Overwhelmed by too many sun protection options?

Jul 13, 2012 No Comments by

The Huffington Post recently published a great article titled “Sun Protection: Products to Keep Your Skin Safe This Summer”. The slideshow goes through all of the essential sun protection accessories anyone would need when spending time outdoors this summer. We’re excited that the media realizes the importance of educating people about the need for sun protection. However, not all sun protection is created equal, and with so many options to choose from, the search to find quality sun protection can be overwhelming. Don’t get confused by an overwhelming amount of sun protection information. We’ll take your through what to look for in sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, shade, and sun protective clothing.

SUNSCREEN

Broad-spectrum and SPF 30+

No sunscreen blocks 100% of UV. It only screens out a certain percentage of UVB (burning rays), and if it’s labeled broad-spectrum, it will help screen out UVA (aging rays) as well. Research provides evidence that both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.

Choose sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher with broad-spectrum protection. The FDA proposed that the maximum SPF value on labeling should be SPF 50 as there in no significant evidence that higher sun protection factors provide more protection. So anything rated between 30 to 50 SPF will provide sufficient UV coverage.

Water and Sweat Resistant

The FDA’s new sunscreen guidelines, which go into affect December 2012, state the term “sweat-proof” can no longer be used on sunscreen labels, as sunscreens are only “water or sweat resistant”.  So look for water and sweat-resistant labels if you’re going to be active outdoors. Additionally, the FDA will require water resistance claims on the principal display panel to specify either 40 or 80 minutes of effectiveness while swimming or sweating, based on testing, in the future. Never-the-less, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends reapplying all sunscreens approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.  

Lotions vs. Spray Sunscreen

According to the AAD, while spray sunscreen is convenient, it must be rubbed into the skin after spraying on generously. According to Environmental Working Group, the potential for inhaling sunscreens may also impose future health risks. DO NOT INHALE. It may be better to opt for creams and lotions on young children.

Read our post: FDA Sunscreen Guidelines

 

SUN HATS

Baseball Caps vs. Wide Brim Hats

Traditional baseball caps do not cover the back of the neck, sides of face or ears. Look for a wide brim hat with a 3” brim or larger that circles the crown. If you’re looking for a baseball style hat, look for one with a flap that covers your ears and back of neck such as a legionnaire style.

Straw Hats vs. Canvas Hats

Straw, unless tightly woven, is not an effective UV blocker. In fact, UV will pass through most straw hats. Check the UPF rating before buying or look for straw hats with material sewn underneath the brim for sun protection.

Read our post: Choosing the Perfect Sun Hat

 

SUNGLASSES

When choosing sunglasses, look for the label UV400 or Blocks 99-100% of UV Rays. Wrap style sunglasses block UV that seeps in the sides of sunglasses.

Read our post: Shield Your Eyes: 4 Simple Sun Protection Tips

 

UMBRELLAS AND SHADE STRUCTURES

While beach umbrellas do provide some shade, don’t solely rely on them. UV rays reflect off sand and water. Or look for attachable beach umbrella accessories, such as the EzShade, that block reflected UV.

Read our post: Is Your Shade Structure Shading Your Kids Enough?

 

SUN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Sun protective clothing is rated by ultraviolet protection factor (UPF not SPF). The ratings are similar to SPF except UPF rates both UVA and UVB protection whereas SPF only rates UVB. AAD Dermatologists recommend sun protective clothing as the number one go-to for excellent sun protection.

Read our post: Sun Protective Clothing – Your Best Defense Against the Sun

Visit coolibar.com for sun protection you can rely on.

To see the Huffington Post’s original article, click here.

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