Podcast 49 - Sunscreen and Its SPF


Dr. Chad Edwards: This is Dr. Chad Edwards and you’re listening to podcast number 49 of Against the Grain.

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Intro: Welcome to Against the Grain podcast with Dr. Chad Edwards, where he challenges the status quo when it comes to medicine. We get into hot topics in the medical field with real stories from real patients to help you on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Get ready, because we’re about to go Against the Grain.

Marshall Morris: Hello, this is Marshall Morris and today I’m joined by Dr. Chad Edwards, who believes that 80% of medical recommendations are crap. He served in the US Army, he is a board-certified-physician, and he’s the founder of revolutionhealth.org. Dr. Chad Edwards, welcome.

Dr. Chad Edwards: It is good to be here. We have a great topic today, a great guest.

Marshall Morris: Okay, who’s our guest?

Dr. Chad Edwards: This is Sue Gaskell. She’s probably our number one guest, probably because she’s the only one willing to come on and talk to all four listeners-

Marshall Morris: [laughs]

Dr. Chad Edwards: We thank her very much for coming in. Probably one of the most knowledgeable people I know on the quality skin care products, the ones that we sell at our clinic, the ones that we recommend to our patients. There’s a reason for that and it’s not because it’s how we make our most money, it’s because it’s the highest quality pharmaceutical-grade skincare supplements that we’ve found. She’s also an expert in EFT which our last podcast was on, so if you want to hear a very interesting podcast on how you can reduce your stress and some of the physiologic responses to a lot of things that go on and kind of reduce some emotional scars, absolutely you have to listen to that podcast, it’s amazing. Sue, thank you so much for coming and joining us today.

Sue Gaskell: Well, thank you for having me.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Always good to have you. Today, this topic is one that there’s such, I don’t want to say controversy, but if you listen to the dermatologists, they say you should never ever get sun exposure and, of course, in our clinic we are looking at the whole body and we need a little bit of vitamin D, and so we think some sun exposure is good. But we also know at that the same time, as you have taught me many times, sun exposure to the skin is one of the foremost damaging things that we can do to our skin, specifically. We as an organism need some of the benefits of the sun, but we have to balance that. How do we balance that and what do we do?

Sue Gaskell: One of the things you want to think about is, even if you want to get some vitamin D from the sun, think about what time of day you’re going out in the sun. Because you can get the vitamin D benefits of the sun in the early morning sunlight, when the sun is not at its most direct to us. Then, when you’re out in the sun, it’s a limited dosage, so 15 minutes is as long as you need to be out there. You don’t need to be out there for an hour and a half. If you’re going to be out there for an hour and a half, you absolutely need to have sunscreen on, if you want to not cause more aging to your skin, because that’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to age your skin from the damaging effects of the UV light Tulsa prolotherapy.

Dr. Chad Edwards: That’s a great point. The problem is, a lot of my friends are going to the lake this weekend, so they’re going to be out there all day long. What do they do? They’re not going to go out of the sun, so what do they do?

Sue Gaskell: If you’re going to go out in the sun, if your plan is to go out in the sun, 30 minutes before you go out in the sun, you need to put sunscreen on. It’s most effective if you give it a little while to settle into your body, but the one thing that you all should remember is that even the most effective sunscreen only screens out 97% percent of the sun’s rays. So even with sunscreen on, you are getting some sun. Not a big load of sun that’s going to cause you to age or to get skin cancer, but you are getting some sun.

Dr. Chad Edwards: So you’re getting some sun exposure and you are going to get some color and all sorts of things.

Sue Gaskell: You are, mo matter where you are.

Dr. Chad Edwards: You mentioned the most effective. What does that mean?

Sue Gaskell: Unfortunately, the science behind sunscreen is not very well known to most of the public. The idea of sunscreen is a couple of things. Here in the United States they rate sunscreens by an SPF, and SPF is a 15, a 20, a 30, a 50, or a 100. In reality, what that tells you is nothing. Most people think it tells you how long you can stay out in the sun, but in reality, it’s a combination of time and the UV index for that day, it’s too complicated for most of us to understand. The reason the American Dermatology Association recommends that you have at least an SPF of 30 on, is because that gives you enough coverage – because nobody puts enough sunscreen on – to get you the coverage of a 15, which is going to get you 95% percent blocking of the sun’s burning rays.

The next thing you need to remember is that sunscreens have different ingredients, some of them good for us, some of them really bad for us. So then, when you’re looking for a sunscreen, you do not want a sunscreen that’s got a chemical in it, unless the label says that that chemical is micro-encapsulated, because chemicals, when the sun hits them, they undergo a chemical change and they throw off a byproduct. That byproduct is carcinogenic to us. So, yes, you got protected from the sun’s burning rays and the things that might damage your skin, but it just threw off a particle that then can be cancer-causing. When you’re going to get your sunscreens, you want to look at the first something that’s a physical block, and that means that the sunscreen would say that it is titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Those are the two physical barrier sunscreens Tulsa prolotherapy.

Dr. Chad Edwards: We’ve done a podcast about – I don’t remember the name of it – but we’ve talked about the micro-encapsulation a little bit. And just to reiterate a little bit, those chemicals get absorbed into the skin with their toxic change and cause a whole host of issues, and the micro-encapsulated ones don’t get absorbed.

Sue Gaskell: That’s right. Because they are surrounded by a small capsule, too small for us to see, but large enough that it’s too large to penetrate through the skin. If it’s too large to penetrate through the skin, it can’t be absorbed and then it can’t cause you any irritation, and it also can’t give the carcinogenic byproducts into your system, because they’re still enclosed in the capsule, and the next time you wash your face or your body, you wash them away.

Dr. Chad Edwards: There are good, safe sunscreens out there that are very effective and are micro-encapsulated chemicals. Those chemicals would be oxybenzone, and there are some others.

Sue Gaskell: Actually, the one that you usually see that’s the most safe, would be octinoxate. If you’re going to see a micro-encapsulated chemical, it’s going to be octinoxate, usually. I want your listeners to remember that a micro-encapsulated chemical always is not going to be on Wal-Mart’s shelves, because the technology is more expensive than you could buy at Wal-Mart.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Yes. And that makes a lot of sense. You’ve got to be very careful. It’s not something that you’re going get on your way to the lake at the local 7-Eleven, or QuikTrip, or whatever Tulsa prolotherapy.

Sue Gaskell: No.

Dr. Chad Edwards: You have to plan ahead for that one. These chemicals, these sunscreens– We think, if I get a 100, it’s better than a 50.

Sue Gaskell: In reality the rule is diminishing returns with SPF. An SPF of 15 blocks 95% of the sun’s burning rays. SPF only is counting the burning rays, how much protection you get from burning rays. 95 at 15, you get up to about 96 at 30, get to 97.5 at 50, and everything beyond 50 is the same. It doesn’t go up any higher than that, so then you’re not blocking anything. All you’re getting is more chemicals.

Dr. Chad Edwards: We didn’t talk about this question, but how did they rate those chemicals? How do they get that number?

Sue Gaskell: The FDA basically rates the SPF by a UV test in their labs.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Okay, so then they get this rating, I’m assuming–

Sue Gaskell: And honestly, let’s be clear about that the FDA two years ago said that anything above an SPF of 50 shouldn’t be on the market anyhow.


Dr. Chad Edwards: Yet, they still rate that.

Sue Gaskell: They actually don’t. They don’t rate anything any longer above 50.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Okay. We have to protect our skin. What do you recommend for SPF? What do you use?

Sue Gaskell: I use either a 30 or a 50.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Okay. Is that kind of a good overall comprehensive that’s–

Sue Gaskell: That is. And again, we get back to, you are not going to put enough– Most people are not going to put as much sunscreen on as they need. So then, if you get a 30 and you put it on the way, most people are going to put it on – they are going to get an SPF of 15. If you get a 50 and you put it on the way – most people are going to put it on – you’re going to get an SPF of about 25 to 30. So you’re still not getting the full SPF that it’s rated at, because nobody uses the amount that the FDA tests at, but you are getting good enough coverage because everything is over 95%, so then you’re getting good enough coverage.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Maybe after the break we could talk about how they should be applying it-

Sue Gaskell: Okay.

Dr. Chad Edwards: -how it should be, and what to expect.

Marshall Morris: We’ll see you guys after the break.

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Marshall Morris: Okay, we are back. We’re joined today with Dr. Chad Edwards and Sue Gaskell. We’re talking about SPF. For all the listeners out there that are kind of, maybe me; or at least just for my benefit–

Dr. Chad Edwards: [laughs] You mean that they are über tall?

Marshall Morris: Über tall. All of our very tall listeners. What does SPF stand for? What are we talking about here? Sue?

Sue Gaskell: It stands for Sun Protection factor, and what it relates to is UVB, or burning rays. It doesn’t pertain to the UVAs – which are cancer-causing aging rays – it’s just these sun burning rays.

Dr. Chad Edwards: So we’re not measuring at all. We have no idea how well our sunscreens are protecting against UVAs.

Sue Gaskell: We don’t have a measurable idea of how they’re protecting. All of the sunscreens that are now out in the market in the United States, are broad spectrum, which means that they protect for both UVA, and UVB, but they don’t test for the UVAs. In other countries, they do tests for the UVAs, so you know what the level is for both types of protection.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Okay. We might be getting something that’s just pure crap, especially if go to Wal-Mart; and not to pick on Wal-Mart. Go to put your convenience store or whatever, and you’re getting one that says an SPF of 30, but that may not protect us hardly at all against the UVA, because we’re not measuring.

Sue Gaskell: That’s true, what they have done is the FDA is said to them — because all sunscreens are tested as drugs — the FDA says that in that sunscreen there are ingredients that will protect you for both UVA, and UVB rays, it doesn’t tell you how much protection you get on the UVAs, just on the UVBs.

: Interesting. So it’s just more marketing scheme, sort of.

Sue Gaskell: Sort of.

Dr. Chad Edwards: To me, it’s like one of those proprietary blend things. You get a supplement that has a proprietary blend of five things, and you’re looking for this one ingredient, there might only be 1% of that proprietary blend, that’s that one ingredient.
It’s got it in there, and the FDA is just looking to see, if it’s got a chemical in it that does protect against UVA. But it might only be 0.1% of the whole thing, and actually–

Sue Gaskell: Yes. They have a way of testing out, but we don’t have any way as the general population of knowing.
Dr. Chad Edwards: Got it, interesting. I think that’s important information. Hopefully one day we’ll understand that. Now, with iS clinical, do they say anything about the UVAs on their products?

Sue Gaskell: The one thing that you know about with iS clinical, is that if your product is primarily zinc oxide, and/or titanium dioxide, that, because it’s a physical barrier sunscreen, it’s going to protect you from all of the kinds of UV rays, because they just hit it and bounce off Tulsa prolotherapy.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Yet another reason that we should look for one of those physical barriers, as opposed to just a chemical?

Sue Gaskell: Yes.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Very cool. We mentioned before about people not putting it on correctly. How should we put it on?

Sue Gaskell: According to the FDA — which is what we have to go by, because they’re the standard — for your face you need a teaspoon of sunscreen, that’s the appropriate dose. For your whole body it’s an ounce; an ounce is a shot glass full of sunscreen. I’m going to say that most people putting sunscreen on are using less than half the amount that they’re supposed to be using, according to the FDA.

Dr. Chad Edwards: So an eight ounce bottle of sunscreen should be eight applications to your whole body, roughly.

Sue Gaskell: That’s right.

Dr. Chad Edwards: And about how often should we be putting that on?

Sue Gaskell: It really depends. Again, the FDA’s recommendation is, if you’re out in the sun, you should be reapplying every two to three hours, or if you are in the water, you should reapply every time you get out of the water, because even with a water resistance rating, as soon as you dry yourself off, you’ve just wiped off everything you had on.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Okay, so realistically, if someone’s spending all day at the beach, or at the lake–

Sue Gaskell: You’re going to go through a whole bottle of sunscreen. [laugh]

Dr. Chad Edwards: Okay. And if you’re not doing that, you’re probably not applying it correctly, and you’re not getting the SPF of 30, or 50, or whatever is on your bottle.

Sue Gaskell: Yes.

Dr. Chad Edwards: You have got to use the right stuff, use it in the right way. There’s some discussion about this kind of a fear mongering kind of thing, or a lack of understanding about some of the physical barrier things, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there about it. I’ve heard some people say that, you don’t want to use some of the zinc oxide titanium dioxide that’s clear, because it contains nanoparticle stuff. What do you think about that?

Sue Gaskell: We call it micro-fine at iS. Micro-fine means they’re micro particles, not nanoparticles; and micro particles are a hundred times larger than nanoparticles. They’re much larger, when they’re larger they can’t be absorbed, and the idea is that the absorption causes — of the nanoparticles — causes problems to the body. The study that is behind this, was done in a titanium dioxide factory in China where they were milling the titanium dioxide without any protective covering for their lungs, for anything, in the factory, and then the people got sick. It’s a one of those things that is kind of a flawed study, not really a definitive study. That’s where it comes from.

But again, the particles that you’re going to see in the zinc oxide, in the titanium dioxide, in the sunscreens that are being marketed in the United States, are going to be micro particles, they’re not going to really be nanoparticles. They’re going to be micro, or larger particles. If you see a sunscreen that looks white on your skin, it’s much larger than even a micro particle.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Got it, okay. Basically, that thought of it being a nanoparticle to avoid it, is just a bunch of crap.

Sue Gaskell: It’s probably not very well substantiated, would be my best answer.


Dr. Chad Edwards: That was a very political way to say that. Sue, thank you so much for talking about sunscreen, because I think it’s one of those important discussions; that we do need sun exposure, but we got to protect our skin, and we want to be very careful about that– Absolutely under no circumstances should you ever get burned. That’s where melanoma comes from. Absolutely protect your skin against getting burned; anything that’s going to cause you to get burned, you got to protect yourself, and a little bit of limited sun exposure is good. The more you get, the more damaging it is your skin, but all the UVA, UVB is damaging to our skin, so we got to protect against that.

Thank you so much for all of that, and what you’re always a wealth of information. Thank you so much for coming on, and educating us on how to protect your skin.

Sue Gaskell: You’re welcome.

Dr. Chad Edwards: Marshall?

Marshall Morris: Thank you guys so much, we’ll catch you guys next time. Thanks.

Advertisement: Thanks for listening to this week’s podcast with Dr. Chad Edwards. Tune in next week, where we’ll be going Against the grain.

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