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Why I think our skin is like a toaster (and we all know that toasters lie don’t we Eddie?)

June 16, 2012

I love that sketch because it is so true and it was a recent toaster incident that got my brain thinking in this very peculiar way don’t you know!

I have been thinking about the sun, sun screens and the skin for a while now and that’s for a few reasons:

A) Australia has just announced that they are finally going ahead and allowing the marketing of SPF 50 sunscreens (up from a max of SPF 50).

B)  I have several sunscreens in development and so am somewhat forced to think about how to make them the best that I can.

C) I recently spent some time learning about sunscreen testing at a local testing facility.


D) I have skin, I live in a hot place, I am naturally interested.

Anyway, that aside I recently (last night) came to start thinking about our skin, burning, toast, white goods etc, etc…….

My thought is like this:

We all know that when we have too much sun our skin changes.  For some of us it goes a lovely golden brown, for others a deep chocolate tone while some turn red with anger.  I liken this to the settings on a toaster:  still bread,  various shades of lovely toast,  completely stuffed (any link to the colour of toast and our skin is incidental BTW, it’s the cooked-ness that I’m interested in).

Anyway, just like a toaster it is nearly impossible to know how much heat/ light etc constitutes the perfect dose as toasters (and skin it would seem) lie.

That may not seem that interesting but think of it another way: We do not know how much of our ‘burning’ dose is good for us.  We know that some is because we know that vitamin D is produced through the skin in the presence of sunlight and so some sun is better than none but where ‘good’ stops and ‘bad’ starts is anyones guess.  OR IS IT?  I don’t know……

I suspect that somewhere, locked away in a secret laboratory is a master toast maker who has the optimal machine/ bread/ time combo locked in a safe ready to sell to the highest bidder.  I suspect that somewhere the same exists for our sun/skin dilemma but at this moment, I am in the dark on both counts and so run the risk of  burning and under-cooking my toast and skin at regular intervals.

Of course we have a guide, the toaster has a numerical dial and the sunscreen has an SPF but neither possess a pro-active ability to correct for our human mistakes.  Maybe that is the key, the future………

I have no idea if you find this analogy of use but for me it has really made things clear:

  •  There is still much to learn about sunscreens (and toasters).
  • A sunscreen (like a toaster) is an applied product that has an interesting and co-dependent relationship with its partner in crime (skin/ bread).
  •  Like all  partnerships the above relationship (s)  are prone to mis-communication and mis-understanding (mainly because we like clear, solid instructions rather than those that require a degree of thought)
  • Eddy Izzard is funny.
  • Lego is cool.

Have fun and let’s keep our eyes peeled for that perfect recipe.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ally permalink
    June 16, 2012 9:34 am

    I was curious, does the use of sunscreen impact the amount of vitamin D that is produced? Is it the penetration of UVA or UVB rays that helps to produce it? Also I’d love to hear how the sunscreen goes, I’m on the lookout for a good sunscreen as I don’t regularly use one at the moment except for going to the beach.

  2. RealizeBeautyEd permalink
    June 16, 2012 9:42 am

    Hi Ally, this might help explain the vitamin D bit although I am no expert:

    In a nutshell sunscreen will impact on our ability to process vitamin D as it reduces the sunlight getting to the skin. How much it impacts depends on lots of factors including the efficiency and quality of the sunscreen, the dose used, your skin type, the time in the sun, the angle of the sun and your general health.

    In general a sunscreen labelled ‘broad spectrum’ with an SPF of 30 or higher will be great for fair skinned people anticipating a lot of sun exposure. It may be excessive for incidental exposure such as a trip to the washing line or standing in line for a coffee or newspaper but as for how excessive (or not) I couldn’t really say.

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