The Engineer's Notebook Blog

The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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Sunscreen Just Isn't Enough for Fair-skinned Folks

Posted July 28, 2018 12:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: cancer Skin CAre sunscreen

If you’ve read this blog before, it will come as no surprise that apart from serial killers, the band U2, and a knowledge of bakeries within close proximity to my house, I know very little about very little.

That being said, the folks from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, have recently struck upon one of the few things I’ve known my entire life as a freckled, ruddy Irish American: You need more than mere sunblock to prevent a sunburn. A fact of life that often has me covered in clothing from head to toe, even in the sweltering summer months.

Looking at almost 29,000 responses from a 2015 survey, researchers from the National Cancer Institute found that roughly 16,000 respondents identified themselves as fair-skinned or sun-sensitive. Of that group, 62 percent of whom said they used sunscreen and no other measures against the sun, also reported the highest incidence of sunburn.

“The most surprising and counterintuitive finding," according to Kasey Morris, who led the study, "was that regular sunscreen use, in the absence of other protective behaviors, was associated with the highest likelihood of sunburn.”

Among the respondents, other means of protecting oneself from the sun included: wearing hats, long sleeves, or pants and finding shade.

"Although participants who did not use sunscreen, seek shade, or wear protective clothing had a higher probability of sunburn (54.8%)," the authors wrote in their paper, "the group with highest likelihood of sunburn consisted of those who used only sunscreen (62.4%). The group with the lowest probability of sunburn did not report using sunscreen but reported engaging in the other 3 protective behaviors (24.3%)."

So when you see me or my ilk wandering around in the blistering heat, covered from head to toe, judge us not for our attire but pity us for our life-long battle against all things sunny.

The study, entitled "Decision Tree Model vs Traditional Measures to Identify Patterns of Sun-Protective Behaviors and Sun Sensitivity Associated with Sunburn," was published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
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Re: Sunscreen Just Isn't Enough for Fair-skinned Folks

07/28/2018 11:34 AM

Well as somebody with similar characteristics of fair skin who has lived in the South most of my life, I can tell you there are many more variables involved here...such as repeating application, sunscreens only work when they are applied properly and sometimes frequently, the actual amount of sun exposure taking place, proximity of water and other reflective surfaces increases exposure, type and strength of sunscreen being used....We don't live in a perfect world and accidental or unanticipated exposure happens from time to time....Although sunscreen works, and works well, the constant battle to be protected at all times is prone to failure for so many reasons they are too numerous to list...This is a particularly difficult problem when the risk is highest, in the young, who are bombarded with foretold dangers and risky behavior warnings, but are on the go with limited resources almost all of the time....Exposure is guaranteed....We can only hope a cure will be found...the sooner the better...

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