Friday, June 17, 2011

Sun Protection: Making Sense out of Recent Information


It is that time of year when the warm sunny days can’t help but draw us outside to the pool, the golf course, the tennis court or just the park. For those of us in the northern states it is also time to flee the gym and take our exercise outside! But can we get too much of a good thing? Fortunately, technology can help us with proper sun management with the creation of high tech fabrics that not only look good, they protect against the UV rays that can damage your skin. Junonia uses the latest sun protective fabric technology to provide protection that doesn’t wash off from sweat or other moisture. These stylish pieces make time in the sun safer as well as more fun. Each is cool, quick dry and won’t wrinkle when you pack them for your travels or vacations. So get out and enjoy the outdoors in all its glory.

But don’t forget the creams for any exposed portions of your body. Face, back of the hands, ears, even your feet.

With the news of the FDA changing what claims can be made by sunscreen manufacturers, what is the latest thinking?

First, remember that everything washes off, so remember to reapply every couple of hours.

Then look for a “broad spectrum” product, one with zinc oxide if you are skin sensitive. It takes a little longer to work into your skin, but protects well and is less reactive.

Over 50 ratings? Probably not worth it. Dr. Warwick L. Morison, a professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University and chairman of the photobiology committee for the Skin Cancer Foundation, said in a recent New York Times article that he was disappointed that the F.D.A. failed to ban SPF numbers higher than 50 because such products expose people to more irritating sunscreen ingredients without meaningful added protection. “It’s pointless,” Dr. Morison said.

And what about harmful chemicals? There was a rat study reported that indicated concern about oxybenzone, a common element in sun screens. However, the levels in the study given to the rats were “extreme”. The researchers then reviewed the data on oxybenzone tested on humans, and they found no evidence of toxicity in the levels used by people for sun protection. For those who have reservations, some sunscreens are now made without oxybenzone, though they may not offer the same ultraviolet protection.

-Anne Kelly

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