Good morning NIDPC family,

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

There are 2 upcoming events in July.

July 9th, 2022 – The Hayden Triathlon. We are proud to be sponsors of this local event. If you are interested in racing, we still have a few spots available.

July 23rd, 2022 – 1030-1130: Attack your Back! We have paired with a local fitness center to learn how to protect our backs. We will be meeting at AVID Crossfit and work together through the back exercises to prevent injuries. Come and learn from Dr. Odom and the owner of AVID Crossfit. Please RSVP Here: https://forms.gle/C27jPZPnbgT2ok9r7

With 4th of July around the corner and we are getting back outside and on the lakes, we are going to talk about protecting our skin from the sun. This conversation will focus on protection. Next week, we will talk about skin damage from sun burns to skin cancers.

For skin protection, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying at least 1 ounce of sunscreen to all exposed skin every two hours or after swimming, including “back, neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs.” That is a lot of sunscreen and most of us under apply. However, be careful with buying the GIANT container of sunscreens – they will become less effective after 3 years.

Next, I will break down the main types of sun protection to help you choose the best options for you and your family. The 3 categories are: Physical Protection, Physical Sunscreen and Chemical Sunscreen.

Physical Protection:

This is hats, shirts and pants. This is the easiest and safest form of sun protection but also the hottest. Physical barriers protect your skin by preventing UV rays from reaching your skin. While there are several different types of technical fabrics, most long sleeve shirts and pants will provide a reasonable level of protection from the sun. The thicker the weave, the more protection. Hats with a full brim are also encouraged over a traditional baseball style cap. This is why I look like Indiana Jones on hikes.

Mineral Sunscreens: Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide

These minerals actually act like a shield preventing the sun from passing the solution. Zinc oxide is also the main ingredient in barrier creams for infant rashes. Mineral sunscreens tend to be very thick and are hard to rub in. However, in general there is much less absorption of these into the blood stream (and zinc is a useful vitamin as well). This is the type of sunscreen that is generally reef safe, and the type I personally prefer for my family.

Chemical Sunscreens: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Homosalate and Octinoxate

These tend to be the easiest to apply and have been used for decades. They come in creams, wipes and sprays. They block the sun by acting as a sponge and absorbing the rays. Recently, several studies have demonstrated these popular sunscreens are absorbed into our blood stream. We do NOT know the long-term impact of absorbing these chemicals, but we know that some of the ingredients affect reef growth. Additional studies are recommended to determine their impact on humans. For convenience and skin cancer prevention, they are great, but just like many things in life (including plastic water bottles), we do not know the actual risk behind them.  

If you would like to discuss sun protection, or any other topic, please reach out to Dr. Silakoski or myself to set up an appointment.


M. Ryan Odom, MD

North Idaho DPC

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