Sunday, June 10, 2007

Covering Up Can Save Your Life

In case you didn’t get the memo, summer is in full force which means wearing tank tops and short shorts or mini-skirts have become the dress code for accommodating sweltering temperatures. (Actually, pair shorts and mini-skirts with a loose, voluminous shirt for balance; where’s the mystery in tight-fitting clothes?)

Unfortunately, I ignored the memo about the harmful effects of skin damage and may very well pay the consequences (amongst the numerous freckles on my arms and my face are varied-sized white spots, indication of skin damage). Thankfully, odd-shaped moles and/or increasing-sized brown spots have yet to surface but what about in five to 10 years from now? I don’t have to wait to hear those scary words “skin cancer” before I take action, all I need to do is look at family history. As one of ten kids, our Mexican-Irish heritage produced a range of skin tones. My likeness to Irish left me faired skin and prone to sunburns growing up. Despite my mother’s warnings, I lathered up in baby oil or Coppertone Sun Tanning lotion only to radiate in hot pink - not exactly the beautiful brown some of siblings possessed. Fast-forward 20 years and while I tend to tan instead of burn oddly enough, several of my older siblings are experiencing the results of childhood sun-bakes. Their frequent trips to the dermatologist to have pre-cancerous moles removed was the alarm I needed to change my relationship with the sun. I will always be a heat monger and rely on the sun to boost my energy and mood, but I choose to engage from a distance. That distance that separates me from my once-beloved friend is SPF moisturizers and body lotion and now fabrics that contain UVA and UVB protection.

To learn about skin cancer and how to prevent it, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Web site at

A few factoids: (source: Skin Cancer Foundation)

• UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing is a colorless compound that shields those parts of the body most likely to be overexposed to the sun.
• Effective sun-protective clothes have an UPF of 15 – 50+
• Darker-colored fabrics are more effective than lighter fabrics at blocking out the sun (white tees only have an average of sun protection factor SPF 7, yet a long-sleeved dark denim shirt offers an SPF 1,700!)
• When washing clothes, add specialized laundry detergents that contain sun-protective ingredients such as Rit Sun Guard test.
• Opt for high-luster polyesters and thin satiny silk due to their blocking of radiation.

Sun-Protective Clothing, Accessories and Beauty Products

BTC Innovations Casual Clothing
Clothing with UPF 30 – 50+

Solar Eclipse –
Offers clothing and accessories for adults, youth, and children

Solumbra –
Shaun Hughes experienced the harmful effects of sun damage the hard way – skin cancer. After beating the odds, Hughes turned his experience into a fashion crusade by developing Solumbra, a line of sun-protective clothing that blocks more than 97% of UVA and UVB rays. The clothing is most advantageous for medically sun sensitive people; however, everyone can benefit from the range of hats, shirts, skirts, and accessories.

Sun Protection Clothing –
Online shopping for UPF-certified tees, sweatshirts/hoodies, children’s swimwear, and accessories.

SPF 15 Oil-Free Moisturizer and 30 Healthy Defense daily moisturizer light tint. I don’t leave the house without wearing this dermatological-approved moisturizer.

Kiss My Face Sun Swat –
Remember to spray on this sunscreen and natural bug repellent before heading to the beach or mountains.

Korres Yogurt After-Sun Face and Body Gel -
Cool down inflamed skin with this soothing gel.