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AMARILLO, TX – When those of us who were born in the Baby Boom years of 1946 to 1964 were kids, we didn’t wear sunscreen; we put on “sun tan lotion” to attract more sun. Our mothers would soothe the inevitable sunburns  with some Mom-Magic, and perhaps make us wear a T-shirt at the pool or beach that day. When we got to be teenagers we donned skimpy bathing suits and greased up with coconut oil to improve our “healthy color.” Heck, we even got sun lamps to keep us rosy in the winter months. There was no mention of melanoma or skin cancer, or even that excessive sun exposure would eventually make us look like the old hag with the poison apple in Sleeping Beauty once we aged.

What fools we were.

Now that we know better and are spending our parenthood and grandparenthood as devotees of sunscreen and sun protection, we take no solace in the fact that Gen Xers and Yers can be just as foolish. With all the ample evidence and admonitions that excessive sun exposure can actually kill you, there still seems to be a plethora “tanning” shops all around.

There is probably really no need to go into great detail, but the fact is that the sun – and tanning beds at salons – produce UV (ultraviolet) rays in two forms that are defined by their wavelength: UVA, the longest wavelength, and UVB, on an intermediate wavelength. UVB rays are the most common and damaging to humans from sunlight, in excess are known contributors to such ill health effects as sunburn, skin aging, premature aging, eye damage, skin cancer, and the suppression of the immune system.  None of these things are good, and some of them can be downright fatal.

The good news is that there is a very simple method of mitigating the effects of sun exposure: wear sunscreen. Always. Even for people who do all they can to avoid sun exposure – which is a good idea – wearing sunscreen is recommended because just walking outside in the daytime, sunny or not, can cause harmful exposure to the ears, neck, face, and hands – unless, of course, you wear a full body protection suit, which can be detrimental to your social life.

The best thing to do is to wear sunscreen. Always. The higher the SPF number the better (SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor).

To give you an idea of how SPF works, sunscreen rated at SPF 15 filters some 92% of the UVB, and as a general rule it means that if a person would tend to burn without protection in 10 minutes, it would take 15 times that – 150 minutes – for the burning to occur. It varies by person, of course, having to do with a lot of esoteric information on melanin in the skin and the color. By contrast, a hat provides an SPF of 3 to 6, summer-weight clothing protects to a SPF of 6.5, nylons to SPF 2, and some sun-protective clothing can be rated as high as SPF 30. Obviously, fairer skinned persons are more susceptible to the harmful effects of sunlight, but people of all colors can be and are harmed by UV rays. 

While there is some debate on the SPF rating system and its effectiveness – e.g. is 70 SPF really nearly 5 times more effective than SPF 15 – most experts generally agree that SPF ratings up to 50 are generally as effective as advertised.

Of course, premature aging and all the wrinkles that over exposure to the sun can cause are chief concerns, but the most damaging results fall into the category of skin cancer. In its worst form, called melanoma, which effects approximately 10 percent of people diagnosed with skin cancer, this can be a very serious problem if not treated, and approximately 8,800 people die of it every year. It is curable if detected and treated early – the American Cancer Society says about 120,000 new cases are reported every year, with 68,000 of these invasive, but the best way to avoid being a statistic is to take pre-cautions.

Wear sunscreen. Always.

At we’re experts at skin treatment and offer a number of wonderful products in our exclusive Dr. Elaine’s Advanced Skin Treatment line. Among those are several sunscreens and sunscreen sets for men and women that are the best on the market for sun protection. As an example, try our DCL Super Sheer Sunscreen, SPF 50+ for All Skin Types, that combines high UVB absorption and powerful UVA blockage in an elegant silky sheer, matte finish. Superb photo protective performance of ultra microfine zinc oxide gives high SPF protection while antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) safeguards skin from environmental free-radical damage. Non-whitening in a PABA and fragrance-free formulation.

But whether it’s ours or some other brand, please take our expert advice:

Wear sunscreen. Always. 


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