Login to Facebook with an iris scan Eye-scanner for your PC set to go on the market in months

In the films Minority Report and Demolition Man, and indeed many other sci-fi flicks, iris recognition is used to gain access to top secret files – often with gruesome results.

But very soon the technology could be turned to more mundane applications.

A New York-based biometric security company is set to market an iris scanner that would connect to a personal computer the next few months.

The future is now: Iris scanners for personal computers could be on the market within monthsThe future is now: Iris scanners for personal computers could be on the market within months

Consumer: The EyeLock will cost $99 (£60), but no release date has yet been announcedConsumer: The EyeLock will cost $99 (£60), but no release date has yet been announced

The device will allow users to log into their online banking, social networks and emails – all in the blink of an eye.

Hoyos Group unveiled their new security product, dubbed the EyeLock, at the Finovate financial technology conference, amid claims that it is the first and only portable iris-scanning device for consumers.

The device, which is the size of a standard business card and weighs about 4oz, connects to the user’s computer by a USB cable.

Once the accompanying software package is installed and configured, all the user then has to do to is wave the scanner in front of her eye to automatically log in to any password-protected application or website – whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, PayPal or a bank account.

‘Every time you log in, it reads your iris and creates a unique key, which is a series of numbers, and this key changes every time you log in, so no one can hack it,’ Tracy Hoyos, Hoyos Group’s assistant marketing director,

 

 

According to Miss Hoyos, the security offered by iris scans trumps fingerprints, the already widely available biometric alternative. Fingerprints have around 18 unique points to built a indentification profile, while human irises have 2,000.

While governments and financial institutions have tried to implement iris scan security before, Miss Hoyos claims this is the first time the technology has been adapted for consumers.

Gruesome possibilities: In the film Demolition Man, Wesley Snipes's character, Simon Phoenix, gets through a door locked with a retina scanner by removing the authorized man's eyeGruesome possibilities: In the film Demolition Man, Wesley Snipes’s character, Simon Phoenix, gets through a door locked with a retina scanner by removing the authorized man’s eye

She said that not only will the technology protect your information better, but it eliminates the need for keeping track of multiple screen names and passwords.

The EyeLock will cost $99 (£60), but no release date has yet been announced. The company has already marketed another iris-scan product used in airport security and is researching ways to expand the service to other areas, including mobile phones.

Of course, squeamish customers may be afraid that data thieves could go to extreme lengths, up to and including butchery, to gain access to their private information.

But they can rest easy. ‘If someone kills you, it won’t work, because once you die your eye automatically flattens so your iris isn’t the same,’ said Miss Hoyos.

 

500 million Facebook users may have had information leaked to advertisers

  • Warning comes two weeks after Sony admitted 100m users Had their personal details stolen by hackers

Millions of Facebook users’ personal information has been leaked to third-party companies, it has been claimed.

The apparent data breach includes profile information, photographs and chat logs from the more than 500million people who use the social networking website.

Third parties, such as advertisers, would even have had the ability to post messages, computer security company Symantec said in its official blog.

Breached: Millions of Facebook users have had their personal details shared with third-party companies without their knowledge, according to internet security company SymantecBreached: Millions of Facebook users have had their personal details shared with third-party companies without their knowledge, according to internet security company Symantec 

The leak, Symantec said, comes from the many Facebook applications published by third-party developers.

The blog post said: ‘We estimate that as of April 2011, close to 100,000 applications were enabling this leakage.’

It continued: ‘Over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties like advertisers or analytic platforms.’

 

‘Access tokens’ allow Facebook applications to access and change personal profile information.

Users’ typically grant applications this type of access to allow them to post notifications on their profile, and on their friends’ profiles, and to access data.

But by handing over these tokens to others, application developers were giving advertisers or online analytics companies a way to get at this information too.

According to Facebook, as many as 20million applications are installed on to users’ profiles every day.

The warning comes just two weeks after Sony admitted that 100million users of its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment services had their security details stolen by hackers.

Two cyber attacks, which the tech company blamed on hacker activists Anonymous, left the company’s online gaming network out of action as security engineers battled to stem the flow of users’ private information, including emails, birth dates, phone numbers and addresses.

Global reach: Facebook now has more than 500million users. This map shows the global links of 'friendships' logged on the siteGlobal reach: Facebook now has more than 500million users. This map shows the global links of ‘friendships’ logged on the site 

Symantec said they had notified Facebook, the world’s largest social networking website, of the breach in security.

Symantec is one of the world’s biggest internet security companies. Millions of computer owners use the company’s flagship Norton Antivirus and Norton Internet Security products to protect their personal data while using the internet.

Facebook’s security spokesman, Malorie Lucich, played down the warning. ‘Unfortunately, their (Symantec’s) resulting report has a few inaccuracies,’ she said.

‘Specifically, we have conducted a thorough investigation which revealed no evidence of this issue resulting in a user’s private information being shared with unauthorized third parties.’

Ms Lucich said the report also ignores the contractual obligations of advertisers and developers which prohibit them from taking or sharing user information in a way that ‘violates our policies.’

She also confirmed that the company has updated the API (Application Programming Interface) referred to by Symantec.

 

45 best health tips evers

We’ve done the legwork for you and here they are: the 50 best health tips. Make that 51 – taking the time to read this tops the list.

1. Copy your kitty: Learn to do stretching exercises wheled toothbrush – just a sturdy, soft-bristled one that you replace each month.

4. Neurobics for your mind. Get your brain fizzing with energy. American researchers coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate the brain’s own biochemical pathways and to bring new pathways online that can help to strengthen or preserve brain circuits. Brush your teeth with your ‘other’ hand, take a new route to work or choose your clothes based on sense of touch rather than sight. People with mental agility tend to have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related mental decline.

5. Get what you give! Always giving and never taking? This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you’ll get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you can’t receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?

6. Get spiritual. A study conducted by the formidably sober and scientific Harvard University found that patients who were prayed for recovered quicker than those who weren’t, even if they weren’t aware of the prayer.

7. Get smelly. Garlic, onions, spring onions and leeks all contain stuff that’s good for you. A study at the Child’s Health Institute in Cape Town found that eating raw garlic helped fight serious childhood infections. Heat destroys these properties, so eat yours raw, wash it down with fruit juice or, if you’re a sissy, have it in tablet form.

8. Knock one back. A glass of red wine a day is good for you. A number of studies have found this, but a recent one found that the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) in green tea, red wine and olives may also help protect you against breast cancer. It’s thought that the antioxidants help protect you from environmental carcinogens such as passive tobacco smoke.

9. Bone up daily. Get your daily calcium by popping a tab, chugging milk or eating yoghurt. It’ll keep your bones strong. Remember that your bone density declines after the age of 30. You need at least 200 milligrams daily, which you should combine with magnesium, or it simply won’t be absorbed.

10. Berries for your belly. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain plant nutrients known as anthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Blueberries rival grapes in concentrations of resveratrol – the antioxidant compound found in red wine that has assumed near mythological proportions. Resveratrol is believed to help protect against heart disease and cancer.

11. Curry favour. Hot, spicy foods containing chillies or cayenne pepper trigger endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Endorphins have a powerful, almost narcotic, effect and make you feel good after exercising. But go easy on the lamb, pork and mutton and the high-fat, creamy dishes served in many Indian restaurants.

12. Cut out herbs before ops. Some herbal supplements – from the popular St John’s Wort and ginkgo biloba to garlic, ginger, ginseng and feverfew – can cause increased bleeding during surgery, warn surgeons. It may be wise to stop taking all medication, including herbal supplements, at least two weeks before surgery, and inform your surgeon about your herbal use.

13. I say tomato. Tomato is a superstar in the fruit and veggie pantheon. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful cancer fighter. They’re also rich in vitamin C. The good news is that cooked tomatoes are also nutritious, so use them in pasta, soups and casseroles, as well as in salads. The British Thoracic Society says that tomatoes and apples can reduce your risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases. Both contain the antioxidant quercetin. To enjoy the benefits, eat five apples a week or a tomato every other day.

14. Eat your stress away. Prevent low blood sugar as it stresses you out. Eat regular and small healthy meals and keep fruit and veggies handy. Herbal teas will also soothe your frazzled nerves. Eating unrefined carbohydrates, nuts and bananas boosts the formation of serotonin, another feel-good drug. Small amounts of protein containing the amino acid tryptamine can give you a boost when stress tires you out.

15. Load up on vitamin C.We need at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day and the best way to get this is by eating at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. So hit the oranges and guavas!n you wake up. It boosts circulation and digestion, and eases back pain.

2. Don’t skip breakfast. Studies show that eating a proper breakfast is one of the most positive things you can do if you aretrying to lose weight. Breakfast skippers tend to gain weight. A balanced breakfast includes fresh fruit or fruit juice, a high-fibre breakfast cereal, low-fat milk or yoghurt, wholewheat toast, and a boiled egg.

3. Brush up on hygiene. Many people don’t know how to brush their teeth properly. Improper brushing can cause as much damage to the teeth and gums as not brushing at all. Lots of people don’t brush for long enough, don’t floss and don’t see a dentist regularly. Hold your toothbrush in the same way that would hold a pencil, and brush for at least two minutes. This includes brushing the teeth, the junction of the teeth and gums, the tongue and the roof of the mouth. And you don’t need a fancy, ang

16. No folly in folic acid. Folic acid should be taken regularly by all pregnant mums and people with a low immunity to disease. Folic acid prevents spina bifida in unborn babies and can play a role in cancer prevention. It is found in green leafy vegetables, liver, fruit and bran.

17. A for Away. This vitamin, and beta carotene, help to boost immunity against disease. It also assists in the healing process of diseases such as measles and is recommended by the WHO. Good natural sources of vitamin A are kidneys, liver, dairy products, green and yellow vegetables, pawpaw, mangoes, chilli pepper, red sorrel and red palm oil.

18. Pure water. Don’t have soft drinks or energy drinks while you’re exercising. Stay properly hydrated by drinking enough water during your workout (just don’t overdo things, as drinking too much water can also be dangerous). While you might need energy drinks for long-distance running, in shorter exercise sessions in the gym, your body will burn the glucose from the soft drink first, before starting to burn body fat. Same goes for eating sweets.

19. GI, Jane. Carbohydrates with a high glycaemic index, such as bread, sugar, honey and grain-based food will give instant energy and accelerate your metabolism. If you’re trying to burn fat, stick to beans, rice, pasta, lentils, peas, soya beans and oat bran, all of which have a low GI count.

20. Mindful living. You’ve probably heard the old adage that life’s too short to stuff a mushroom. But perhaps you should consider the opposite: that life’s simply too short NOT to focus on the simple tasks. By slowing down and concentrating on basic things, you’ll clear your mind of everything that worries you. Really concentrate on sensations and experiences again: observe the rough texture of a strawberry’s skin as you touch it, and taste the sweet-sour juice as you bite into the fruit; when your partner strokes your hand, pay careful attention to the sensation on your skin; and learn to really focus on simple tasks while doing them, whether it’s flowering plants or ironing your clothes.

21. The secret of stretching. When you stretch, ease your body into position until you feel the stretch and hold it for about 25 seconds. Breathe deeply to help your body move oxygen-rich blood to those sore muscles. Don’t bounce or force yourself into an uncomfortable position.

22. Do your weights workout first. Experts say weight training should be done first, because it’s a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you’re fresh and you have the energy you need to work it. Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you’re weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.

23. Burn fat during intervals. To improve your fitness quickly and lose weight, harness the joys of interval training. Set the treadmill or step machine on the interval programme, where your speed and workload varies from minute to minute. Build up gradually, every minute and return to the starting speed. Repeat this routine. Not only will it be less monotonous, but you can train for a shorter time and achieve greater results.

24. Your dirtiest foot forward. If your ankles, knees, and hips ache from running on pavement, head for the dirt. Soft trails or graded roads are a lot easier on your joints than the hard stuff. Also, dirt surfaces tend to be uneven, forcing you to slow down a bit and focus on where to put your feet – great for agility and concentration.

25. Burn the boredom, blast the lard. Rev up your metabolism by alternating your speed and intensity during aerobic workouts. Not only should you alternate your routine to prevent burnout or boredom, but to give your body a jolt. If you normally walk at 6.5km/h on the treadmill or take 15 minutes to walk a km, up the pace by going at 8km/h for a minute or so during your workout. Do this every five minutes or so. Each time you work out, increase your bouts of speed in small increments.

26. Cool off without a beer. Don’t eat carbohydrates for at least an hour after exercise. This will force your body to break down body fat, rather than using the food you ingest. Stick to fruit and fluids during that hour, but avoid beer.

27. ‘Okay, now do 100 of those’. Instead of flailing away at gym, enlist the help – even temporarily – of a personal trainer. Make sure you learn to breathe properly and to do the exercises the right way. You’ll get more of a workout while spending less time at the gym.

28. Stop fuming. Don’t smoke and if you smoke already, do everything in your power to quit. Don’t buy into that my-granny-smoked-and-lived-to-be-90 crud – not even the tobacco giants believe it. Apart from the well-known risks of heart disease and cancer, orthopaedic surgeons have found that smoking accelerates bone density loss and constricts blood flow. So you could live to be a 90-year-old amputee who smells of stale tobacco smoke. Unsexy.

29. Ask about Mad Aunt Edith. Find out your family history. You need to know if there are any inherited diseases prowling your gene pool. According to the Mayo Clinic, USA, finding out what your grandparents died of can provide useful – even lifesaving – information about what’s in store for you. And be candid, not coy: 25 percent of the children of alcoholics become alcoholics themselves.

30. Do self-checks. Do regular self-examinations of your breasts. Most partners are more than happy to help, not just because breast cancer is the most common cancer among SA women. The best time to examine your breasts is in the week after your period.

31. My smear campaign. Have a pap smear once a year. Not on our list of favourite things, but it’s vital. Cervical cancer kills 200 000 women a year and it’s the most prevalent form of cancer among black women, affecting more than 30 percent. But the chances of survival are nearly 100 percent if it’s detected early. Be particularly careful if you became sexually active at an early age, have had multiple sex partners or smoke.

32. Understand hormones. Recent research suggests that short-term (less than five years) use of HRT is not associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer, but that using it for more than ten years might be. Breast cancer is detected earlier inwomen using HRT, as they are more alert to the disease than other women.

32. Beat the sneezes. There are more than 240 allergens, some rare and others very common. If you’re a sneezer due to pollen: close your car’s windows while driving, rather switch on the internal fan (drawing in air from the outside), and avoid being outdoors between 5am and 10 am when pollen counts are at their highest; stick to holidays in areas with low pollen counts, such as the seaside and stay away from freshly cut grass.

33. Doggone. If you’re allergic to your cat, dog, budgie or pet piglet, stop suffering the ravages of animal dander: Install an air filter in your home. Keep your pet outside as much as possible and brush him outside of the home to remove loose hair and other allergens. Better yet, ask someone else to do so.

34. Asthma-friendly sports. Swimming is the most asthma-friendly sport of all, but cycling, canoeing, fishing, sailing and walking are also good, according to the experts. Asthma need not hinder peak performance in sport. 11 percent of the US Olympic team were asthmatics – and between them they won 41 medals.

35. Deep heat. Sun rays can burn even through thick glass, and under water. Up to 35 percent of UVB rays and 85 percent of UVA rays penetrate thick glass, while 50 percent of UVB rays and 77 percent of UVA rays penetrate a meter of water and wet cotton clothing. Which means you’ll need sunscreen while driving your car on holiday, and water resistant block if you’re swimming.

36. Fragrant ageing. Stay away from perfumed or flavoured suntan lotions which smell of coconut oil or orange if you want your skin to stay young. These lotions contain psoralen, which speeds up the ageing process. Rather use a fake-tan lotion. Avoid sun beds, which are as bad as the sun itself.

37. Sunscreen can be a smokescreen. Sunscreen is unlikely to stop you from being sunburned, or to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. That’s because most people don’t apply it properly, and stay in the sun too long. The solution? Slather on sunscreen daily and reapply it often, especially if you’ve been in the water. How much? At least enough to fill a shot glass.

38. Laugh and cry. Having a good sob is reputed to be good for you. So is laughter, which has been shown to help heal bodies, as well as broken hearts. Studies in Japan indicate that laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body shake off allergic reactions.

39. It ain’t over till it’s over. End relationships that no longer work for you, as you could be spending time in a dead end. Rather head for more meaningful things. You could be missing opportunities while you’re stuck in a meaningless rut, trying to breathe life into something that is long gone.

40. Strong people go for help. Ask for assistance. Gnashing your teeth in the dark will not get you extra brownie points. It is a sign of strength to ask for assistance and people will respect you for it. If there is a relationship problem, the one who refuses to go for help is usually the one with whom the problem lies to begin with.

41. Save steamy scenes for the bedroom. Showering or bathing in water that’s too hot will dry out your skin and cause it to age prematurely. Warm water is much better. Apply moisturiser while your skin is still damp – it’ll be absorbed more easily. Adding a little olive oil to your bath with help keep your skin moisturised too.

42. Here’s the rub. Improve your circulation and help your lymph glands to drain by the way you towel off. Helping your lymph glands function can help prevent them becoming infected. When drying off your limbs and torso, brush towards the groin on your legs and towards the armpits on your upper body. You can do the same during gentle massage with your partner.

43. Sugar-coated. More than three million South Africans suffer from type 2 diabetes, and the incidence is increasing – with new patients getting younger. New studies show this type of diabetes is often part of a metabolic syndrome (X Syndrome), which includes high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. More than 80 percent of type 2 diabetics die of heart disease, so make sure you control your glucose levels, and watch your blood pressure and cholesterol counts.

44. Relax, it’s only sex. Stress and sex make bad bedfellows, it seems. A US survey showed that stress, kids and work are main factors to dampen libido. With the advent of technology that allows us to work from home, the lines between our jobs and our personal lives have become blurred. People work longer hours, commutes are longer and work pervades all aspects of our lives, including our sexual relationships. Put nooky and intimacy on the agenda, just like everything else.

45. Good night, sweetheart. Rest heals the body and has been shown to lessen the risk of heart trouble and psychological problems.

 

6 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers And How to Avoid Them

Heart attacks often come without warning, and although it’s well documented that they’re caused by atherosclerosis (plaque buildup on arterial walls), there are certain triggers that can set off a heart attack in people who are at risk. This week, Belgian researchers published a study in The Lancet ranking various heart attack triggers according to their prevalence in people who are already at risk for cardiac problems. Here’s a list of some of their more surprising findings, and some ways to protect yourself from heart attack triggers:

#1: Traffic Exposure

Commuters beware: Traffic exposure triggers about 8 percent of heart attacks among those who are vulnerable, according to the study, and it can affect you if you’re a driver, a passenger, or even a bicyclist riding along the road. Previous research on the link between traffic and heart attacks has been inconclusive as to whether it’s traffic-related pollution, the stress of being in traffic, or some combination of the two that causes heart attacks. But the clear message is that getting stuck in rush-hour jams isn’t good for anybody. Save your ticker and ask your boss if you can work from home one day a week. Telecommuters are healthier, past studies have shown, and they even work longer hours while still maintaining a better work-life balance than their colleagues in cubicles.

Do you commute? See how traffic contributes to a higher heart attack risk.

#2: Physical Exertion

Second on the list of heart attack triggers was physical exertion, accounting for just over 6 percent of cases. But they weren’t talking about the good kind of exertion that comes from exercise. The study authors noted that people who are sedentary most of the time, and then suddenly engage in heavy-duty physical activity, are most at risk. The best protection against this is at least 150 minutes per week ofregular exercise. But if you’re already sedentary and need to, say, shovel out four feet of snow from a recent storm, be sure to warm up first, and delay the strenuous activity till later in the morning. Strenuous exercise first thing in the morning is ashock to your system and can up the risk of a heart attack.

#3: Alcohol and Coffee

These drinks, whether to get you going or calm you down, each contribute 5 percent to total risk of triggering a heart attack. Heavy alcohol intake is the primary villain, although doctors aren’t sure how it triggers heart attacks. A few theories are that too much alcohol can increase inflammation and interfere with your body’s ability to dissolve blood clots. But keep in mind that one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage per day can help prevent heart disease because of the beneficial polyphenols in wine and beer. Coffee, on the other hand, seems to work in exactly the opposite way. Most studies linking coffee to heart disease have found that people who drink it less frequently are more prone to heart attacks than people who drink a lot of coffee. So if you drink less than one cup of coffee per day, consider switching to tea to get your caffeine boost.

#4: Air Pollution

Smog, vehicle exhaust, and all those tiny particulates emitted by burning woodstoves all combine to form a potent, but silent, killer. Air pollution triggers 4.75 percent of heart attacks among those vulnerable, and even though it’s one of the lowest percentages, the authors considered it most concerning because no one can avoid air pollution. For that reason, experts in a new field of medicine called environmental cardiology agree that preventing heart attacks in other ways is more effective than trying to cope on the individual level with air pollution. Minimize stress, treat migraines if you have them, don’t eat red meat and salt, and do eat aMediterranean diet. You’ll protect yourself against air pollution and all the other heart attack triggers included in the study.

Study: Air pollution wreaks havoc on heart health.

#5: Feeling Happy and Feeling Mad

Strong emotions seem to trigger a heart attack even if they’re good ones. Anger and negative emotions contribute more to your risk—almost 7 percent—than positive emotions, which contribute just 2.5 percent. “Both intense positive and intense negative emotions can cause stress to the body,” says Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, director of Life Management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, and a Rodale.com advisor.

All strong emotions increase adrenaline output, heart rate, and the stickiness of red blood cells, which combined can trigger heart attack. But there’s a reason you should still try to embrace more positive emotions to ward off heart attacks. “Positive emotions generally result in more balanced heart rhythms than negative emotions, and disrupted heart rhythms are a contributing factor in some heart attacks,” Rossman says.

Furthermore, he adds, “Because we tend to resist negative emotions, they produce more muscle tension than positive emotions, including tension in the muscles in the periphery of blood vessels. This blood vessel constriction also makes negative emotions more likely than positive emotions to contribute to heart attacks.”

How friendships, social interaction and your overall mood impact your health.

#6: Sex

Rounding out the top seven heart attack triggers is sex, which increases your chance of heart attack by 2.2 percent, the authors found. All that horizontal activity can raise blood pressure and heart rates, triggering a cardiac event. The various studies looking at the link between sex and heart attacks have all concluded that this risk is still relatively low for healthy people, somewhere around 1 chance in a million. But people already at risk for heart attacks should take it easy. The good news, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is that regular exercise can keep you from succumbing to a sex-induced heart attack.

 

Making Sense of Sun Safety

Since Memorial Day marks the start of summer (hooray!), the sun becomes a hot topic around this time every year (no pun intended). And, of course, with all of the magazine and news stories stressing the importance of sun protection, there are always a handful with a negative spin that try to scare us with less-than-savorysunscreen information. As a dermatologist, I understand that sunscreen isn’t 100 percent perfect, but other than totally sun avoidance, it’s the best thing we have to shield our skin from the sun. Sure, there are a few controversial topics related to the sun and sunscreens, and here’s the lowdown (and my opinion) on these hotly debated subjects.

Vitamin D

Yes, it’s a fact that vitamin D deficiency is an issue not only in our country, but also around the world. (Visit the NIH website for great information about vitamin D and how much you need.) While some researchers blame low vitamin D levels on increased sun avoidance, other factors such as inadequate nutrition must be considered as well. (Remember, vitamin D was added to milk long before any of us were on an anti-sun kick.) But a fear of vitamin D deficiency is not an excuse for skipping the sun protection—there are right and wrong ways to go about getting this vital nutrient.

Oral supplementation is certainly an option, but you can get your vitamin D naturally by allowing your arms and legs to get about 10 minutes of sun a few times a week. As long as roughly 25 percent of your body is exposed, this short period of time is all your body needs to make the vitamin D it needs (just be sure to wear sunscreen on your face and a hat to prevent aging!).

If you choose to go this route and you want even more peace of mind, check out these Natural Vitamin D UV Activation Sensors from Skin Health. You stick it on when you head outside, and it changes color when you’ve had enough sun for your body to produce vitamin D—and lets you know when it’s time to go indoors or apply sunscreen. Very cool!

Nanotechnology

Titanium dioxide is one of the most effective sunscreen ingredients available today, but there’s been some controversy surrounding the nanotechnology that is sometimes used to make the particles smaller in order to eliminate the chalky residue it leaves on the skin. While some scientists say that it’s possible for these super-small particles to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream—and potentially cause long-term side effects like cancer—I don’t believe this is an issue that should make us avoid titanium dioxide. The fact is, these studies about nanoparticles entering the bloodstream were based on inhalation exposure, not topical exposure, and the results of these studies on humans showed insufficient data. In fact, studies performed by the FDA found that this is not a risk when titanium dioxide is applied to intact skin. I am a fan of sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as a chemical-free option for those allergic to chemical sunscreens, children under 5 years of age, or for those who want to avoid exposure to chemicals. MDSolarSciences has several good chemical-free sunscreen options.

Retinyl palmitate

There have been recent reports about the purported dangers of retinyl palmitate in sunscreens. At this point, it seems prudent to avoid daily sunscreens that have retinyl palmitate in the first seven ingredients on the label, even though there is uncertainty whether or not there is a real risk. You do not need to avoid sunscreens containing retinol, beta carotene or other forms of vitamin A.

One thing we do know for sure is that long-term unprotected sun exposure definitely increases the risk of skin cancer, and is the number-one cause of wrinkles, uneven pigment and sun damage symptoms like rough, dry skin. So do your health and your beauty a favor this summer and make sunscreen a part of your daily skincare regimen. To make it even easier to choose the right one, go toSkinTypeSolutions.com and take the quiz to find out what sunscreens are right for your skin type.