Thursday, July 2, 2009

SPF Overkill

You know those products which brag a sun protection factor (SPF) of 75, 100 or more? You know it, complete overkill. But my musing about why and when you would need 100 times sun protection lead to some interesting thoughts from UW Health dermatologist Dr. George Reizner. He says the outrageous SPF's are nothing but gimmicks. Reizner admits companies that make sunscreen are doing a much better job creating products that filter out more harmful rays. But Reizner says if you fixate on numbers as you slather on the sunscreen, there's a false sense of security that you can loll in the sun for as long as you want, without reapplying protection. You may not get sunburned, but you're getting light nonetheless, including harmful ultraviolet light. Reizner says sun protection is a matter of common sense. Look for products with zinc oxide and titanimum oxide that areappropriate for your skin type, interpret products that are labeled "water proof" as water resistant and reapply it a few times not just before hitting the beach. Reizner says companies are so busy out-doing each other on SPF that before we know it, SPF 10,000 products will be on the shelves. I thought I had a real scoop. I started out researching a story about high SPF products and ended up with news that companies are developing 10,000 SPF products! He was kidding. See, there's a sucker born every minute.

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