Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to choose the right sunscreen for you and yoru family.

Confused by the types of sunscreens available?

With so many types of sunscreens on the market, it's no wonder we get overwhelmed at the drug store when we go to stock up for summer.
The types of sunscreen you choose is really a matter of personal choice.
You need to decide:
    • What feels best on your skin. • Which is easiest to apply and re-apply. • What activities are you participating in? (e.g. Running, biking, hiking, swimming, surfing, skiing or sun bathing). • Are you using it on your face or body?

Sunscreens are available in many forms including:
  • Gel sunscreen
  • Cream sunscreen
  • Sunscreen lotions
  • Sunscreen wipe
  • Spray sunscreen
  • Colored sunscreen
  • Powder sunscreen
Some people complain that certain types of sunscreens make them break-out, are too oily, cause allergic reactions, dry their skin out or are full of harmful chemicals.
Over the last few years the advancements in many new types of sunscreen have eliminated many of these problems.

We recommend broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection, a SPF rating of 30 or higher and is gentle enough to wear everyday.

If you have sensitive skin:
Look for all natural sunscreen:
  • Paba free sunscreen - most sunscreens are now PABA-free
  • oil-free sunscreen -
  • hypoallergenic, fragrance free sunscreen, chemical free sunscreen
  • mineral based sunscreen - the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on the skin instead of being absorbed into it
Many parents opt for sunscreens made for sensitive skin to use on their children. For more information about sunscreen for children, click here:

If you're acne-prone:
look for:
  • Light, oil free lotions will not clog pores
  • With chemical sunscreens avobenzone and oxybenzone
  • Non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores) and is fragrance-free

If you have oily skin, look for:

  • Mineral oil-free sunscreen
  • Non-comedogenic sunscreen
  • Sunscreens that are oil free are usually water or gel based

Good common sense tips for Acne-prone, oily and sensitive skin:

  • Don't use the same sunscreen meant for your body on your face
  • If you are using a topical acne treatment? Apply it first, wait 20 minutes or so and then apply your sun protection over the top
  • Remember to wash your face before going to bed to prevent pores from clogging

If you’re a swimmer or outdoor sports “person”, look for:

  • Water-resistant or waterproof sun protection
  • The highest SPF you can find ( No sunscreen is 100 % water and sweat proof )
  • Keep away from your eyes
  • Re-apply after you get out of the water or every 2 hours

If you've got dry skin, look for:

  • Try creams or lotions with extra hydrating ingredients like glycerin and aloe.
  • Avoid sprays and gels with alcohol

If you want all organic, look for:

  • Products contain herbs, minerals, and plants only
  • Chemical-free

Which type of sunblock is better: Chemical vs.Physical?

The key to finding the best types of sunscreens for you is to shop around. If you don’t like one product, try another, and another until you find the ones you like.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is my sunscreen enough, is it even still good?

How to determine the effectiveness of sunscreens

The effectiveness of sunscreens are determined by it's age and where you stored it during the winter.
It’s finally summer and you've got the cooler's stocked, your favorite swimsuit still fits (phew)and you grabbed the suntan lotion from last summer and threw it in your beach bag.
You’re ready and heading out the door: STOP!!!

Ask yourself this question first: How old is my sunscreen?
If you don't know the answer - throw it away and buy a new bottle.

We often have several bottles of sunscreen laying around our house, car or boat and have no clue how old they are and if they're still any good.

It's a very common question – Does sunscreens expire? YES – Just like any medication, the effectiveness of sunscreens will deteriorate over time.

Here are a few tips to make sure your sunscreen is still effective:

1. Look for an Expiration date.
  • If you can’t find one – TOSS IT - a new one should cost less than $20

2. Sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years from the date of manufacture.
  • The FDA requires sunscreens to remain at their original strength for at least three years.
  • However, the manufacture date and the date you bought it are two different things. Sometime sunscreen sits on the drug store shelf for 6 months to a year.
  • I suggest buying sunscreen at the beginning of each season when the store shelves have just been re-stocked with new merchandise.
  • Use a permanent marker to note your own “use by” date.
3. Sunscreen should be stored at a temperature of about 77º F.
  • When stored at high temperature – the effectiveness of sunscreen decreases and become less stable and reliable.
  • Replace your sunscreen if you kept it in your car, boat, garage, golf bag, or beach bag last year. It probably got very hot and has degraded.
  • Keep your sunscreen in your cooler when you go to the beach, lake or any outdoor activity – It feels cool and refreshing when you re-apply.
4. Don’t buy sunscreen “on sale” at the end of the season. It’s a waste of money.
  • Do not buy sunscreen in bulk unless you and your family go through a couple of bottles of sunscreen a season. That is the only time it’s a good deal – sorry, Costco and Sam’s Club shoppers.

The effectiveness of sunscreen is important – old and uncared for sunscreen can easily turn into glorified moisturizers with no sun protection at all.
Bottom line: To be on the safe side, buy new sunscreen every year.
Sunscreen should not be your only strategy for skin protection. Even with sunscreen, exposure from intense rays can still be dangerous. Use sun protective clothing for added protection.

LOVE the sun....Hate the burn.

Monday, May 23, 2011

CLOSED: Thanks Dad and Baby Banz June Giveaway!! ends 6/10/11

Baby Banz and Thanks Dad June Giveaway!

Thanks Dad is teaming up with Baby Banz for a new giveaway!

"Say Thanks, Dad and get some cool glasses for you!"

The winner receives a t-shirt or hat of their choice from Thanks Dad AND Sunglasses and a Case from Baby Banz!
As studies reveal the damaging effects of UV damage, we must not overlook the need to also preserve children’s sensitive skin and eyes.  Get your child a pair of sunglasses from the industry’s leader in all aspects of sun protection for children 10 and under.  Famous for their unique, wraparound sunglasses with the neoprene band, Baby Banz assure a comfortable, snug fit for those delicate noggins, leaving out the dangers of having sunglass arms snapping off or poking someone in the eye!

Baby Banz were originally designed in Australia for one of the world’s toughest UV environments. Clinically tested by one of the world’s leading authorities on sunglasses, Baby Banz have passed the most stringent standards on sunglasses in the world! A testament to their outstanding quality, Baby Banz has been endorsed by the Melanoma International Foundation, Vision Australia, InfantSEE and the Cancer Society of Australia. In addition, Baby Banz has been recognized by iParenting Media, the Toy Man, Creative Child Magazine, The New Parents Guide and hordes of other media outlets as the Ultimate in Children's Sun Protection. Get your child the protection they need for their eyes, without sacrificing an ounce of comfort or style.

Thanks Dad apparel and accessories is a great way to say “Thanks Dad” for those unique experiences shared by a father and his child. Riding bikes, reading stories, flying kites, going places, taking hikes, playing catch, doing chores: these moments are filled with love, learning and joy. They stay in our hearts forever but fade from memory far too soon. A gift from Thanks Dad keeps them fresh and near. It captures the spirit of those wonderful moments and says much more than “Thanks Dad!” it says, “I love you”. All Thanks Dad shirts are made from the highest quality, 100% cotton and are produced in the USA. They can be purchased individually or in quantity to suit any need.

Check out some of our designs and… be inspired! 

*Note from Shari @BabyBanz - Our kids got my husband one of the "Beach" shirts pictured here for chrstmas - it was a great way to say "Thanks,Dad" for all of their new experiences here in Hawaii with Dad at the beach. He loves it, and it's a sentimental design without all those sometimes cheesy and over-the-top "#1 Dad" cartoons so he can wear it proudly in public.

You will win your choice of (1) Adventure Banz and (1) Sunglasses Case as well as your choice of a shirt or Hat from Thanks Dad.

How to enter:

Take a look around BabyBanz.com and Thanks-Dad and tell us what you would choose if you won with what size and color! (2 entries)

Follow @babybanz on Twitter and let us know that you did (or already do)! (1 entry)

Follow @thanksdad on Twitter and let us know that you did (or already do)! (1 entry)

Tweet about the giveaway by copying and pasting the following text-
RT @babybanz @thanksdad Say "Thanks, Dad!" this father's Day with Baby Banz! Giveaway ends 6/10, {http://tinyurl.com/3hu2dwl}

You may tweet the giveaway as many times as you like, but there is only one entry per tweet. Please leave the permalink of your tweet in your comment.

Blog about the giveaway, linking to Baby Banz and Thanks-Dad. Then come back and leave a comment letting us know that you did. You must leave the direct link to your post! (5 entries)

Fan Baby Banz on FaceBook ! (1 entry)

Fan Thanks Dad on Facebook! (1 entry) 

Follow the Baby Banz Blog (publicly) (1 entry)

Subscribe to the Baby Banz Inc Newsletter (1 entry)

Make a purchase before June 10th from Baby Banz or Thanks-Dad (10 entries)

Please note to get all of your entries counted, for each thing that you do you MUST leave a separate comment for each entry! Example, if you do something that gives you 3 entries you must leave three comments to get those 3 entries. If you do not leave separate comments per entry then your comment will be counted as one entry except where indicated. We do check every entry to make sure that you did what the entry required. Your entry can and will be deleted if you do not follow the entry rules listed above.

Contest open to US residents only. Must be 18 years of age to enter. Contest ends 6/10/11 at 11:59 CST. Winners will be chosen by Random.org at the end of the contest and notified via email as well as posted on our site. Please make sure that your email address is obtainable by Baby Banz Inc. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize before Baby Banz Inc chooses another winner. Family members of Baby Banz Inc and Thanks Dad are ineligible to enter in any of our contests.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What should I look for in sunglasses?

What do I need to know about sunglasses?

The most important things to look for when choosing a pair of sunglasses is the amount of UV light that is blocked by the sunglasses and a proper fit. Lenses should be large enough to shield your eyes from most angles. It is important to note that darker lenses in sunglasses do not necessarily offer better UV protection. Sunglasses have many features, not all of which are related to the amount of sun protection they provide:
  • Blocks 99% of UV light:
    This is a very important thing to look for when purchasing sunglasses. This claim tells you that the sunglasses block 99 percent of harmful UV rays. The tag may also say "UV absorption up to 400 nm".
  • Wrap-around:
    This is another important thing to look for when purchasing sunglasses. These types of sunglasses wrap around the face and protect eyes from all angles.
  • Polycarbonate lenses:
    This type of lens is the most impact-resistant lens on the market today. (This type of lens does not necessarily offer better UV protection than other types of lenses.)
  • Blocks 90 percent of infrared rays:
    The amount of infrared rays sunglasses block does not effect the UV protectiveness of sunglasses. (Infrared rays are not harmful to eyes.)
  • Polarized:
    This type of lens does not help protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. However, this type of lens can improve eyesight by reducing distracting surface glare, most notably from water and snow.
In early 2000, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has published new national standards for the preparation and labeling of fabrics and garments intended to protect humans from the sun's UVA and UVB radiation. The American Sun Protection Association (ASPA), a member of the ASTM standard drafting committee, is leading a national effort to encourage the sun protective clothing industry to adopt and promote the new standards in the U.S. marketplace.

The new ASTM standards D6544 and D6603 combine with AATCC 183 to form the most stringent UV-protective clothing standard in the world. "This is the credibility boost the U.S. sun protective clothing industry has been waiting for," said Mary Buller, ASPA Executive Director. "Finally, consumers will know what UPF is and will come to trust that the garment they buy will provide the same level of UV protection during its use-Iife as it did on the day it was purchased."

UPF Values Allowed
on Labels
Approximate % UV
Good UV Protection 15-24 15 and 20 93.3% - 95.8%
Very Good UV Protection 25-39 25, 30 and 35 96.0% - 97.4%
Excellent UV Protection 40-50+ 40, 45, 50 and 50+ 97.5% - 98.0%

D6544 requires fabrics making a claim of sun protectiveness to (a) undergo 40 simulated launderings, (b) be exposed to 100 fading units of simulated sunlight, and if intended for swimsuits, and (c) be exposed to chlorinated water prior to UV- transmission testing. The standards are currently voluntary, but could become mandatory if not adopted by the industry in a timely manner. Sun protection claims will be monitored by the FTC.

Educational Spotlight: UV Rays

About UV Rays


Skin reacts to UV radiation by a change in the melanin content.  Under strong radiation or conditions of slow change, the familiar reddening (“erythema”) occurs, followed by sunburn and soreness. Human racial groups vary by hair color, skin color, eye type and reaction to exposure to UV radiation. There are six recognized skin types as regards the effects of UV.
Skin type, definition & reaction
  1. Red or blond hair, blue-green eyes very light shin –> Mostly burns, does not tan
  2. Light-medium hair, eyes and skin –> Usually burns, seldom tans
  3. Medium hair, medium to dark eyes, medium to olive skin –> Moderately burns, lightly tans
  4. Dark hair, eyes dark, olive to light brown skin –> Burns mildly, tans to moderate brown
  5. Dark hair, eyes and skin –> Seldom burns, tans to dark brown
  6. Dark hair, eyes and very dark skin –> Insensitive, does not burn
How does this range affect you?  The permissible time for exposure to UV radiation on a midsummer day at sea level at or near the equator without using sunscreen ranges from 20 minutes for individuals with Skin Type 2, to 100 minutes for those with Skin Type 4.
The erythemal potential due to exposure to UV radiation is usually referred to in units of Minimum Erythemal Doses (“MED”) caused by the exposure.  One MED is defined as the amount of UV radiation that produces a just noticeable erythema on previously unexposed skin, and is different for the different skin types.
Most people are unaware of the damage that can be caused even after exposure to low intensity UV radiation, because the dose is accumulated during exposure of varying duration at different times in a daily routine.  Usually the first visible sign is the sunburn, which might appear a few hours after the exposure, while skin cancer may appear years later.  This means that the individual becomes aware of the danger after the damage has been done.
Most people do not routinely use sunscreens unless they are on the beach or a trip.  Even then, they usually do not apply the sunscreens periodically, as they should because it gradually dissipates through perspiration and absorption in the skin.
Altitude, latitude, season, air pollution, clouds, and other factors influence the effective UV radiation level. Therefore it is very difficult to give accurate, reliable and timely warnings to the public about the UV radiation levels for specific location and day time.
The only practical means of protection is a personal dosimeter, a device that measures and indicates the amount of radiation absorbed in a given period.
Currently UVSunSense manufactures and sells a personal dosimeter in the form of a wristband for people with skin type 1 and all children regardless of their skin type.  Coming soon will be two additional bands; Bands, one made for skin types 2 & 3 and another for skin types 4 & 5.
As a safety precaution, each band type is calibrated to finish when it has absorbed 1/2 of the Minimum Erythemal Dose (“MED”) of radiation for the particular skin type it was designed for.

UV Measurement:

milliWatts per
square meter
Index Value
Exposure Category
Less than 3
60 – 150
3 – 6
151 – 580
6 – 10
Very High
> 580
Greather than 10
When the UV-Index is 3 (“60 milliWatts or less”), a fair skinned person will experience minimal skin redness after one hour in the sun. When the UV-Index is 6 (“150 milliWatts or less”) , a fair skinned person will experience minimal skin redness after 24 minutes in the sun and when the UV-Index is 10, a fair skinned person will experience minimal skin redness after 6 minutes in the sun. UV-Index levels over 7, around 250 milliWatts per square meter are common and will result in a fair skinned person burning after 15 minutes in the sun.
Remember, potential long term health effects from UV radiation do not depend on skin type.

UV Radiation

The sun radiates energy over a broad spectrum of wavelengths. Ultraviolet (“UV”) radiation, which has a shorter wavelength than either visible blue or violet light, is responsible for sunburn and other adverse health effects. Fortunately for life on Earth, our atmosphere’s stratospheric ozone layer shields us from most UV radiation. What gets through the ozone layer, however, can cause the following problems, particularly for people who spend substantial time outdoors:
  • Skin cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Premature aging of the skin
Because of these serious health effects, you should limit your exposure to UV radiation and protect yourself when outdoors.

Types of UV Radiation

Scientists classify UV radiation into three types or bands—UVA, UVB, and UVC. The stratospheric ozone layer absorbs some, but not all, of these types of UV radiation:
UVA: Not absorbed by the ozone layer.
UVB: Mostly absorbed by the ozone layer, but some does reach the Earth’s surface.
UVC: Completely absorbed by the ozone layer and oxygen. UVA and UVB that reach the Earth’s surface contribute to the serious health effects listed above.

UV Levels Depend on a Number of Factors:

The level of UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface can vary, depending on a variety of factors. Each of the following factors can increase your risk of UV radiation overexposure and its consequent health effects.
Stratospheric Ozone: The ozone layer absorbs most of the sun’s UV rays, but the amount of absorption varies depending on the time of year and other natural phenomena. That absorption also has decreased, as the ozone layer has thinned due to the release of ozone-depleting substances that have been widely used in industry.
Time of Day: The sun is at its highest in the sky around noon. At this time, the sun’s rays have the least distance to travel through the atmosphere and UVB levels are at their highest. In the early morning and late afternoon, the sun’s rays pass through the atmosphere at an angle and their intensity is greatly reduced.
Time of Year: The sun’s angle varies with the seasons, causing the intensity of UV rays to change. UV intensity tends to be highest during the summer months.
Latitude: The sun’s rays are strongest at the equator, where the sun is most directly overhead and UV rays must travel the least distance through the atmosphere. Ozone also is naturally thinner in the tropics compared to the mid- and high-latitudes, so there is less ozone to absorb the UV radiation as it passes through the atmosphere. At higher latitudes the sun is lower in the sky, so UV rays must travel a greater distance through ozone-rich portions of the atmosphere and, in turn, expose those latitudes to less UV radiation.
Altitude: UV intensity increases with altitude because there is less atmosphere to absorb the damaging rays.  Your risk of overexposure increases as you go to higher altitudes.
Weather Conditions: Cloud cover reduces UV levels, but not completely.  Depending on the thickness of the cloud cover, it is possible to burn and increase your risk of long-term skin and eye damage.  You can burn on a cloudy summer day, even if it does not feel very warm.
Reflection: Some surfaces, such as snow, sand, grass, or water can reflect much of the UV radiation that reaches them.  Because of this reflection, UV intensity can be deceptively high even in shaded areas.


National Association of Physicians for the Environment
American Medical Association
Wilderness Medical Society
American Skin Association
American Academy of Dermatology
American Academy of Otolaryngology
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Optometry
American Society for Head and Neck Surgery
American Optometric Association
American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
Coalition of Patient Advocates for Skin Disease Research
Society for Investigative Dermatology
Skin Cancer Foundation
Friends of the Earth
National Medical Association
Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.
Ozone Action, Inc.
Alliance for Environmental Education
Association of University Environmental Health Sciences Centers
Prevent Blindness America
Save Our Sky
North American Association for Environmental Education
NAPE National Office for the Protection of Biodiversity (Galveston, TX)
National Association 0f County & City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI)
Association of State & Territorial Health Organizations (ASTHO)