Don't Waste Your Money: Sunscreen still best way to protect skin - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: Sunscreen still best way to protect skin

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Although some sun-blocking products can work, you still need to apply sunscreen to truly protect your skin. Although some sun-blocking products can work, you still need to apply sunscreen to truly protect your skin.

(Toledo News Now) – Lathering up with sun tan lotion day after day is tedious, which is why many clothing manufacturers are now claiming their clothes will block the sun's rays for you. But do they work as promised?

With this summer already a scorcher, consumers are looking for anything to protect themselves from the sun. One of the newest ways is by wearing sun-protective clothing, but critics say some of the items are giving a false sense of security and may not be offering the protection they claim.

Sun-protective shirts are all the rage for children these days, but it's no longer just swim shirts. L.L. Bean, Gap, and other clothing retailers sell full lines of sun-blocking shirts and shorts. 

However, two new reports in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal say not all sun-blocking products are created equal. The Journal says make sure it has at least a UPF 30 rating. UPF is similar to SPF, but for clothes. The Times says sleeveless sun-protective shirts and shorts, give a false sense of security and have people leaving their sunscreen at home.

What about Sunguard, the laundry additive that washes UV protection into your clothes? The FDA and Skin Cancer Foundation have tested it and say it works for up to 20 washes.

"This product, and the fabrics that are treated with the products, have been tested to show that they do in fact provide some protection," said Dr. Marty Visscher, a skin sciences professor.

Still, just like with pretreated clothing, The New York Times article says you'll still burn on your arms and legs if that's all you use.

Finally, The Wall Street Journal report warns about UV blocking shampoo. It says it's great for keeping your hair color from fading, but does nothing to protect your scalp from burning.

Bottom line: These clothes and detergents can work, but you still need to lather your face, arms, and legs. That way you don't burn, and you don't waste your money.

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