No More Cover-Ups
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
A burn can ruin anyone's holiday weekend -- and increase their risk of skin cancer. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure it blocks both UVA and UVB waves and has a sun protection factor of 15 or higher, Katz says. Active ingredients to look for on the bottle include avobenzone (Parsol), micronized zinc oxide, or micronized titanium dioxide.
"Apply it every couple of hours or more if you perspire or swim," Katz says. Also, wash your clothing with Rit Sun Guard, a laundry treatment/additive that makes clothing more sunproof.
"I definitely recommend using Rit Sun Guard for light-colored bathing suits, blouses, and T-shirts," Katz says. It's available wherever laundry detergents are sold. And don't forget to wear a hat to protect your head and eyes.
Toes and Feet
New York podiatrist Suzanne Levine, DPM, author of My Feet Are Killing Me! Dr. Levine's Complete Foot Care Program, says to start with a proper pedicure. Make sure nails are cut straight and across, she says. Push your cuticles back, but don't cut them.
"Soak your feet, use pumice on the heel, and then apply a lanolin cream," she says.
If you want to wear nail polish, use base coat and a bleaching agent. "Take breaks to give your nails time to aerate, so if you go to the beach on the weekend, keep your polish off for at least two days per week," she says.
Do yourself a favor and bring your own sterilized equipment when you go for a pedicure. And before you dip your feet in a prepedicure footbath, drop in a capful of betadine solution or household bleach to the footbath to kill the fungi that can cause infection, Levine says.
Look for fungus or thickened nails. She recommends topical antifungals containing tea tree oil, an herbal antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral agent that thins out the nail. There are also oral antifungal drugs available with a prescription, including Sporonox and Lamisil.
But now there's a first-ever topical prescription treatment to fight nail fungus -- Penlac Nail Lacquer. Applied to the nails once daily at bedtime, Penlac blocks the growth of fungi. Studies conducted by researchers at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Center and the University of Toronto have shown that the lacquer eradicates toenail fungus in as much as 70% of users. For fingernails, the cure rate is around 85%. Be forewarned, though: It can take up to 48 weeks for your new, fungus-free nails to grow out, so you might want to go ahead and get started now for next spring.