This is a plea to all children and teenagers, their parents and teachers, and the doctors who treat them: Please take sun exposure more seriously.

Many parents, if not most, are very conscientious about protecting babies from the sun — as long as the infants are still being carried or are confined to a stroller. But once children become ambulatory, sun protection too often takes a back seat to the myriad challenges of getting out of the house with toddlers or bundling children off to school on time.

Unless sun protection practices are established early in life as inviolable habits, akin to using seat belts in a vehicle, children become increasingly lax as they get older about preventing sunburns that can lead to life-threatening cancers decades later. In a study of 360 fifth graders over three years, Alan C. Geller, director of melanoma epidemiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his colleagues found that as the children moved into adolescencethe proportion who “often or always” used sunscreen declined to 25 percent from 50 percent.


Personal Health

Jane Brody on health and aging.


And once children reach their teens, sun protection succumbs to burgeoning feelings of independence and invulnerability, as well as the popular belief among teenagers that they look more attractive when sporting a tan. Few seem worried about the chances of developing wrinkled, leathery, blotchy skin decades later as a result. Fewer still seem to know that they are risking cancer.

Yet childhood is the most critical time for avoiding sun-induced harm later in life. As much as 80 percent of a person’s lifetime exposure to skin-damaging ultraviolet rays occurs by age 18. Multiple studies have shown that the more youngsters are exposed to the sun early in life, especially if they suffer serious sunburns, the greater the risk of later developing both superficial skin cancers and deadly melanomas.

The issue of sun protection is all the more important these days because the thinning of the ozone layer has rendered everyone more susceptible to skin-damaging solar radiation.

An Avoidable Risk

For all its marvelous life-giving properties, sunlight can also be damaging and sometimes lethal, even for those who “never” burn, tan easily or have naturally dark skin.

Most babies are born with blemish-free skin. But once exposed to ultraviolet radiation, those destined to become blonds or redheads often develop freckles, a sign of increased vulnerability to sun damage. Even more serious, in white populations, childhood sun exposure increases the risk of developing acquired nevi, or moles, those melanin-rich lesions that can become melanomas.

Unlike superficial forms of skin cancer, called basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, melanomas are much more serious cancers that arise deeper in the skin and can spread and threaten life before they are detected. And it is not just the light-skinned who are at risk. Melanomas can also develop in people with very dark skin; while it may not burn as easily, darker skin is rich in the pigmented cells in which these cancers arise.

Canadian researchers showed more than a decade ago that routine use of sunscreen by school-age children diminishes their risk of developing moles. The study, directed by Richard Gallagher of the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, followed 458 elementary school children over three years. All were initially examined to count and measure how many moles they had.

The children were then divided into two groups. The parents of both groups were asked to keep detailed diaries of their children’s sun exposure during the summer months. One group of parents was given educational materials and a supply of broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30, and instructions to apply it whenever their children were likely to be in the sun for 30 minutes or longer. Each month, the amount of lotion remaining in the bottles was measured as a test of compliance.

The second group of parents received neither the educational materials nor the free sunscreen, though many parents in this group did apply sunscreen to their children on their own. At the end of the study, the number and size of moles on both groups of children was reassessed.

There was no difference in the amount of time the children spent in the sun or in how much clothing they wore. But the children whose parents got the educational information and sunscreen developed fewer moles than the children whose parents did not. And fewer moles, the researchers said, no doubt mean that these children will be less likely to develop melanomas when they grow up.

“This is a true prevention study,” Dr. Gallagher said. “Parents need to know that if they intervene early, they can probably significantly reduce their child’s risk of skin cancer in the future.”

In a 10-year study of 1,621 Australians ages 25 to 75, Adele C. Green of theQueensland Institute of Medical Research and colleagues found that those who used sunscreen daily on their head and arms developed half the number of melanomas as those who used it less often.

Helpful Programs

In an interview, Mr. Geller, a lecturer on health at the Harvard School of Public Health, cited several programs that could help change the sun protection practices of children. One is called SunWise, created for schools by the Environmental Protection Agency, which includes a “toolbox” of instructional materials that can help teachers incorporate sun protection messages into various subject areas, like math, social studies and physical education.

Another is Pool Cool, developed by Karen Glanz, professor of epidemiology and nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and designed for children ages 5 to 10. Lifeguards and parents at swimming pools are taught about the use of sunscreen, shirts and hats to reduce sun exposure.

“A T-shirt has an SPF of 7 or 8,” Mr. Geller said. “A shot-glass amount of sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the ears, back of the neck and top of the feet, which are often forgotten.”

In Australia, where skin cancer has long been epidemic, a “no hat, no play” policy as part of a broad-based emphasis on sun protection has made the country one of the first in the world in which skin cancer incidence is declining, Mr. Geller said.

He also urged pediatricians “to take sun exposure more seriously” and to emphasize the importance of sunburn prevention at every visit with children. And, he said, sunscreen should be made readily available at pools and beaches.

“We should be applying the lessons learned from tobacco, using clever public service ads and more emphasis in schools of the downsides of sunburn,” he said. “Kids need to hear messages about the impact of sun protection multiple times from multiple sources.”


This is a highly contested subject!  But its’ summertime and the living is easy…outside!  No one wants to slave over an oven!  Too hot!  But we did the research and here’s our list of Top 10 things to BBQ!  Or as Crocodile Dundee would say “Top Ten Things to Grill on the Barbie”!

Now this list may vary if you’re a charcoal purist or cheat and use gas!  Is using a gas grill REALLY Barbequing?

#10 Authentic Brats or Homemade Italian Sausage (Johnsonville works but I like Boar’s Head)

#9 Pacific Northwest Salmon Grilled on a Plank

#8 Zucchini or any grilled vegetables on a skewer (Try roasting Garlic on the grill then use it like butter on a fresh roll)

#7 White Sweet Corn grilled with the Husk on (A Bobby Flay favorite)

#6 Bone in Pork Chops with Fresh Peach BBQ Sauce (Tenderloins work too.  Fresh Peaches are a must)

#5 Beer Can Chicken (Any beer will do)

#4 All Beef Hot Dogs (This is completely a regional preference)

#3 Gorgonzola Stuffed Hamburgers (Really any cheese works and Ground Chuck is a must!)

#2 Bone in steaks especially Rib Eyes (KC Strips are a great substitute)

#1 Baby Back Ribs (Google Rattlesnake Ribs. You will thank me!)

Actually this really doesn’t need to be in order and I know we’ve missed a few things like Goat, Rabbit, Brisket and the like.  They just aren’t on my Top Ten list of things to grill on my Barbie!

What did I miss?  ARE YOU HUNGRY YET?


William and Kate are doing it!  It’s not what you’re thinking.  They are just NEWLYWEDS! The Prince and his bride recently competed in a Dragon Boat race on Prince Edward Island!  (Prince William won!) If you don’t know what Dragon boat racing is, you’re really missing out on a spectacular event.

A dragon boat is a human paddled water craft traditionally made in the Pearl River delta region of southern China of teak wood to various designs and sizes. It is one of a family of traditional paddled long boats found throughout Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands. For competitive events, Dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails; while most are paddling there’s also drums.  Yes, drums!

With its roots in ancient China, Dragon boat racing has become huge in the U.S.! There are many Dragon Boat festivals across cities like Charleston, SC, Tempe, AZ, Tampa FL, Portland, OR, and Lake Parsippany, NJ!  That’s just scratching the U.S. competition calendar!

The history of dragon boats in competition reaches as far back as the same era as the original games of Olympia in ancient Greece. Both dragon boat racing and the ancient Olympiad included aspects of religious observances and community celebrations along with competition.

If you haven’t seen a competition, definitely put it on your things to do list!  The pageantry, the competition and with most of each festivals’ proceeds going to various charities, it’s not only fun to watch but an opportunity to give back to local communities. This is canoeing on steroids. Don’t miss it!



Critical Wavelength® (CW) is the most effective way to rate UVA protection. Solar radiation travels in waves. The wavelength corresponds to the solar energy of the wave. Solar radiation of 290nm to 400nm (the UVB-UVA range) is reproduced in a laboratory device designed to measure the amount of radiation absorbed by a sunscreen. Starting at the beginning of the UVB range (290nm), progressively higher wavelengths of light are aimed at the sunscreen. A protective absorption curve or “umbrella” is produced. The Critical Wavelength defines how far this umbrella (actually 90% of the umbrella) extend into the UVA range. So for a Critical Wavelength of 383nm, 90% of the sunscreen’s protective “umbrella is between the beginning of the UVB range (290nm) to 383nm (see Graph below) The higher the number, the better. A sunscreen with a Critical Wavelength® over 370nm is considered by the FDA to provided ultimate Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.


June 15, 2011, Charleston, SC


The FDA’s release of their final monograph on sunscreen labeling and defining what is a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen, has a South Carolina company cheering!  Since 2005, Daniel Island, SC based LUCA Sunscreen products have exceeded the FDA minimum; 370 nanometer (nm) Critical Wavelength /UVA Rating and has put that rating on all products.  The FDA will mandate that all sunscreen companies that choose to define themselves as “Broad Spectrum” must meet the minimum 370(nm) Critical Wavelength UVA rating by June 18, 2012.  UVA rays are directly linked to pre-mature aging and skin cancer.  LUCA Sunscreen has been a pioneer in educating consumers about the harmful effects of UVA rays. The good news is consumers do not need to wait until June of 2012 to purchase a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen to protect their family from the sun’s harmful rays.


Dr. Karl Gruber a surgical pathologist at Trident Medical Center, founded LUCA Sunscreen with his wife Georgia because their son was allergic to traditional sunscreens.  He also began to see increases in skin cancers on younger patients in his practice.  Their passion of getting out the Critical Wavelength/UVA message to consumers, the American Academy of Dermatologists, as well as the FDA has been in the works for years.


LUCA Sunscreen Positioning


LUCA Sunscreen products include two Daily Moisturizers, Max Sport and a Lip Balm.  These products have met and exceeded the new FDA guidelines for the past 6 years.  LUCA Sunscreen is committed to providing the best defense under the sun and educating consumers about the harmful effects of UVA rays.  The company is about to release a new web-site and marketing efforts next week.  The campaign will focus on how allLUCA Sunscreen products offer the Ultimate in Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.  The current web-site is


LUCA Sunscreen is located on Daniel Island, SC. For detailed information and interviews please Contact Dr. Karl Gruber directly at or Lisa Mack 843-557-0520, .