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Overwhelmed by too many sun protection options?

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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Success Stories Wellness Warriors

75 time skin cancer patient urges sunscreen use

You’ve heard the advice about wearing sunscreen over and over. But would it mean a little more coming from someone who’s survived skin cancer at least 75 times?

Dennis Hassel enrolled in the U.S. Navy when he was in his 20s. Between work and play, he spent about half of every day outside, often without a shirt and always without sunscreen.

Hassel, now 81, estimates he’s had basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer, 75 to 100 times. The cancerous growths appear on his face, side, neck, arms, back and chest and often look like small red spots that bleed and don’t heal.

Hassel has an appointment every three months with a dermatologist at the University of Virginia Health System, where any new spots are evaluated. Treatment usually requires cutting out the suspicious spot and sending it to a lab to ensure the doctor removed all the cancer. Sometimes his dermatologist freezes off the spot or gives him a cream to use.

Hassel thinks the x-ray acne treatments he used to get contributed to his recurring cancer, but, “it was mostly the sun,” he says. “I can’t say enough about getting the word out to people who think they’re immune to the sun. They’re not.”

Beyond just remembering to wear sunscreen (Hassel now wears 100 SPF), what can you do to avoid skin cancer? UVA dermatologist Mark Russell recommends you:

– Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before going outside.
– Reapply every 1-2 hours. Sunscreen can break down, wear off, wash off or sweat off.
– Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and make sure it hasn’t expired.
– Use about an ounce of sunscreen ­— the amount it takes to fill a shot glass — to cover your whole body.
– Stay in the shade when possible and avoid sun exposure during the hottest part of the day, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
– Wear a wide-brimmed hat — not a baseball cap — that protects your neck and ears.

The Skin Cancer Foundation has images and warning signs of each kind of skin cancer. If you find a suspicious spot, get it checked by a dermatologist immediately.

UVA dermatologists offer a free skin cancer screening every year. Currently, they’re also providing Coolibar hats to people who attend the screening and bring a less protective hat, like a baseball cap, to trade. Coolibar hats have the wide brims Dr. Russell recommends.

Photo: UVA Employee Kat modeling Coolibar hat used in hat swap program.

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Apply Sunscreen Sunscreens and Lotions

Learn what to look for when buying sunscreen

Choosing a sunscreen can be a daunting task, but it’s important to know how to choose reliable sun protection.

Jeff Bedard began his career in dermatology in 1984 and has spent the last 28 years developing and marketing some of the most innovative skin care solutions in the world. He’s the current CEO of Crown Laborieties, Inc., manufacturer of Blue Lizard sunscreen. Jeff answers common questions about Blue Lizard and sunscreen in general.

The FDA is telling sunscreen manufacturers to change their labels. Does Blue Lizard already meet the FDA’s new requirements for December 2012? What are these new requirements? 
Blue Lizard is making only minor modifications to its current labels to be fully compliant.  The biggest changes you will see on other labels is the removal of terms like “waterproof, sweatproof, all-day protection” along with the removal of the term “broad spectrum” protection unless the product has a critical wave length greater than 370 nm.  Some other changes you will see are the alphabetical listing of inactive ingredients and additional warnings on the label.

How do your products rate on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) safety data base?
Since EWG has started rating sunscreens, we have always been listed in the top 10 sunscreens, available in the U.S.  We have continued to innovate and formulate products that meet the highest safety standards, while providing the best protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Why don’t you carry anything higher than an SPF 30?
The reality is, if applied properly, an SPF 30+ sunscreen is all anyone needs.  While higher SPF products provide slightly better protection (less than 1% in most cases), the trade-off is a formula with large amounts of chemical absorbers needed to reach levels of SPF 50 or greater.  In most cases, this trade-off is not worth the benefit. Those ingredients, at those concentrations, can lead to allergic reactions and also negatively impact the cosmetic feel of the product. In the near future Crown Laboratories, Inc. will be introducing a higher SPF line that focuses on the active segment but without the pitfalls discussed above.

How do I know that the sunscreen is offering UVA protection as well as UVB? 
Currently there are only three ingredients approved by the FDA that cover past the 370 nm baseline, needed to provide true broad-spectrum protection.  Those are Avobenzone, Mexoryl and Zinc Oxide. If you want true broad spectrum protection, look for those active ingredients in your sunscreen of choice.  In reality, however, make sure to ask if the product has been tested and has passed the UVA test showing coverage past 370 nm. Blue Lizard has and covers past 370 nm.

Most sunscreen burns my face, so I have to use fragrance free sensitive skin types on my arms & chest but cannot find a brand that does not burn sensitive facial skin. Any tips? 
You are in luck, Blue Lizard Face is an oil free formula designed specifically for daily use on the face, neck and hands.  It is formulated with Zinc Oxide and Octinoxate to provide SPF 30+ protection. It also contains three powerful antioxidants: Green Tea, Caffeine and Vitamin E.  Hyaluronic Acid is also included in the Blue Lizard Face formula, which is a powerful humectant, keeping your skin moisturized.  More importantly, is what Blue Lizard Face does not contain. It is paraben free, fragrance free and oil free. Used daily your face will see remarkable improvement in the fight against the signs of aging.

Is there a way to reduce the white residue some zinc based sunscreens leave behind? It can be especially bad when I’m running outside and I start to sweat. 
Always apply sunscreen to dry skin prior to activity. If possible, massage the sunscreen into the skin and let the product absorb into the skin for at least 20 minutes prior to activity. When reapplying make sure the skin is dry and you have stopped perspiring prior to reapplication.

Are your products safe to use on babies/toddlers?
Our products are safe and effective for children above the age of 6 months. For children under 6 months you should always ask your physician.

Do your sunscreens contain nano-particles? If so, is this a concern?
Nano-particles seem to be a hot button of late. There is no credible scientific evidence that should raise a concern regarding these particles. Blue Lizard uses micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These particles are coated to allow even dispersion on the skin, which provides superior protection without the white residue.

What are the most effective sunscreen components/things to look for in a sunscreen? 
The best sunscreens are those that provide a physical barrier from the sun while also staying on the skin during activity. Look for sunscreens that have passed UVA testing and that are free of ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.

Do your products use chemical sunscreen filters or only physical? 
Our Sensitive and Baby formulas are physical protection only (Zinc and Titanium), while the Regular, Sport and Face are a combination of physical and chemical absorbers.

What makes Blue Lizard different from other sunscreen? 
Blue Lizard has stayed true to its heritage by providing Australian grade sun protection. Australia’s standards of water resistance and UVA protection lead the world. Blue Lizard uses patented active minerals to provide the best natural reflective protection available. We also test our products for 240 minutes in whirlpooled water to ensure they stay on during activity.

Blue Lizard was a joint venture between Premium Pharmaceuticals (Sydney, Australia) and Crown Laboratories, Inc. (Johnson City, TN) that began in 1998.  The company set out to change the way people, at risk of skin cancer, protected their skin from harmful UV exposure.  All of the research, development and manufacturing is now done in Crown’s 180,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in TN.

Shop Blue Lizard Sunscreen

Learn more about Blue Lizard on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bluelizardsunscreen
Learn more about sun protective clothing on Facebook: www.facebook.com/coolibar

Blue Lizard Sunscreen
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Apply Sunscreen Educate Others Sunscreens and Lotions

FDA Sunscreen Label Changes Postponed

Sunscreen Label Changes

Consumer, beware of misleading sunscreen labels in your local drug stores this summer. Last Friday (May 11, 2012) the Food and Drug Administration announced it will no longer force sunscreen manufactures to change their labels to better inform consumers by June 18, 2012. Manufactures now have until December 2012, a six month extension, and smaller manufactures will have as long as December 2013. The decision to extend the deadline stemmed from a concern that sunscreen demand would outweigh supply of sunscreen if bottles had to be removed from shelves due to inaccurate labeling. This gives sunscreen manufactures more time to change over to the new guidelines without diminishing supply.

Over the summer, expect to see labels that state “waterproof”, “sweatproof” or “sunblock”, even though dermatologists claim them to be misleading. Board Certified Dermatologist Jamie Davis, M.D, says, “No sunscreen blocks 100% of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, so calling it sunblock provides a false sense of security to consumers. Also, the SPF rating on sunscreen only rates UVB (burning) rays, not UVA (aging) rays. Consumers will need to look for labels that state ‘broad spectrum’ on the bottle for UVA and UVB protection and at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 plus to prevent sunburn and skin cancer.” On new labels, only sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher that also pass a broad spectrum test will be able to claim “prevents skin cancer”. A mix of old and new labels will appear on the shelves throughout summer as some manufactures have already changed their labeling standards.

To protect skin, Dr. Davis recommends purchasing sunscreens that are SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum and water or sweat-resistant. Also look for active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Apply at least a shot glass full to exposed skin (not applying enough is a common mistake). Continue to reapply throughout the day. For the best protection, members of the American Academy of Dermatology recommend using sun protective clothing as the primary form of protection in the sun including a wide brim hat, sunglasses and clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Apply Sunscreen SunAWARE Sunscreens and Lotions

New FDA Sunscreen Guidelines Effective June 18th

Last summer (June 17th, 2011) the FDA published a final rule regarding labeling and effectiveness testing for over-the-counter sunscreen products, marketed without an approved application.  The final rule and compliance guidelines (listed below) are fast approaching and go into effect on Monday, June 18, 2012, which is only 8 weeks away.

Consumers need to be aware that there is some lag time between the effective date of the new guidelines and what is available at your local pharmacy or sunscreen retailer.   The FDA does not expect non-compliant products delivered or introduced prior to June 18, 2012, to be removed from the market.  Therefore, product delivered to customers, even if they are in the manufacturers’ warehouse prior to the effective date, can continue to be shipped and sold.  For products with annual sales of less than $25,000, the compliance date is extended to June 17, 2013.

Sunscreen in combination with other measures, including sun protective clothing can help prevent skin cancer and early skin aging.  The new requirements are intended to assist consumers in making informed purchasing decisions and to avoid overvaluing the radiation protection provided by certain sunscreen products.   For the greatest protection from your sunscreen, look for the following:

Broad Spectrum – indicates protection from UVA

Minimum of SPF 15 – indicates protection from UVB the sunburn causing rays (SPF does not give any indication of UVA protection).

The final rule includes the following requirements:

  • Water resistance claims on the principal display panel must specify either 40 or 80 minutes of effectiveness while swimming or sweating, based on testing.  “Waterproof,” “sweatproof,” and “sunblock” claims are not permitted.
  • Claims that the product, in combination with other sun protection measure, reduces the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging are permitted only for broad spectrum products with SPF 15 and higher, and those concepts may also be reflected in the “Use” sections of these products’ Drug Facts boxes.  Non-broad spectrum products and product with SPF values below 15 can only claim to prevent sunburn and must include a skin cancer/skin aging warning.
  • All sunscreen products, including all cosmetic products making an SPF claim, must include the standard Drug Facts information.  The only exception to his requirement under the final rule is the standard “small package” reduced labeling permitted by the Drug Facts rule.

Learn more about labeling requirements from our post FDA Updates Sunscreen Regulations.

Learn more about top rated sunscreens from the Environmeal Working Group.

Learn more about Coolibar Suncreens, which are all Broad Spectrum and SPF 30 or higher.

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Expert Rx Inside Coolibar

The Best Dermatologist Recommended Methods of Sun Protection

For the past 9 years Coolibar, the nation’s leading sun protective clothing manufacturer, has conducted a survey among the nation’s dermatologists during the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), to determine their recommendations for the best methods of sun protection.

Research results from the 70th Annual Meeting, the largest meeting on record, held in San Diego, CA, March 17-19, 2012 revealed a unified response. The overwhelming majority of American dermatologists now believe that UPF clothing should be the first line of defense in sun protection followed by sunscreen.  This attitude is held by 95.1% of American dermatologists (+/- 1.2% at the 95% confidence level) and is based on 1,265 survey participants.

“We know that the most effective sun protection comes from using a combination of methods including sun protective clothing and hats as a foundation plus sunglasses and sunscreens,” said John Barrow, founder and president of Coolibar.  This year’s survey results highlight the importance of including sun protective clothing in summer wardrobes and come on the heels of the new guidelines for sunscreens from the FDA.

In addition to clothing, the top 10 sunscreen brands recommended by U.S. dermatologists were revealed.  A mix of mass market brands combined with specialty brands are listed in order of the frequency with which they are recommended to patients:

  1. Neutrogena
  2. Aveeno
  3. Elta
  4. La Roche-Posay
  5. Blue Lizard
  6. Coppertone
  7. Vanicream
  8.  SolBar
  9. CeraVe
  10.  Eucerin
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Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing

Packing for a Warm Weather Get Away

Economization is the keyword when planning for any vacation. Many of us go through exhausting efforts to spend less, carry less and worry less. Accomplishing these three objectives doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know the pre-travel task to focus on – your packing list.

New York Style Expert Bridgette Raes agrees that packing less and focusing on bringing versatile items is important. In an interview with She Knows Beauty and Style on packing stylish for an international beach getaway, Raes says, “Remember very little of what you pack should only be worn once. Keep pieces simple so that they have more mix and match ability and don’t forget accessories either.  They can easily take a look from day to evening, or change up an outfit when you wear it more than once.  Plus they take up very little space.”

With this in mind, our designers at Coolibar devised some simple warm get-away travel solutions that will save you the packing space, checking that extra luggage and of course, keep you covered from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

 

1. A single Packable Wide Brim Hat is a must whether you’ll be spending time on the beach or sightseeing.  Look for a hat that’s crushable, has a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), and can be paired with beach, casual and even dress wear. Floppy brim hats tend to be the most versatile.

2. Pack one bottle of broad-spectrum sunscreen to apply to exposed skin, including your face.  In order to prevent having to pack multiple bottles for multiple purposes, find a sunscreen such as Cotz that’s oil-free and won’t clog pores so you can wear it on your face as well. Also, make sure the sunscreen you bring is water resistant and blocks both UVB and UVA rays (or contains ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide).

3. UV Swimwear is a necessity in sunny climates. Bring your bikini, but look for a cover-up or a Swim Jacket that can slip right over your suit. Cover-ups also work for bumming around the local town.  If you want more leg coverage, pack a pair of Swim Capris to match your cover-up.

4. A packable dress can be accessorized to look different and be worn more than once during your vacation. It should be made of a wrinkle resistant fabric that can easily hang in the bathroom while showering to release the wrinkles. Something like a Shirt Dress will fit right-in at the resort night and day.

5. Both sun protective and chic accessories including a colorful scarf and a variety of jewelry will help you make outfits look a little different each time you wear them. Having a scarf handy is also an easy way to get instant sun protection for your décolletage, which is often neglected and vulnerable to sun damage . And don’t forget a good pair of sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.

Now get ready for a great vacation!

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Inside Coolibar

Fall Camping Gear

Coolibar employee and camping enthusiast Amanda lets you in on a little secret to make your days outdoors easier.  It also may save you from packing piles of clothes and lugging jugs of sunscreen from place-to-place during every trip to the great outdoors. What’s her secret? …

Tent camping is one of my favorite ways to spend the weekend. Each summer and fall I travel to state parks throughout the Midwest to kayak, bike, tube, hike and cook over the campfire. I have my list of essentials for each weekend excursion that make roughing-it easier,  such as my trusty LED lantern, Swiss Army knife, pie iron and soap sheets for quick dishwashing.  Recently, I added a new item to my list of must have camping gear, the Coolibar Weekend ZnO Pullover. I live in this shirt every weekend I’m outside for an extended period of time, and the fabric feels comfortable day and night.

I’ll admit, I starting working for Coolibar a little over a year ago, but I hope that doesn’t dissuade anyone from trying out a shirt with the ZnO SUNTECT® material because it is fabulous!  ZnO SUNTECT® feels like jersey cotton, it’s slightly stretchy, super soft and lightweight. The sun protection in the fabric comes from zinc oxide, an ingredient used in physical sunscreens that block UVA and UVB rays. The zinc oxide is permanently embedded into the fibers, so I don’t worry about it washing out. The zinc oxide not only protects skin better than sunscreen by reflecting 98% of UV rays, but I can go about my activities without worrying about reapplying sunscreen everywhere. It also keeps me cool since less than 2% of the sun’s rays penetrate through the shirt. I doubly love it because my dermatologist strongly recommends wearing sun protection year-round, and my Weekend ZnO Pullover  makes following the doc’s orders a cinch. Best of all and what makes the ZnO material so great, is that when I feel extra lazy after a long day of exploring, I don’t have to change because it keeps me warm when sitting by this fire.  It’s a serious all-in-one find!

If you are a minimalist when it comes to packing for a weekend of fall camping and you want easy-to-use sun protection, I strongly suggest trying a Coolibar long-sleeve shirt made of ZnO SUNTECT® fabric.

Amanda

Coolibar Employee

Shopping on Coolibar.com? Look for the ZnO SUNTECT® symbol on the item page.

Convertible ZnO T-Shirt
Weekend ZnO Pullover
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Expert Rx

Dermatologist Plea: Use Sun Protection Year Round

Now that fall has arrived, your skin care regimen may change, but please leave sun protection in the mix. UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays are present year-round, whether cloudy or sunny.  By forgoing sun protection in the fall and winter, you may be exposing your skin to sun damage, which accumulates slowly over-time causing age spots, wrinkles or worse. Take it from Dr. Cynthia Bailey who has been practicing dermatology in California for over 24 years. Never tuck your sun protection away, even for a day.

Expert advice from Dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, M.D.

You know that you should protect your skin from the summer sun, but what about the rest of the year? And what about the morning and late afternoon, do you know if that sun will cause wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer? You’ve noticed that the sun feels weaker in the non-summer months and in the morning and afternoon, can it still damage your skin if you don’t sun protect?

I see a lot of patients in my dermatology practice with tanned and wrinkled skin who tell me that because they walk or swim in the morning or during the non-summer months that they don’t need sunscreen or sun protective clothing.  They think that because the sun feels weaker they’re safe. Yes, the sunburn ray called UVB is less intense then, but the sun still damages your skin and the tan and wrinkles are the evidence.

The reason the sun is harmful is that UVA rays are out in full intensity; they’re out all day, all year, and at the same intensity as mid-day in the summer!  This means that from sunup to sundown, January or July you’re getting the same hit of UVA. Plus, UVA penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB causing significant and irreversible damage to the deeper parts, and this causes wrinkles.  As if that’s not enough, your sunscreen SPF value tells you nothing about how well your product blocks UVA.  In fact many products don’t do a good job blocking the UVA rays, which is one of the big criticisms of sunscreens.

I’m writing this post in September and I hope that it will help you plan great sun protection for your skin as we move into fall and winter.  Don’t slack off on your sun protection just because the sunburn ray is less intense and the sun feels less damaging. You need to take UVA seriously, which means you need really good protection from UVA.

UVA is bad news! It penetrates skin more deeply than the sunburn ray UVB and the havoc it wreaks on your skin is caused by free radicals.  These free radicals cause a damage that leads to skin thinning (atrophy), which is what causes most of the wrinkles and skin fragility that we erroneously associate with aging (extrinsic aging of the skin as opposed in intrinsic aging).  Thin, fragile skin tears and bruises easily as you get older and we can’t reverse it.  UVA is also linked to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma.  To reiterate, UVA damage is not reversible which means prevention is really important.

Even on brisk fall days, the sun's UV rays are present.

What’s my advice for the best year round UVA sun protection for your skin?

1.  Keep the sun off your skin with sun protective clothing and a full brim hat

Try to cover as much of your skin as possible and when it’s not really hot outside this is easy to do.  Remember, when you depend on sunscreen alone you need a ‘thick and sticky coat’ every 2 hours, and that’s hard to keep up with.  Plus, a sunscreen’s protection isn’t perfect and neither is your application of it.  My preference is that you wear sun protective clothing for the best sun protection.  Ideally you want to wear clothes that protects your full arms and chest too.  These are areas where people get a lot of unfortunate skin thinning from sun damage because they wear short sleeved v-neck shirts.  During hot weather or outdoor athletic activities wear functional garments like swim shirts and tights, ventilated sun protective shirts etc.  Don’t skimp on yourself, create a wardrobe that really protects your skin. 

2.  Wear broad spectrum sunscreen everyday on all the skin that’s left uncovered

This includes your face, neck, ears and the back of your hands.  Make sure your sunscreen product blocks UVA well.  In my opinion, this means using a product with 5% or more micronized zinc oxide. Sunscreen formulation is still tricky though which is why I stick with a small group of products that I’ve seen work over and over for my patients and my family.  Sunscreen product failure is all too common with other sunscreens, you need a product that you can trust especially with UVA because the UV ray doesn’t cause a quick sunburn and it may take weeks to figure out that your product is letting UVA through.  I also don’t recommend that you rely on a facial moisturizer for UVA protection because most don’t do a good job at that.  Remember the SPF tells you only about UVB protection, not about UVA protection.  Be deliberate about your daily application of sunscreen, use only a broad spectrum product so that you have the UVA protection you need to keep your skin healthy and strong.

3.  Add high concentration antioxidant skin care products to your facial skin care routine and apply them everyday

Scientific studies have shown that applying highly concentrated antioxidants to your skin really does reduce UV damage.  The best are the green tea polyphenols, vitamin C and E.  There is no regulation on these products though meaning any skin cream or serum can make grand claims about containing antioxidants yet include only a minute ‘fairy dusting’ concentration that doesn’t do anything.  A recent study of sunscreen products with added antioxidants showed that the incidental amounts added to those products did not provide free radical protection and had no antioxidant power when tested in the laboratory.  With the right products though I’ve seen my patients get real results (fewer precancerous lesions for me to treat during their checkups).  These products are the two Replenix Creams and the C/R/S vitamin C serum that I sell from my web store. 

4.  Don’t forget to seek the shade to sun protect your skin

As the weather gets colder it’s so tempting to want to sit in the direct sun, but only do that with sun protective clothing and sunscreen on.  Keep your skin out of the sun as much as possible.  Remember that UV rays bounce off pavement, sand, rocks, buildings etc.  If you’re getting a tan you’re exposed.

5.  Don’t listen to people who tell you to get non-summer, morning or afternoon sun to prevent vitamin D deficiency

Remember, UVA doesn’t make vitamin D in your skin so resist that false advice to get year round sun exposure for your vitamin D production.  Most places in the world only have enough UVB rays during the summer to make meaningful vitamin D in your skin.  Even then, I don’t recommend using your skin as a vitamin D factory because it gives doctors like me job security.  Vitamin D is pretty complex and I always recommending talking to your personal doctor for advice.  To read more about my opinion on vitamin D and the sun click here to read my article Are You Really Getting Vitamin D From The Sun Or Just Nuking Your DNA?

Reference: Ex vivo evaluation of radical sun protection factor in popular sunscreens with antioxidants, Steven Q. Wang, MD et. al., Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2011;65:525-30

More from Dr. Bailey at http://www.drbaileyskincare.com/blog/.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Expert Rx

Sun Protection Following Cosmetic Procedures

Dr. Shauna Kranendonk is a board-certified dermatologist in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, who specializes in cosmetic and surgical dermatology and has been in private practice since 2000. Dr. Kranendonk’s knowledge in cosmetic dermatology is recognized nationally. In the past year, she has co-authored two textbook chapters, including “Skin Rejuvenation” in the surgical textbook Cosmesis of the Face and Jaw, and “Proprietary Peels” in the dermatology textbook Chemical Peels. Dr. Kranendonk shares her expertise with Coolibar on how to avoid scarring, age spots, new lines and wrinkles by using sun protection after chemical peels and laser treatments.

Everyday patients come into my office looking for ways to look younger.  For skin that is weathered from years of sun exposure, I recommend chemical peels and laser treatments.  These procedures can be performed on virtually any area of the body but most commonly are performed on the face, neck, chest, arms and legs. 

When educating patients about these treatments, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of sun protection, in the form of sunscreen and sun protective clothing. The healing process for peels, varies from 3-7 days.  Laser resurfacing is typically 7-10 days for face, longer for chest and lower extremities. Sunburn during the healing stage can result in scarring.  In addition, patients who don’t properly protect their skin from the sun following chemical peels or laser procedures are at risk for developing dark patches of skin in the treated areas. This complication is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  With treatment, it can take up to several months to resolve.  It is much easier to prevent this complication by avoiding sun exposure during the healing phase. 

The benefits of peels and procedures don’t wear off after a given length of time.  What I tell patients after their procedure is, we’ve turned the clock back, and now it starts ticking again.  Good sun protection will keep the clock ticking at a slower rate and sun exposure will speed it up.

Sun protective clothing helps keep the skin safe from sun exposure following skin rejuvenation procedures.  Sun protective clothing has the unique advantage of being a broad spectrum physical block, which won’t sweat off like sunscreens will.  In addition, many sunscreens sting and burn when applied to the skin, especially following chemical peels or laser treatments, and they don’t provide sufficient sun protection.  Sun protective lightweight breathable fabrics, such as Coolibar SUNTECT® fabrics, help keep the skin from overheating, providing comfortable, safe sun protection.  With sun protective clothing, sun-related complications can be avoided.  And, you can keep your skin healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Shauna Kranendonk, MD
Coastal Dermatology Cosmetic, Laser & Surgery Center

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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