While we all know that one should wear sunscreen year round, most folks won’t start applying it until the warm weather returns. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of that myself at times, but then again, I’m donned in long sleeves and a hat pretty much every day anyhow. My biggest flaw is not applying it to my exposed face and hands…I’ll try to get better at that. But besides the act of laziness, there’s another obstacle that blocks (no pun intended) the use of sunscreen.
At the recent MRF symposium at UNC, Dr. Antony Young gave a presentation on the use of sunscreen and whether or not it prevents the occurrence of melanoma. The jury is still out on that, but he still encouraged its use. In fact, he recommends using about 3.5 ounces of sunscreen lotion per day! That’s a lot. In fact, that’s about half of a normal bottle of sunscreen each day! Dr. Young acknowledged that this is an expensive endeavor. He cited one report that a family of four taking a week-long vacation to France (note that he lives in England) might actually spend more on sunscreen than the vacation itself!
I fought off the expense last year in a couple of ways. First, I checked Consumer Reports and discovered that the cheaper Target brand of sunscreen was rated as effective as the more expensive brands. Granted, each bottle was still about $8 a piece, but it was a definite savings from the $11 bottles of brand name sunscreens.
Secondly, I sought out coupons! I’m nowhere near an “extreme couponer,” but I probably find at least a couple hundred dollars a year in savings from overall coupon use. During this morning’s Sunday coupon clipping frenzy, I was happy to find two for sunscreen products, Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat. I’m sure soon that Target will be posting coupons for their brand of sunscreen as well.
I encourage everyone to check your Sunday papers and even check online for coupons. Visit the websites of your favorite sunscreen product and “Like” their Facebook page. Often times, you’ll be offered coupons not otherwise offered. Also keep an eye out for sales as the products will certainly be offered on sale as spring and summer approach. It’ll help ease the stress in your wallet while you continue protecting yourself.
Also, don’t forget the less expensive preventative measures: wear protective clothing, wear a hat, and simply stay out of the sun, especially at peak hours of 10AM to 4PM.
But regardless of the cost of staying safe, remember one important fact. No matter the cost of expensive sunscreen products, it’s FAR less expensive than the cost of having melanoma!