Summer Sun Safety

Jul 6, 2018

We need sunshine to make vitamin D, yet, we hear so much about the danger of too much sun radiation contributing to an increase of skin cancer risk. So what should you do? Moderation, of course! “Sunscreen should be your last resort.”

  • Wear clothes to protect your skin from direct exposure
  • Plan around the sun (strongest between 10 am and 4 pm) for outside activity, when possible
  • Find shade – or make it. Umbrella, anyone?
  • Don’t get burned!
  • Sunglasses are essential; your eyes need protection too!
  • Check your local UV index, like the one on (

If you’re going to wear sunscreen, know these things:

  • High SPF (sun protection factor) products can be misleading and lead to a false sense of security
  • Sunscreen active ingredients can fall in 2 camps:
    • Mineral: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; physically reflect the sun’s rays
    • Chemical: often interfering with your endocrine system (hormones, thyroid function) and/ or causing allergic skin reactions; physically absorb the rays
  • EWG’s Annual Sunscreen Guide is a great resource!
  • This year, Hawaii passed a bill to ban harmful ingredient (oxybenzone and octinoxate) containing sunscreens as they are thought to be contributing to coral reef damage
  • UVA and UVB rays refer to varying wavelengths of light
    • UVA: less intense but more prevalent in sun’s rays, dominant in producing tans, leads to deeper aging
    • UVB are the rays that lead to sunburn
  • If using sunscreen, you must apply it before you go out and then re-apply every 2 hours or so with continued sun exposure.

My favorite company for personal care products, including sun protection, is Check out their new Countersun line. If you are local to my Portland office, stop in and borrow products for a few days to test them out 🙂