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Sun careless: Half of you are skipping protection

by Michael Roizen, M.D., Mehmet Oz, M.D. | May 28, 2019 at 9:25 p.m. | Updated May 28, 2019 at 9:28 p.m.

Tom Brady may be the winningest quarterback in NFL history (207 wins over 19 years) but that doesn't make him infallible. In his 2017 audaciously titled book, "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance," he drops the ball when it comes to understanding how to prevent sunburn and the enormous importance of doing so correctly. His claim: He avoids sunburn by drinking 2.5 gallons of water a day, and it keeps his skin from peeling. Not one drop of science there.

Unfortunately, half of all Americans are as careless as Brady is about protecting themselves from sun damage. A study last year in JAMA Dermatology found that 34% of the 31,000-plus people surveyed had been sunburned in 2015. The most at-risk used self-tanners, did outdoor aerobics, were obese and were binge drinkers. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that only 14.3% of men and 29.9% of women regularly use sunscreen on exposed skin and face when out in the sun for an hour or more.

Your smart steps: Use micronized zinc oxide only. No coral-killing, hormone-disrupting ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, avobenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule, which a new JAMA study found are absorbed through the skin at levels that may be harmful. Choose an SPF of 30 or higher; re-apply regularly. Wear sun-protective clothing; a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 50 allows less than 2% of UV rays to come through the clothing. Stay safe out there!


(c)2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.


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