulfonamides, and some antibiotics. Other agents that can cause sun sensitivity are: some antidepressants (including tricyclic drugs and the presently popular herbal remedy St. John's Wort); tranquilizers/ birth-control pills; arthritis painkillers; oral diabetes medications; and drugs to treat allergies, cancer, colds, high blood pressure, and heart rhythm problems. In addition, certain creams, lotions and other skin preparations for acne and other conditions can cause photosensitivity. Click here for a partial reference list of sun-sensitizing drugs.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that attack cells and damage collagen and elastin. They are triggered by pollution, sun, stress, smoke, oxygen, even the body's own processes. Free radicals are believed to be partly responsible for aging skin through a process called oxidation. A free radical known as Reactive Oxygen Species, attacks another molecule and steals an electron from it, setting off a chain reaction of free radical damage to cells. Photons may collide with vulnerable electrons of atoms in cellular structures, creating free radical chain reactions that may overwhelm the natural antioxidant structures, consequently leading to the destruction of vitamin A, C, E and other molecules.
What is an antioxidant?
An antioxidant is a molecule that helps neutralize free radicals and protects skin by helping to block damaging reactions to skin cells. Vitamin A reduces the number of sunburn cells after UV radiation. If the skin is rich in antioxidants, then the levels of vitamin A remain normal and the network antioxidants (vitamins C & E, co-enzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid and glutathione) recycle each other back into activity. The ideal sunscreen should contain antioxidants.
What makes Total Block so effective as a sun block?
Total Block is so effective because it is formulated with a multitude of ingredients to protect against all forms of light, especially UVA/UVB, and their harmful effects. Total Block utilizes nanoparticle technology in the form of eight dispersed, highly reflective particles, ranging in size from 10 microns down to a few nanometers (a billionth of a meter, or 3,000 particles to cover the cross section of a hair). These particles form a wall of reflection. In addition, there are three soluble organic chemical sunscreen absorbers (Non-PABA), to assure continuous protection. Enhancing Total Block's protective capabilities are six antioxidants and trace elements; Vitamin C, two forms of Vitamin E, along with Maritime Pine extract (Pycnogenol™), all designed to counteract free-radical damage and increase protection from Ultraviolet and acute oxidation damage. Also among these protective ingredients are organic selenium protein complex, which has demonstrated to reduce acute skin cell damage due to ultraviolet exposure, and Elefac™ I-205 which gives a proven, patented, ultraviolet protection factor boost and strengthens atmospheric skin-shield effectiveness.
Does Total Block 65 dry clear?
Yes, on most skin tones.
Does COTZ product dry clear?
Yes, on most skin tones.
How do I customize the tinted Total Block 60 for my skin?
About 50% of the population can use the product as packaged without adding any tint. If you need to, just add 6-10 drops of either the light or dark color pack. After adding, shake the bottle to mix thoroughly. Continue until desired color is achieved.
What is the difference between the Total Block 65 and COTZ?
Total Block 65 contains three organic chemicals and is non-comodogenic. COTZ contains NO chemical sunscreen filters and is heat and water resistant. It is highly recommended for children and those with sensitive skin.