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photo courtesy of DUN Magazine

9,500 People diagnosed with skin cancer everyday in the United States

1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime

178,560 Number of new cases of melanoma that will be diagnosed in the United States this year

9,320 Deaths attributed to melanoma this year

11,200,000 Estimated total cost of sunburn-related emergency room visits in 2013

1 Number of blistering sunburns during childhood that can double your chance of developing melanoma

Ah … summer.
The season I wait for all year long. Maybe I have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder or something, but I feel better when it’s light early, and stays light longer. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin. It just makes me happy. I am very aware that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, but I was brought up in an age where you mixed iodine and baby oil, and lathered it on thick to get a deep, dark tan. Oh the good old and ignorant days.

Being 50, I’m past the days of claiming ignorance, and have come to the realization that there will probably be no pill to cure cancer any time soon.  I spend a lot of time in the sun year round, so prevention is my cure.  Sure, I wear SPF clothing, but what happens when your pants ride up or you are on the flats and forgot your buff.  Do these products really do what they say?  The answer is YES, if you use them correctly and buy the right ones.

The choice between chemical versus physical sunscreen is a personal one. Just make sure you choose wisely.  Here are a few things to keep in mind and a few of our favorites.

Lotions are better than sprays. It may feel like you’re getting a more even coverage with a spray, but it’s not the case.  Have you seen how much blows away? If you’re serious about protection, lotion is best.

Sunscreens have an expiration date, but don’t let that fool you. Unless you’ve kept that sunscreen in a cool, dry place all the time, that date doesn’t matter. You see where I’m going with this? Left your sunscreen with you in your dry bag while out on the flats? Probably best to buy a new bottle well before the old one’s expiration date.

If the bottle says “broad spectrum,” then it protects you from both UVA and UVB. UVB may be the most notorious of UV rays, but protecting yourself from UVA is also extremely important. UVA rays will prematurely age your skin and make you look well over that age on your driver’s license. UVB rays burn.

Both cause cancer.

Lip Protectant

By Vanicream

MSRP - $5.60
photo courtesy of - Vanicream

Don’t forget your lips. Mine are so sensitive that being uncovered for a few minutes in the sun will cause them to blister. There is nothing worse than having your lips enter a room well before you do. Want to look like a surgical experiment, read no further. Serious about protecting your lips? This is the best stuff.

UV Clear

By Elta Md

MSRP - $33.00
photo courtesy of - Elta Md

This facial sunscreen is routinely classified as a favorite among dermatologists. We love it because it works, and it’s great if you have acne-prone skin.

Active Sunscreen

By Blue Lizzard

MSRP - $28.99
photo courtesy of - Blue Lizzard

If you have sensitive skin, this is the lotion for you. This lotion contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and is fragrance-, chemical-, and paraben-free.  The best part, the bottle turns BLUE when it comes in contact with UV rays, reminding you to reapply! How clever is that?

UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

By Neutrogena

MSRP - $12.99
photo courtesy of - Neutrogena

Neutrogena is a company whose products have stood the test of time. Since 1930, they have been providing us with quality products that work. This sunscreen is no exception. The SPF100+ may be a bit of overkill, but is it? Let’s just call it an insurance policy, since we rarely put on sunscreen the way we should or as often as we should. and for good reason


By Smith Optics

MSRP - $169.00
photo courtesy of - Smith Optics

We wear sunglasses for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is to see fish. But, forget to wear your sunglasses in bright sun and your future self will not forgive you. Smith makes a great line of women’s sunglasses and their ChromaPop lenses are amazing! These Ember frames are our favs!