Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer has come and so the need of sun protection

The first day of summer was pleasant but more like April than June 20th. We had a few more cold, wet days, then the sun came out. We had several days that reached highs into the '90s. It was hard on everyone. The animals were shedding their winter coats and so were the people. Skin that had been covered since last September was exposed to the wonderful rays of sunshine. Sunburns flourished. I forgot my feet, and got a sunburn around my sandal straps.

Sun protection is needed. It is not just a weakened atmosphere which lets through more harmful rays that causes this need. We are living longer, and this gives us a new set of concerns for health as we age. Modern science and technology is providing some nifty alternatives to protect ourselves that we have not had before.

Skin Protection
After the seemingly endless winter, sunny days are irresistible. Slathering sun protection on our skins seems unnecessary, but we need it. However, an organization called Environmental Working Group (EWH) reports that their study of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreen products found that most do not protect skin from damage, and contain harmful chemicals. Some of the worst offenders are leading brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena. I have a tube or bottle of a product from everyone of these companies.

They have a list of the ten best, and I did not recognize the brands, but check them out for yourself online at the Environmental Working Group website.

They did recommend common brands:
1. Blue Lizard (anything without oxybenzone)
2. California Baby (anything with SPF 30+)
3. CVS (with zinc oxide)
4. Jason Natural Cosmetics (Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock)
5. Kiss My Face ("Paraben Free" series)
6. Neutrogena (Sensitive Skin Sunblock )
7. Olay (Defense Daily UV Moisturizer (with zinc))
8. SkinCeuticals (Physical UV Defense)
9. Solar Sense (Clear Zinc for Face)
10. Walgreens (Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears).

This study, because it names brand names, is controversial, but they put their information out there for you to scrutinize at EWG. As far as I can tell, they do not have a horse in this race, making them a neutral party.

Sun Protection Clothes

You can buy clothes that protect you from the sun, but they are mostly in online stores. I find this alternative very attractive. Friends of mine are so senative to the sun or allergic to sunscreen that they either stay indoors or break our in sun rash. I have a hat that is a bit funky looking, but it works great with its wide brim that keep the sun off both my face and my neck. Below are links to six online stores that sell these clothes.

Solar Grubbies
Sun Precaution
Solar Eclipse
Solar Tex
SPF Store


The Mysterious Traveler said...

Just got a lecture from my gynecologist about the need for me to spend 20 minutes a day in the sun without any sun protection -- she says she's dealing with clients with vitamin D deficiencies. My solution has been to go without protection on weekdays (when I'm lucky to get 20 minutes out of the office) and slather on the sunscreen and zinc on the weekends.

mjholt said...

I like your alternative. I have wondered about the vitamin D issue, and I am not sure that pills provide enough usable vitamin D. I try to apply sunscreen because I don't seem to have any melanin anymore. I burn and peel.

Some times we have teenagers working on the farm (yes we have minor work permits), and they have this plumbers crack fashion going on that leaves a three to four inch strip just at the top of the buttocks burned. That has got to really hurt.