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HEALTH: Dr. Corinne: Enjoy the Sun This Summer, But Beware and Be Prepared!

Dr. Corinne Weaver : May 10, 2019

Everyone loves the warmth of the sun on their skin, but how much sun is too much sun? What can you do to prevent and treat sunburn? And how do you know if a suspicious spot should be checked out by a professional?

We all need vitamin D. It helps our bones, and without it, we're at risk of conditions like osteoporosis. Vitamin D also helps boost the immune system. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D; however, letting the sun beat down on you isn't the only way to satisfy your vitamin D quotient! Fatty fish and egg yolks are also sources of vitamin D.  If you think you're not getting enough, supplementation is another option! (Image: Pixabay)

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers to how well a sunscreen can protect against UVB rays, which cause burning and skin cancer. It could be helpful to think of UVB for "burning."

Another type of radiation, called UVA, is responsible for age spots and wrinkles, as well as some types of skin cancers.

The best sunscreens to use

Choose sunscreens that are labeled "broad spectrum" to ensure that it protects from both UVA and UVB. Look for SPF below 50 and don't buy sprays or powders. Creams work better. Avoid ingredients with oxybenzone, vitamin A, and added insect repellent. Look for zinc oxide, avobenzone, and or mexoryl SX. Aveeno, Babyganics, Bare Republic, and Badger are a few brands to name that have better ingredients. The non-profit Environmental Working Group has a complete guide on their website.

Currently, there is no standard in the United States for listing UVA blocking power. In certain European and Asian countries, UVA protection must be listed on packaging the same way SPF would be.

EWG sunscreen ratings serve as a lifeline for people who want to use sunscreen without all of the toxic ingredients. For more than a decade, EWG (the non-profit Environmental Working Group) takes on the annual task of sifting through sunscreen label claims, ingredient lists and scientific studies analyzing what's really in those sunblock bottles.

Unfortunately, many of the highest-rated sunscreens aren't readily available in chain grocery and drug stores, meaning it can be a little tricky finding a safe and effective sunscreen if you're on the road and forgot yours at home. With that in mind, the EWG sunscreen team released a list of the safest, most reasonably priced sunscreens that are widely available in box stores around the country.

Now, to be clear, I believe the sun can be incredibly healing in the right dose, especially when it comes to avoiding vitamin D deficiency. But you don't want to overdo it and suffer a damaging burn.

Every time you use sunscreen, use about one ounce worth to cover your whole body. Apply your first coat 15 minutes before you venture outside, then reapply every two hours for as long as you're outdoors.

Sunscreens are designed to remain at optimal strength for up to three years. This means that you CAN use leftover sunscreen from one year to the next. Some sunscreens will include an expiration date, discard sunscreen that is past its expiration date. Otherwise, write the date of purchase on the bottle and be sure to throw it out three years later.

It's better to be safe than sorry! When you're spending a lot of time outdoors, be sure to cover up with lightweight, light-colored clothes. Make it a point to wear a hat with a brim to cover your eyes and scalp, and don't leave your house without sunglasses on a bright day. I have become a big fan of hats. They can be very stylish!

It's very important to look for safer sunscreens and to recognize that you can't only rely on sunscreens alone to prevent sun over-exposure.

Skin Cancer Facts:

  • More than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3million people in the United States in 2012 – the most recent year that new statistics were available.
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year than all othercancers combined.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
  • The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated to be about $8.1billion. (Get more facts here
  • UVB rays are most active between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Make every effort to limit your time in the direct sunlight during these hours.
  • Up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays can pass through clouds, which means that you can still get a serious sunburn on an overcast day.

My husband, Scott, has a slogan he uses every day in the summer time. He says, "Don't you mess with the sun!" The kids laugh. They know that means to put their sunscreen on.

It's a common misconception that darker complexions don't need sunscreen. While melanin does protect from a small number of UV rays, every shade of skin needs sun protection! If you have a dark skin tone, you've likely got a natural skin protectant of about SPF 13. You need about SPF 30 for reliable protection. No matter your skin color, you're still at risk of cancer, and wrinkles, dark spots, and burning from excessive sun exposure.

Sunscreen is a crucial part of every beauty routine, but the white cast is can leave behind isn't always attractive. If this is an issue you've dealt with, apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go outside so that it has time to soak into your skin. Also, use a separate type of sunscreen for your face.

Skin Cancer Warning Signs

If you know what to look for, you can spot warning signs of skin cancer early on.

Do a full-body check once a month in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror, using a hand mirror for areas that are hard to see.

You'll want to follow the ABCDE rule: Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving. For more information, check out this link

Tanning beds are NOT safer than the sun. Whether indoor or outdoor UV rays, your skin will still suffer. Also, tanning beds don't help your body make vitamin D. They emit mostly UVA light, while your body needs UVB to create vitamin D.

And remember, if you live close to the equator, or in a high altitude location, you're more at risk of burning. Take this into account when you're on vacation too!

While there's no proof that water can help protect you from the sun (despite what some may claim), it is important to stay hydrated when you're spending time in the sun. Carry water with you when you're spending time in the sun and aim to drink more than you would on a typical day spent indoors to avoid heat stroke.

Once you come inside from a sunny day, immediately apply a moisturizer, oil, or aloe-based gel to your skin, this will help keep it hydrated and make it less likely to peel.

Create your own DIY soothing after-sun cream with just four ingredients!

In a blender, puree a quarter cup jojoba oil and a quarter cup aloe vera gel. Then add two tablespoons coconut oil and 2-3 drops of essential oil (like lavender), and mix on low to combine. Pour into a sealable jar and keep in the fridge for maximum relief after a day in the sun!

How to heal a sunburn

If you tried to take precautions but still got burned, take these steps to heal your skin:

-Take frequent cool baths or showers and immediately apply a moisturizer to help trap water in your skin when you step out.

-Grab aloe gel and keep it in the fridge to keep it cool. Apply as necessary.

-Consider taking turmeric to help reduce swelling and discomfort.

-If your skin blisters, DON'T pop them. Blistering skin means you have a second-degree sunburn.

-Take extra care to protect sunburned skin from the sun and elements as it heals.

-Wear loose, tightly-woven fabrics that will help protect your skin from sun and wind.

Enjoy the sun this summer and don't let the sun mess with you!! If you would like to contact me, you can call my office or email me through my website,

I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing His gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Keep Breathing,
Dr. Corinne Weaver 


Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.

Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds. 

Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.


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