Sunday, May 25, 2008


Make sure your sunscreen is safe and effective

Kayakers, rafters, canoeists, whitewater paddle boaters and other outdoor people need the best sunscreen!!

"A surprising new study of 1014 brand-name sunscreens has discovered that few of them offer effective protection. According to the Environmental Working Group, only 15% of sunscreens tested were found to block UVA and UVB radiation, maintain their effectiveness in sunlight and contain a minimal number of potentially hazardous ingredients." (How Safe Is Your Sunscreen - Parade Magazine 25may2008) With so many bad ones on the market its worth some effort to make sure you are using one of the good ones!!

"Look for a product that is labeled very water resistant, is at least SPF 30 ..." "You’ll also need coverage against Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the ones that cause sunburn. And, no matter what sunscreen you use, reapply it every 2 hours, as well as after swimming." "look for a sunscreen that protects against Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. These sun rays do not cause sunburn but do contribute to aging and skin cancer." (Sunscreen 101 - Parade Magazine 23may2008) Whitewater boaters should reapply sunscreen frequently. At the end of the day the absence of a sunscreen (caused by UVB) does not prove that you were sufficiently protected against skin cancer (caused by UVA).

"Our comprehensive scientific review indicates that 85% of 993 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. Only 15% of the products on the market are both safe and effective, blocking both UVA and UVB radiation, remaining stable in sunlight, and containing few if any ingredients with significant known or suspected health hazards." (Sunscreen Study - Environmental Working Group)

The Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock SPF 70 that I reviewed last year (***** excellent - 5 stars out of 5) has been reformulated for increased protection - SPF 85. The Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database raises some health concerns about Neutrogena Ultra Sheer because some of the UV absorbing chemicals it contains may be somewhat toxic. Neutrogena continues to advertise this as the #1 dermatologist recommended suncare product. I will continue using Neutrogena Ultra Sheer, but I'm also looking around to see if I can find a better sunscreen to replace it.

Whitewater boaters - what is your favorite sunscreen?

Please click on the comments link below and discuss your favorite sunscreen and why you like it for use on whitewater paddle boating trips.

More about: Whitewater Kayaking Equipment reviews.

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The information in the article is great. I just want to add a few comments. The SPF numbers are helpful but we must remember just how effective they are :
SPF 15 is 93% effective
SPf 30 is 95% effective
SPF 50-75 is 97% effective
when applied every 2 hours even if it is waterproof. If using a spray you need to blend it around to get good coverage. One of my favorates is called BullFrog. I like the sportspray that is waterproof-sweatproof and non-greasy. I have had trouble with some sunblocks getting into my eyes(on contacts)that are not sweatproof. I have lost a few friends to skin cancer and hope that we all remind each other to REAPPLY regularly.

See you on the water!
Sue Collins-Joerger
OK, lets start a campaign to remind all kayakers to reapply sunscreen at lunch break.
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