Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunny Days are Here Again

Finally the sun is out and it was a beautiful morning for an easy run. The morning run in the sun, watching the ABC News Report, and the Kenny Rogers Seinfeld episode last night prompted me to think about sun health hazards. Yes, I am a Seinfeld fan. If you don’t watch Seinfeld, the scene is when Jerry comes stumbling into his apartment all frazzled and hyper after losing a night’s sleep because the red light from this huge neon chicken on the roof of the building next door is permeating the room where is he was trying to sleep. Jerry referred to the room as the “red planet.” So anyway, as he’s rubbing his eyes he said, “I can’t take it anymore. That red light is burning my brain.” You can find the scene on You Tube if you need a chuckle.
The sun can be brutal. Just recently my family and I went to Rocky Neck State Park when it was cloudy and foggy. Jenn ended up with a slight burn, even though she was exposed a short time. So remember to wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy. And, if you have a tan like I do after living in South Florida, sunscreen is not only for protecting against uncomfortable sunburn; it can save your life. I forget that sometimes.
The two primary rays are UVA and UVB. UV stands for ultraviolet. UVA penetrates deeper to the second layer of skin. UVB is called the “tanning ray” and only affects the surface. UV rays can cause cancer. Melanoma, one form of dangerous skin cancer, is on the rise. Here is a picture and link for more information.


There was a FDA report released yesterday requiring more stringent labeling for sunscreens. To summarize the report, only select broad spectrum sunscreens that are 15 SPF (sun protection factor) or higher provide adequate protection. Broad spectrum includes protection from UVA and UVB. Also, don’t listen to the “waterproof,” “water resistant,” or “sweatproof” claims. These words provide a false sense of feeling safe. Lather up with those sport and waterproof sunscreens like you would with any other sunscreen. In case you are wondering, spray or lotion provides the same protection. ABC News listed the below nine sunscreens as meeting the FDA requirements. Since this will not be enforced for another year, pay attention to the labels, like you do with foods.
SPF 30
Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30 ($1.60 per ounce)
Coppertone Sport Ultra Sweatproof SPF 30 ($1.67 per ounce)
CVS Fast Cover Sport SPF 30 ($1.33 per ounce)
Up & Up Sport SPF 30 (Target) ($0.88 per ounce)
SPF 40 to 50
No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 ($0.59 per ounce)
Equate Baby SPF 50 0.63 lotion ($0.63 per ounce)
Walgreens Sport SPF 50 1.33 spray ($1.33 per ounce)
Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 ($1.33 per ounce)
SPF 50+
Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 100 ($2.25 per ounce)
I did some checking on sunglasses and the protection they provide. According to Consumer Reports, it appears that a majority of sunglasses provide adequate UVA/UVB protection. Be sure to read the sunglasses. I won’t buy a pair unless it says that it provides at least 95% UVA and UVB protection. No label, don’t buy. If you are a bargain hunter like me, you don’t need to spend a lot of money for sunglasses. So, wear sunglasses for reasons other than looking cool.

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