Best Sunscreen To Use: How To Decide Between The Many Lotion Bottles

The long days of summer mean hot weather and the need for more sun protection. Sunscreen protects our skin by either physically deflecting UV rays’ active ingredients or chemically with carbon-based compounds. When choosing a sunscreen we must compare application method, the SPF, and the active ingredients.

In TED-Ed’s latest video, “Which Sunscreen Should You Choose?”, host Mary Poffenroth explains the many forms of sunscreen impact our body and the environment in their own way. For example, sprays are convenient to put on, especially when we’re wet, but science has found most people don’t apply a thick enough layer to get full protection. Inhaling the spray chemicals also come with several health risks.

Rather, a lotion bottle with an SPF of at least 15 is recommended, although 30 is better. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent, and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. This is based on the quantity of solar exposure. Genetics, when, where, and how you spend your time in the sun will determine how much time we have before we burn.

Sun protection factor measures a sunscreen’s ability to filter UVB rays, linked to sunburn and skin cancer. However, SPF only measures UVB rays, and doesn’t protect from UVA rays. Unlike UVB, UVA is not filtered by the ozone at all and doesn’t cause sunburn, but it can lead to darkening and aging because of its ability to penetrate deeper into the skin. A way to tell if your sunscreen protects against UVA rays is if it includes the words “broad spectrum” — the most important thing to look for on a sunscreen label.

When reading a lotion label, remember SPF is in the front, and on the back are the active ingredients like zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide, or carbon-based chemicals, such as oxybenzone, butylparaben, 4MBC, and octinoxate.

Taking the time to read the label could make a difference between getting a tan and getting sunburn.

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Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia: How They Differ And What To Do

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may share many of the same symptoms, but the two are not different names for the same condition. Here’s what you need to know about both in order for you to avoid this common mistake.

Dementia is a syndrome, or a group of symptoms that consistently occur together. It is not a specific disease. The term “dementia” is used to describe a set of symptoms that can include memory loss, difficulty thinking, problem solving, or issues with language. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells, and because Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys the brain, it is one of the most common causes of dementia.

DementiaDementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease: How are they different?

As many as 50 to 70 percent of all dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s, reported. However, other conditions can also cause dementia, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In addition, dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

According to The Alzheimer’s Association, the symptoms of dementia vary greatly and can include factors such as memory troubles, communication and language problems, loss of the ability to focus and pay attention, difficulties with reasoning and judgement, and trouble with visual perception. However, different types of dementia are associated with different types of brain damage.

In addition, an estimated 10 percent of people with dementia have more than one type at the same time, with the most common combination being Alzheimer’s disease with vascular dementia, The Alzheimer’s Society reported.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific type of dementia caused when high levels of certain proteins inside and outside brain cells make it hard for brain cells to stay healthy and to communicate with each other. This leads to the loss of connections between nerve cells, and eventually to the death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue.

Here’s the major difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia — when an individual is diagnosed with dementia, they are diagnosed based on their symptoms without actually knowing what’s behind the symptoms. In Alzheimer’s disease, the exact cause of the symptoms is understood. In addition, Alzheimer’s disease is not reversible, whereas some types of dementia, such as those caused by nutritional problems or a drug interaction, can be reversed.

Why Does Schizophrenia Start In Adolescence? An Inside Look At The Teen Brain

Late adolescence is such a critical time period for mental health, new study finds. 

Adolescence is a time of growth and change — but psychologists also know it’s a time when the first signs of certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can appear. The precise link between mental health and adolescence was unclear, but a new study on brain changes that occur in teenagers helps explain why late adolescence is such a critical time period for mental health.

MRI scans of teens revealed that brain regions which have the strongest link to the schizophrenia risk genes are developing most rapidly. These regions are critical hubs that control how different regions of the brain communicate, so when something goes wrong, it can have wide-ranging implications.

Late adolescence is such a critical time period for mental health, new study finds.

The study, now published in the online journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the outer region of the brain, known as the cortex, shrinks in size and becomes thinner during late adolescence. This process causes an increase in levels of myelin, the sheath that insulates nerve fibers and allows them to communicate effectively, Medical Xpress reported. This increase in myelin occurs in areas of the brain that act as major connections between different regions of the brain network.

“Adolescence can be a difficult transitional period and it’s when we typically see the first signs of mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,” explained Ed Bullmore, head and professor of psychiatry at Cambridge, Medical Xpress reported. “This study gives us a clue why this is the case.”

The study is one of the most detailed investigations into the adolescent brain, and involved using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brain structure of almost 300 individuals aged 14 to 24 in order to compare the brain structure of teenagers of different ages. The MRI scans were then compared to the Allen Brain Atlas, a tool which maps regions of the brain by gene expression.

“As these regions are important hubs that control how regions of our brain communicate with each other, it shouldn’t be too surprising that when something goes wrong there, it will affect how smoothly our brains work,” explained Bullmore.

The team hope this finding will help to spark further research into mental health and the young brain, and eventually even lead to better diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions.

How Alcohol Affects Your Lungs: Binge Drinking May Lead To Breathing Problems

Binge drinking may be the reason it’s hard to catch your breath. Alcohol affects nearly every major organin the human body, including the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and kidneys, but a team of researchers from Loyola University has found it can also make it harder for the lungs to breathe.

A new study, published in the journal Chest, reveals the first link between excessive alcohol consumptionand nitric oxide levels — a naturally produced gas that helps fight bacterial infections in the lungs. Study participants who had lower levels of the gas were also the excessive drinkers, while those who never drank had higher levels of nitric oxide. The more a participant reported drinking, the lower their levels, which told researchers that their bodies were less equipped to kill bacteria and fight off lung infections.

For the study, researchers combed through data from 12,059 people between the ages of 21 to 79 who were interviewed for a period of five years. They were asked how much and how often they drank, which grouped them into categories: never drinkers; nonexcessive drinkers; excessive drinkers; and formerexcessive drinkers. Excessive alcohol drinkers were considered women who consumed more than one drink a day on average and men who had more than two drinks a day.

Breathing problemsAlcohol abuse can lead to bacterial infections in the lungs.

“Alcohol appears to disrupt the healthy balance in the lung,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Majid Afshar, a pulmonologist at Loyola University’s School of Medicine, in a statement. “Lung doctors may need to take this into consideration.”

One out of every four Americans drinks to excess, which will lead to six alcohol poisoning deaths every day. Researchers will continue working to unravel the complex relationship between alcohol consumptionand the human body.

Afshar concludes: “Accounting for alcohol use levels should be an additional consideration, and further investigations are warranted to explore the complex interaction between alcohol and nitric oxide in the airways.”

Autism Cause Theories 2016: The Latest On Potential Risk Factors, From Vaccines To Air Pollution

Untangling the many different causes behind autism spectrum disorder (ASD), now estimated to affect one in every 68 children, is a hefty and as yet unfinished task for scientists around the world.

But although that research is still ongoing, there are some promising explanations we’ve settled on, as well as some debunked duds. Let’s take a look at them.


Autism is a complicated neurological condition involving developmental and learning disabilities that can dramatically vary in severity, from problems with social interaction to being unable to process sensationslike touch normally. And it’s caused by a variety of risk factors that interact with one another in ways we still understand little about.

Autism causesWhat do we know about the causes of autism?

What we do know is that many of these factors happen very early on in life. Some researchers have found many, if not most, autism cases can be traced to someone having common genetic variations or rare spontaneous mutations. Boys also appear to be at higher risk, but it’s possible that girls are simply being underdiagnosed.

Other scientists, while not disputing the role of genetics, have found evidence that a developing fetus’ environment (i.e. the womb and mom) can influence autism risk. These include the mother’s exposure tosmoking or air pollution, her gaining excess weight, and whether she’s an older or teenage mom or there’s a large age gap between parents. Babies prematurely delivered also appear to have an increased risk of autism and other neurological conditions.


Again, there’s no one single cause of autism, just things that make someone more likely to develop it. But there are definitely factors we know probably don’t contribute to autism risk. These include vaccines,whether a children was delivered through cesarean section, and most recently induced labor.

There are also some potential but still highly debated and outright iffy theories, such as antidepressant use during pregnancy, aerial pesticide exposure and, believe it or not, having a circumcision.

While we may never have a perfect understanding of what causes autism, we’ve certainly made a lot of progress since the earliest days of research in the mid-20th century. Back then, it was simply assumed that frigid mothers who mistreated their children were the culprit.

Early Sexualization Fears: How Young Girls And Their Parents Can Protect Innocence

Young girls are being inundated by sexualizing messages reinforced through television, movies, and the omnipresent force of social media platforms. Protecting children, especially girls who are overtly sexualized from childhood, can be difficult when teens and preteens are naturally drawn toward the glamour of fitting in with other kids. But according to the American Psychological Association(APA), there are ways to help kids find a healthy social standing and maintain personal identity while not having to sacrifice dignity.

Girls are repeatedly taught what they should look like, which distracts them from focusing on more important things like school and extracurricular activities. The APA recommends girls should do what makes them feel comfortable, including wearing clothing that makes them feel at ease. If clothes take too much time to check and readjust, they’ll end up making them less confident in the end.

Parents can lead by example by not focusing on clothing and what their daughters look like. Girls who hyperfocus on their appearance may believe there’s more worth in how sexy they look as opposed to how smart or accomplished they are.

Sexualizing GirlsThe media tends to teach girls that appearance is important enough to sacrifice your integrity for.

Social media users, like those on Instagram, often portray teens and young women in kissy selfie poses and intentionally erotic angles. The app is readily accessible to children of all ages, which is why focusing on improving a child’s values is more effective than limiting their access to social media. Even products targeted towards children are found to promote sexualization of kids as young as six years old. The APA found dolls such as Bratz are sold wearing belly-baring shirts, low-riding jeans, thong underwear, and a full face of makeup. Redirecting a child’s focus towards other traits may help steer her away from feeding into the industry’s misdirection of sex as a valuable commodity.

“Is it really the power to be a sexual being in the world?” psychologist Sharon Lamb, told the APA. “Or just power to get boys to look at you and like you? Because these sexy images are sold as a kind of girl power, many girls don’t realize that this kind of power is not the kind that will help them to be successful, happy adults.”

Antibiotic Resistance Breakthrough: New Treatment Prevents Bacterial Skin Infections

English scientists may have hit upon a novel way of fighting off antibiotic-resistant superbugs: Turning our skin into the equivalent of a Slip ‘N Slide.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed an experimental treatment designed to protect skin wounds from being infected by various multidrug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus. Rather than attacking the germs, however, the treatment instead makes it harder for them to attach to our skin cells in the first place. In experiments with cultured skin cells and a 3D tissue-engineered model of injured skin, the treatment reduced the bacteria’s stickiness to cells by 50 to 60 percent when compared to a control. Importantly, the treatment didn’t appear to interfere with the skin cells’ natural healing process, meaning it may be perfectly harmless to real people. The results of their trial were published recently in PLOS-One.

“This development is a huge breakthrough in the fight against antibiotic-resistance,” said senior author Dr. Pete Monk of the University’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Science in a statement.

Staphylococcus aureus

English scientists have developed an experimental treatment that makes it harder for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to stick to skin cells and cause skin infections. Above, in magenta, are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The treatment is derived from a class of proteins that already play a vital role within our human bodies called tetraspanins. Tetraspanins are located in the cell membrane and, among many other responsibilities, help cells stick to surfaces or other cells. They do so by joining together with other parts of the cell, including other tetraspanins, and forming structures called tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. Unfortunately, certain bacteria, viruses, and protozoans can also manipulate these structures to stick themselves to cells and gain entry within, including HIV.

To come up with their treatment, the researchers tested out specific compounds, or peptides, from one of these structures previously shown in the lab to short-circuit the stickiness of many bacterial species. One peptide in particular, Peptide 800, proved especially effective in making skin cells non-sticky. And because these peptides don’t harm or kill bacteria, it’s less likely that they will encourage further drug resistance.

Skin infections are already a big worry within hospitals, a premier hotspot of superbugs, and the researchers are hopeful their treatment can be an especially important tool in preventing open wounds caused by surgery and bed sores from becoming infected.

“We hope that this new therapy can be used to help relieve the burden of skin infections on both patients and health services while also providing a new insight into how we might defeat the threat of antimicrobial drug resistance,” said Monk. “The therapy could be administered to patients using a gel or cream and could work well as a dressing. We’re hoping it can reach clinical trials stage in the next three to five years.”

Though the potential of tetraspanin-related therapies is obviously exciting, it’s still in the very early stages. Among one of the stumbling blocks, as mentioned earlier, is that the therapy only partially reduced bacteria’s sticking power. That suggests there might be other ways these bacteria manage to stick to us, and it’s likely the treatment may not work as effectively when applied to different types of cells (keratinocytes, which the peptides were most effective on, make up our outer skin). Given their ability to work against different species of bacteria and their low toxicity, though, the authors believe the sky’s the limit for these nifty little peptides.

How To Get Rid Of Acne Scars: Chemical Peels, Laser Treatments Can Help Clear Skin

Most of us have spent a considerable amount of time dealing with acne, especially during our teenage years. Three-step acne kits have helped us outgrow pimples and zits, but the aftermath persists — acne scars. Eliminating these marks is no small feat, but there are a number of treatments that can help prevent and reduce the appearance of scars for clearer skin.

Prevention and intervention are crucial when it comes to treating acne to lower the odds of scars forming; 95 percent of acne patients develop post-pimple hyperpigmentation to some degree. First, it’s important to identify the type of acne scars, since they come in many shapes, sizes, and even colors. The most common are depressed or pitted scars, which result from inflammatory acne, or papulopustular acne —  lesions that consist of red blemishes, pimples, papules and pustules (zits) and larger swollen lesions (nodules). Depressed scars sit on collagen-rich scar tissue, preventing the skin from repairing the scar.


Dermatological treatments, from laser to chemical peels, can help prevent and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Two major categories of lasers are used in laser treatments as part of acne scar therapy. Ablative (resurfacing) lasers remove the outer layers of the skin via burning away scar tissue and allow the dermal collagen to tighten. This reduces the level of scar visibility. Meanwhile, non-ablative lasers trigger changes within the dermis without affecting the epidermis. Similar to ablative lasers, non-ablative lasers allow the dermal collagen to tighten via heating to reduce visibility.

Other dermatological treatments include a chemical peel — applying strong acid — that can deeply penetrate into the skin. This option is used to treat mild acne scars. However, for ice pick acne scars, which are usually deep and narrow, punch excisions work better at bringing the dermis together to get rid of the margins. Sometimes the scar may fade on its own.

Subcision and dermabrasion involve sharp instruments that are meant to break away the damaged tissue. In subcision, dermatologists apply a tiny scalpel or needle to the scar tissue to help produce new collagen, while dermabrasion involves anesthetizing the skin and freezing it as a blade removes it.

These dermatological procedures, from laser treatments to chemical peels, can help minimize the appearance of acne scars. Marks are all unique, so it’s best to consult with a dermatologist to determine what treatment works best for the type of scarring.

Here’s What A NSFW No-Scalpel Vasectomy Looks Like

A vasectomy is a form of birth control where a doctor will block the tubes that carry sperm. Usually the procedure is conducted by using a scalpel to make a small incision in the scrotum, but the no-scalpel vasectomy gets the job done with one small puncture and requires no stitching.


Despite the graphic nature of the gif, this procedure is done using a local anesthetic similar to Novocaine. It is also far less traumatic and therefore less painful than a traditional vasectomy. One tiny puncture is made in the penis and the tubes of the vas deferens, and the tubes that carry semen are quickly cut and either cauterized or blocked. The tiny puncture will heal on its own, and not only requires no stitching, but also ensures there is no residual scarring. In turn, this procedure also reduces bleeding and the possibility of infection, bruising, and other complications, Planned Parenthood reported.

The procedure only interrupts the delivery of sperm and therefore has no effect on a man’s sex drive or ability to perform. One of the main benefits of this form of birth control is that it is permanent. However, in some instances, the procedure can be reversed, although this is not guaranteed and the procedure should be conducted with the intention of being permanent.

Although the no-scalpel vasectomy is a less traumatic form than the traditional vasectomy, there are stillsmalls risks for infection and bleeding. Men are advised to remain off their feet for about 24 to 48 hours following the procedure, but are advised to refrain from sex for 3 to 4 days following. Although there is no more semen in a man’s ejaculate, his ejaculate will still look the same, although it will still take a few months before there is no longer any sperm in his seminal fluid.

Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders: How OCD, Social Anxiety, And More Affect Well-Being

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’ve likely branded yourself an “anxious” person at some point. But there is no such thing as one anxiety disease: There are several different types, and it’s possible to suffer from a few of them at the same time.

Anxiety disorders affect some 40 million adults in the U.S., according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). That’s as high as 18 percent of the population, making them one of the most common mental health afflictions. If you suffer from anxiety, you’re certainly not alone. Here are the different types, what they mean for your mental health, and the best ways to battle them.


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects over 3 percent of the U.S. population. People with GAD will typically worry excessively and chronically, meaning there will always be fear in the back of their minds for months and even years. Having this chronic worrying is mentally exhausting, which often means people with the disorder will feel fatigued and drained, have difficulty concentrating, experience muscle tension, or be unable to sleep well. Fortunately, it can be treated with medication like anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy.


Panic disorder refers to a condition in which sudden, debilitating attacks of fear or panic impair a person’s daily life. During a panic attack, a person will experience intense physical symptoms including hyperventilation, increased pulse, dizziness or lightheadedness, tingling limbs, chest pain, or abdominal pain. Such physical symptoms can often be scary, since they share qualities with symptoms of heart attacks or strokes, and typically exacerbate the panic attack. Fortunately, like GAD, panic disorder can be treated with medication and psychotherapy.

OCDAnxiety disorders include OCD and social anxiety.


OCD may be one of the most poorly understood mental disorders out there: It’s easy to stereotype people with OCD as being excessively clean or orderly. In fact, many myths about OCD can be debunked by science.

There are two pillars of OCD: obsessions, which are thoughts or images that repeat in the person’s mind, and compulsions. The person will feel out of control and find the thoughts disturbing, and experience accompanying feelings of fear or worry. These obsessions can involve fears of contamination, unwanted sexual thoughts, religious fears of offending God or morality, or being worried they will harm someone they care about.

Compulsions involve the actions and “rituals” that follow the obsessive thought. Ritualistic steps often make the person feel like they have more control over their thought by allowing them to “cancel” it out. OCD can be complicated to treat, but there are cognitive behavioral therapies that help people face their fears and overcome their obsessions and compulsions, such as Exposure and Response Prevention.


Surprisingly, phobias affect nearly 9 percent of the population, mainly women. Phobias involve the overwhelming fear of an object, organism, or situation that is objectively harmless. Phobias like the fear of open spaces, close spaces, snakes, and elevators, among others, can be damaging to a person’s daily life and relationships. Getting help can include being prescribed beta blockers, antidepressants, or sedatives as well as participating in cognitive behavioral therapy or desensitization or exposure therapy.


It’s one thing to be shy or an introvert, but in extreme cases, a person may suffer from social anxiety disorder — the fear of being judged or scrutinized in social situations. This can prevent sufferers from socializing, going to work, or even leaving their homes. Conquering social anxiety disorder might involve exposure therapy to overcome the feelings of nervous “stage fright,” as well as anti-anxiety meds.


PTSD is often listed as a mental illness entirely on its own, but it is often linked to the anxiety umbrella and it may be one of the most serious anxiety disorders. PTSD stems from a traumatic incident or even a brain injury that damages a person’s mental health and results in severe flashbacks, depression, and anxiety. Because of the complexity of the condition, there are various types of treatments that can be individualized based on the person. For more ways to build defenses against anxiety, check out these helpful small tips.

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