Help Dad Stay Safe in the Sun

Father's Day is fast-approaching, but there's still time to get Dad a great gift. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests giving Dad the gift of sun protection. It's important that men stay sun-safe - men over age 40 have the highest annual exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is associated with about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas.

Here are some great gift ideas to ensure that Dad will be safe in the sun this summer, and all year long.

    • Professionally-installed automobile and home window films that block 99 percent of harmful ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. Window films from 3M Company, Bekaert Specialty Films (Solar Gard and Panorama), and Solutia Performance Films (FormulaOne, VistaTM, and LLumar) all carry The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation. These films can be virtually invisible, so you can limit your exposure to UV radiation without disrupting your view.
    • Special UV radiation-absorbing clothes. These clothes may have a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) label, indicating how much UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric. A shirt with a UPF of 50, for example, will allow just 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to penetrate the cloth. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends clothing with a UPF of 30 or higher.
    • Wraparound sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of the sun's UV rays effectively shield both eyes and the surrounding skin, helping prevent serious conditions such as cataracts and melanomas of the eye and eyelid. Also consider buying Dad UV-blocking sunglasses with polarized lenses - lenses with a special filter that blocks horizontal glare. Coppertone Polarized Prescription Lenses are thin, available in brown and gray, and accommodate virtually all frames and prescriptions. What Dad wouldn't love a pair of great shades?
    • A hat with a brim extending at least three inches all the way around helps to shade not just the face and scalp but the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Sorry, sports fans: while baseball caps (and sun visors) may be okay in a pinch, they do not provide enough protection, because they only protect the face and scalp. Examples of wide-brimmed hats that can provide great sun protection include the fedora, Panama, outback and bucket.

If you want to be assured that a sun protection product is safe and effective, look for products that have earned The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation. Also consider making Dad's annual appointment with a physician for a professional skin exam. It may not be the most exciting gift, but you could be saving his life.

Published on May 24, 2011