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Spray-on product offers sun protection

By Al Varela

Dear Al: I'm a lifeguard at a local pool and I am constantly in the water keeping swimmers safe. But, I feel that I have to reapply sunscreen every time I come out of the water and that is annoying. Do you know of any products that don't wash off?

Because of your job, you will be both in the sun and the water more than the average person and you will need extra protection for your skin. The sun's rays can do real damage if they go unchecked.

Exposure to the sun can cause the skin to be thick and leathery. It also weakens the skin's elasticity and causes dark pigment patches and scaly growths.

Some antibiotics, birth control pills, and certain other medications can make the skin more vulnerable to damage. Our goal is to prevent all of those things from happening.

Because you work outdoors, you should use a sun-block with the highest SPF number possible. The higher the number, the longer you can be exposed to the sun without burning.

If you normally burn in 30 minutes in the sun without protection, an SPF of 10 would allow you to be in the sun for five hours. Multiply the number of minutes you can go unprotected by the factor of the sun-block and then divide by 60 minutes to determine how long your protection will last.

Some sun screen products are water resistant and some are water proof. Screens that are water resistant are lighter in feel, but might only last for about 40 minutes in the water and then must be reapplied.

Water proof products are more difficult to take off and can lead to clogging of the pores and breakouts of the skin. Water proof products last about 80 minutes before they begin to break down and must be reapplied. For example, a lip balm is considered water proof.

A revolutionary product is out that is a spray water proof protection with an SPF of 25. With it, you don't have to spread heavy creams on your body -- you just spray on an even protection. You will have to reapply after 80 minutes. The nice thing about this product is that it does not have that white or pasty look that some products have. That look is caused by zinc oxide that is used as a base to keep it on the skin.

Nothing lasts all day without reapplication, but with the proper product the only skin you will have to worry about saving will be someone else's.

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