THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PANDEMIC SUN SAFETY
Excerpts of advice from our friends at SpotMyUV:
HAND SANITIZER WILL REMOVE YOUR SUNSCREEN
Even if you think your sunscreen has absorbed into your skin - think again. When you apply sunscreen, it might be common to say that your sunscreen has “absorbed” into your skin. This isn’t exactly correct. Some of the sunscreen absorbs that’s true… but most of it dries as a layer that sits on top of your skin. Hand sanitizer on the other hand, is usually around 70% isopropanol - a solvent which has the great property of killing germs... but it also dissolves sunscreen. In this case, the hand sanitizer is going to both kill germs and dissolve the sunscreen that’s dried on top of your skin. If you apply hand sanitizer anywhere you’ve put sunscreen, your sunscreen will soon wipe off and your skin won’t be protected.
Is this all bad? How can we use this to our advantage?
Well, we actually recommend people clean their palms after applying sunscreen. This is a little known pro tip. Why do we recommend washing away sunscreen you ask? So often when we’re outside we use our hands to wipe sweat from our eyes. Then, in no time we have complained that the sunscreen has “run into our eyes.” In reality, you had sunscreen on your fingers, and you just put sunscreen in your eyes when you wiped away your sweat. So if you clean your palms after applying sunscreen, your eyes will certainly thank you later!
Another fun fact? Cleaning your palms also gives you your grip back. So if you’re outside playing golf (one of the few sports that are starting to open back up), cleaning your palms will give you a great grip on your clubs.
KEEP YOUR SHIRT ON
Let’s face it. We all aren’t rocking stellar pandemic bods with gyms being closed and being told to stay indoors for the last few months. A copious amount of sourdough bread hasn’t helped either. However, we are not telling you to keep your shirt on because of how you look (we totally support whatever bod you’ve got, as long as that bod is wearing sunscreen)… we’re telling you to keep your shirt on so nobody has to come within 6 feet of you to apply sunscreen on your back!
It’s now sunny days in the pandemic, and you want to go to a pool, park, or beach. Don’t use this opportunity to come home with a horrific sunburn on your back because nobody would come within 6 feet of you to help you apply sunscreen there. Instead, keep your shirt on, keep your distance, and enjoy the sun anyway. Rash guards are the best because you can swim with them on, and they actually help keep your body cooler by deflecting the sun’s rays. It’s not intuitive, but trust me, they totally work.
DON'T SUNSCREEN YOUR WHOLE FACE
One of the number one things we’ve been told about COVID-19 is that it spreads by touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. However, our faces still need sun protection, and sunscreen is known to run into eyes. What are the best sun safe techniques to avoiding touching your face until it’s time to reapply?
Hats | Sunglasses | Remember to reapply at least every 80 minutes
Use an OLITA sunstick for your face - easy to control and apply just where you need it. Tinted sunsticks also blend in with all skin tones and won't make you look pasty white. Don't forget your ears!
Light Tan Organic SPF 30 Sunstick
USE SPOT MY UV WITH SUNSCREEN
Step 1. STICK TO SKIN
Use the triangular tab to apply SPOT to an area you're worried about UV exposure
Step 2. COVER WITH SUNSCREEN
Let the sunscreen absorb into SPOTMYUV for 30 seconds before rubbing fully in
Step 3. EXPOSE TO SUN
Face the sticker to direct sunlight for 1 minute. Apply more SPF and repeat if SPOT does not turn clear. May take longer to change clear on a cloudy day
Step 4. WATCH FOR PURPLE & REAPPLY
Rated for 12 hours or 6 reapplications of sunscreen. Always follow the Directions of your sunscreen & dermatologist
YOUR GYM HAS NEW RULES
With regular gyms being closed due to COVID-19, we’ve all started that gym that Mother Nature has provided for us – the great outdoors. More and more people have started to take up walking, running, or even outdoor swimming in areas that allow water access. Let’s go over your new gym’s rules and code of conduct:
• Hours of Operation: Your new gym is open from 12:00AM until 10:00AM and from 4:00PM until Midnight. Avoid heading outside between 10AM and 4PM as those are the hours when the UV is strongest (risk of sunburn) and the temperature is hottest (risk of heat stroke). Look up the local UV index where you live and try to limit your time outside to only when the UV is low.
• Sunscreen Required Before Use: If you’re running outside, you’re definitely going to be busting a sweat. If you followed our tips from above on how to avoid sunscreen in your eyes (but still applying everywhere else), you should be in for a really pleasant time. You definitely do not want sunscreen in your eyes, ruining your run and inadvertently causing you to touch your face.
REEF SAFE ONLY: Hawaii’s non-reef-safe sunscreen ban comes into effect January 1, 2021, so get ready now. “Reef safe” sunscreens (like OLITA) are those that use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as their UV blocking ingredients. Scientists believe that these sunscreens are better for our lakes & oceans when we’re swimming in them. If you’re swimming outdoors, shop for some mineral sunscreen like Olita.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DO GET A SUNBURN
UV Creates Damaging Reactive Oxygen,
Causing Melanin Activation.
Remember – sunburn is not a “hot burn” like what you’d get if you touched a hot stove-burner or the oven door on accident. Sunburn is actually a radiation burn. Sunburn is the result of UV rays tearing apart RNA in your skin, your body then thinking the broken RNA strands are the result of an infection, and consequently sending the immune-response to clean it up. Note – “tanning” also is the result of UV rays tearing apart RNA – it just didn’t get “as bad” as your skin was able to handle without blistering.
Tanning causes the same kind of damage as sunburn; it just looks different. As you can see on the left, dangerous reactive oxygen from UV rays is what activates the melanocytes that cause tanning. So when we ask "what came first - the tanning or the damage?" - we know that definitely that the damage happened first.
Furthermore, a tan doesn't protect you from the sun. A "tan" has an SPF of 1-4. It's important to also note that getting a tan that is dark enough to be equivalent to SPF 4 causes so much skin damage, that any incremental protection it might offer is vastly outweighed by the damage you caused to get the tan in the first place.
So what should you do? Wear sunscreen. Drink lots of water to avoid heatstroke. Essential workers will thank you later. But if you do get sunburned, make sure to take Advil and apply OLITA AfterSun with aloe and coconut oil. Advil reduces swelling, which is what sunburn actually is, so it will definitely help you feel better! OLITA AfterSun will hydrate and sooth your skin while restoring essential nutrients.
DOES VITAMIN D PREVENT COVID-19?
Our heads also turned when we heard a news report hat Vitamin D deficiency was found in those who died from COVID-19. First, let’s learn what Vitamin D actually does and where we get it… then let’s talk about how it interacts with COVID-19.
Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin; it’s a hormone that your body produces when exposed to sunlight. This hormone helps your body regulate calcium and phosphate (which can promote healthy growth & healthy bones) as well as improving your immune function and reducing inflammation. Vitamin D helps with immune function & reducing inflammation; COVID-19 preys on those with immunodeficiencies and causes inflamed lungs. I’m sure your alarms are sounding now.
Are they linked?
Or is this another case of correlation not equating to causation?
Is there evidence to say that COVID-19 can be prevented by Vitamin D?
Researchers in Alberta are running a clinical trial that involves treating some COVID-19 patients with Vitamin D supplements, but the results are not out yet. It's important to not get excited about clinical trials before the results - the fact that a clinical trial alone is happening doesn't confirm anything. We learned that lesson already this pandemic when a certain official advised us to use chloroquine as a treatment. Now, we know that multiple studies have proven that chloroquine makes COVID-19 much worse.
Back to Vitamin D. Researchers from the United Kingdom, Europe and the U.S. published a warning which states that currently “there is no strong scientific evidence to show that very high intakes of Vitamin D will be beneficial in preventing or treating COVID-19." We strongly caution against doses higher than the upper limit and certainly of very high doses of vitamin D unless under personal medical advice/clinical advice by a qualified health professional.” So in short, it would be great if Vitamin D does help with COVID-19; it would be great if anything helped treat COVID-19, but right now, we don’t have enough information to say Vitamin D helps or hurts COVID-19 treatment.
Then, why do those who have died from COVID-19 have vitamin D deficiencies?
Well, let’s look at a few factors. First, COVID-19 started in the winter – a time of the year where most of the world runs Vitamin D deficient because we’re staying inside to avoid cold weather. Then, we look at who is dying of COVID-19 at the highest rates – in this case, it’s the elderly. Those who are senior citizens have a variety of health problems (lung, heart, and weight problems) which directly exacerbate the effects of COVID-19. Additionally, the elderly likely spend a lot of time indoors in nursing/seniors’ homes (as we all get a little bit less active as we age). Therefore, the senior population is almost always Vitamin D deficient - pandemic or not. So reflecting on some of the broader factors at play during this pandemic, it’s entirely reasonable to expect that people who are receiving COVID-19 treatment are also low on Vitamin D.
And now let’s wrap this up.
If sunlight gives us Vitamin D (which is good for us), then why do we wear sunscreen and avoid high levels of UV (which can inhibit our body’s production of Vitamin D)? Where else can we get Vitamin D?
Let's start with how much Vitamin D we actually need. There is no exact number of minutes (as all of our bodies produce Vitamin D differently depending on our skin tone and UVB sensitivity), but most scientists like Dr. Michael Holick at Boston University agree that around 10 minutes of sunlight on our forearms and legs, a few times a week, is sufficient for those with lighter skin tones. Let’s read that again. Ten minutes, a 2-3 times a week, on our forearms and legs. If you have a dark skin tone (i.e. African-American skin), you’ll need a bit longer due to the melanin in your skin.
There is absolutely no justification for baking in the sun or spending lots of time outdoors for the sole purpose of getting Vitamin D.
Here’s what Yale Medicine has to say.
• Our bodies can’t make infinite amounts of Vitamin D after it’s produced the little bit we need to sustain a healthy immune system.
• Too much Vitamin D can lead to Vitamin D poisoning, especially if you’re taking too many Vitamin D supplements.
• Sunburn & skin cancer are far greater risks to our bodies than being Vitamin D deficient.
• Scientists also agree that spending time outside wearing sunscreen will still allow our bodies to produce significant amounts of Vitamin D (since sunscreen doesn’t block 100% of UVB light, some gets through and allows our bodies to produce Vitamin D).
If you’re still concerned, talk to your doctor about getting tested for Vitamin D and potentially supplementing your outdoor activity with supplements or diets high in Vitamin D (i.e. fish). But for now for most of us, it's business as usual. Sunscreen up!