If you’re worried over reports such as the EWG’s that sunscreen can cause cancer and other bodily harm, Hendi says no human studies have shown that to be the case. “Any potential harms have been extremely over-exaggerated,” he says. “Such a minuscule risk is easily outweighed by sunscreen’s benefits.”
Lest you need more prodding to protect yourself, Hendi points out that “the World Health Organization has recently added UV radiation to its list of known carcinogens.”
And he offers simple criteria to guide your choice: “If you work outdoors, choose one with SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every two to three hours,” he advises. “It has to be broad spectrum,” he adds, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Those of us who work indoors can get away with a morning application of moisturizer with an SPF (that’s for “sun protection factor”) of 15, Hendi says. Moisturizer for men? Hendi suggests using it instead of after-shave. No one ever need know.
Hendi suggests wearing sunscreen even on cloudy days and, on sunny ones, staying out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. And now might be a good time to buy a nice, broad-brimmed hat for yourself and everyone in your family. It won’t replace sunscreen but offers an extra layer of protection. And you’ll look quite fetching when you wear it, too.
Bone up on beach safety
It’s hard to imagine summer without a trip to a mid-Atlantic beach. But while a shoreline vacation should be fun and relaxing, it comes with its share of hazards. I’ll focus on one of those in each of this summer’s Checklists.
You might have heard them called “rip tides” or “the undertow,” but the proper term is “rip currents,” says Tom Gill, the Virginia Beach-based spokesman for the U.S. Lifesaving Association.
The Web site for the association, which represents beaches that hosted 309 million visitors last year, reported 50 rip-current-related deaths on unguarded beaches and 22 on guarded beaches in 2010.
Rip currents, Gill explains, are channels of water moving away from the shore. They pop up in areas where there’s an obstacle such as a jetty or pier — places where people shouldn’t be swimming anyway, he says. But they also occur when there’s a breach in a sand bar; that gap becomes the path of least resistance for water as it moves away from shore. Swimmers can’t usually see these spots, though sometimes you’ll notice debris or other objects that are caught in a rip current and being swept out to sea.