Clothing and Lip Balms
Clothing. Start with a hat, because those harmful rays reach your scalp and your ears when you leave your noggin unprotected. And remember, baseball caps are not nearly as effective as hats with broad brims, because they leave your ears exposed.
Garments designed to ward off skin-cancer-causing rays are now available in specialty stores. These are given an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, indicating how much of the sun's rays are absorbed by the fabric. Articles with UPF 30, for example, allow only 1/30 of UV light to penetrate.
These clothes are a foolproof way of shielding against skin damage, says Cyndi Yag-Howard, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist and SPF clothing entrepreneur in Naples, Fla. "They basically act like a really good sunscreen," she says, noting most people don't apply enough sunscreen for it to be effective.
At the same time, there's no need to buy special products for sun protection. Try your closet. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, clothes with certain qualities can prevent harmful rays from reaching the skin.
- Garments made of unbleached cotton, high-luster polyesters, and thin, satiny silk can absorb or reflect UV radiation, preventing damaging rays from reaching the skin.
- Darker materials tend to absorb UV light, keeping it away from your body.
- Clothes with tight weaves or knits prevent penetration of harmful rays.
Lip balm. The lip is a common site for skin and lip cancer, primarily because of extended sun exposure. Cracked, peeling, scaly lips that aren't helped by lip balm or petroleum jelly may be signs of actinic keratoses. The condition can be the earliest stage of the development of skin cancer, and has the potential to progress to deadlier forms of the disease. People either forget to put sunscreen or balm in the area, or lick it off. To fully protect lips:
- Look for lip-specific products that have SPF 15 or higher, recommends Shelton. Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher if you have a history of lip and skin cancer.
- Apply lip product every two hours or so, based on the amount of contact with the UV rays.
- While in the sun, stay away from baby oil, petroleum jelly, or high-shine lip gloss.
- If you decide to wear lipstick, try darker shades as they provide more UV defense than sheer, glossy ones.
- Better yet, wear lipstick with SPF, or apply a lip conditioner with SPF and antioxidants under lipstick for extra moisture and protection.
Sunglasses and Cosmetics
Sunglasses. Oversized sunglasses are in again this year, with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton sporting their large shades. Even aviator styles for men are rounder and bigger.
The trends have no better fan than Neil Hodur, OD, professor of optometry at the Illinois College of Optometry. "The more of the eye you can cover, the less the intensity of light ... to reach the back part of the eye," he says.