Summer Skin Smarts: Tips for Healthy Summer Skin

June 14, 2010

How to read your sun protection label:

  • Sunscreen vs. Sunblock: The names are used almost interchangeably now but there is a difference.
  • Sunscreen is like the screen in your windows, allowing penetration of some rays, about 89 percent filter.
  • Sunblock is more protective. It often has physical blockers like titanium dioxide and will filter out about 97 percent of UV rays, giving maximum protection against the sun at an early age.
  • The SPF-number refers only to UVB protection, NOT UVA. You need to look for certain ingredients to assure UVA/UVB protection. Both UVA and UVB play role in skin cancer and photo damage of the skin. Look for products containing: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mexoryl, helioplex.
  • Don't forget cancer-prone spots like the tips of the ears, back of the neck and tops of the feet--especially if you wear flip-flops and sandals all summer long.
  • We know that sunburns and large amounts of sun exposure at a young age (prior to age 18) is a HUGE risk for skin cancer later in life.

    Bug Spray and Sunblock:

  • Confusion over two-in-one products.
  • It's better to use separate products.

    Summer Rashes: Poison Ivy vs. Poison Oak

  • Both are caused by contact with the oil on the plant.
  • Home remedies include:
  • For a mild reaction (rash or blisters), use oatmeal bath (Aveeno) or over the counter hydrocortisone.
  • Oil from plant can stay on clothes and pet fur, so it's important to wash all clothing that was in contact with the plant as well as the dog who may have brushed up against the plant.
  • If the rash continues for more than a few days, itching is severe, or involves skin around mouth, eyes or genitals, you should see your dermatologist because you will likely need some oral medication.

    What to look for with sunglass labeling:

  • Shop wisely. Sunglasses should be polarized to prevent glare and should also filter more than 95% of sunlight.
  • · People who play and work outside have a higher risk of cataract formation. UV damage to the eye is associated with vision loss (macular degeneration).

    What's new with outdoor SPF clothing:

  • A t-shirt has an SPF of 8, so it's better than nothing.
  • There are clothing lines, including swimsuits that have SPF protection built into the fabric. Solumbra and Coolibar both make nice sun-protective clothing lines: (,
  • Visors do not protect the top of your scalp, so a better choice would be a hat made with sun-wicking material such as Dry-Fit.

    For more information about summer skin smarts, visit

    >b>Free Skin Cancer Screening Tour Stops in Chicago and Surrounding Areas: How Five Minutes Can Save Your Life

    Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than one million cases diagnosed annually across the country. Skin cancer is also one of the most preventable and curable form of cancer if it is detected early. The Skin Cancer Foundation's Road to Healthy Skin Tour will be making stops in the Chicago area. The goal of the tour is to save lives by detecting skin cancers early on, and educating the public about skin cancer prevention by means of sun protection and the need for prompt, effective treatment.

    WHO: The Skin Cancer Foundation with the help of local dermatologists

    WHAT: The Skin Cancer Foundation's Road to Healthy Skin Tour presented by AVEENO and Rite Aid will be stopping by the Chicago area in the Tour's 38-foot customized RV to offer free full body skin cancer screenings and the latest skin cancer information to the public. Screenings by local dermatologsits are first come, first serve. For more information, visit

    WHEN: Thursday, June 17 through Monday, June 21.

    Thursday, June 17
    10am - 4pm
    Centegra Health, 10450 Algonquin Rd, Huntley
    Dr. Vic Khanna

    Friday, June 18
    11am - 4pm
    Sports Authority, 155 East Townline Rd, Vernon Hills
    Dr. Martha Arroyo and Dr. Cara Garretson

    Saturday, June 19
    1pm -5pm
    Sports Authority, 7125 Kingery Highway, Willowbrook
    Dr. Renuka Bhatt

    Monday, June 21
    10am - 2pm
    Oak Brook Family Rec Center, 1450 Forest Gate Rd, Oak Brook
    Dr. Jeffrey Hsu and Dr. Alix J Charles and Dr. Julie Moore

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