By Susan E. Matthews
Photo by Everyday Health
Congratulations — you made it through a winter that included numerous polar vortices to get to this summer. The feeling of warm sun on your face and afternoons spent sipping refreshing cocktails outdoors are finally here. We’re as excited as you, but before you dive head first into the pool, we’d like to point out a few possible health scams we’ve seen circulating as the days heat up. To make sure you enjoy your summer to its fullest, read on for info on questionable products you should steer clear of in the coming months, and what to do or use instead.
Fake Fruit Juice Claims
Unless you were in hibernation this past winter, you’re probably aware of the juicing craze. While we’ve already weighed in on whether you should do a juice cleanse, there are tons of juices competing for your thirst and attention this summer — and you should ignore a lot of their claims.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that Coca-Cola could be sued for deceptive marketing of their Pomegranate–Blueberry “juices,” which are almost entirely apple and grape juice with less than 1 percent pomegranate or blueberry juice added in.
The company that makes the juice drink WTRMLN WTR claims that their product, made of blended watermelon, could be “your delicious healthy solution to help lower your blood pressure,” according to press officer Eloise Jacobs. While the juice wins points for not having added sugar, a healthier solution would be to eat watermelon straight, not as juice.
Summer Save: While it’s important to stay hydrated in the summer, it’s better to do that by drinking regular water and consuming whole fruits and vegetables, not just focusing on juice. You’ll get all the vitamins and nutrients plus healthy fiber that way.
Kool Tie for Multiple Sclerosis
No one likes the sticky summer heat, but high temperatures are even worse for people with multiple sclerosis since overheating can exacerbate symptoms. Kafka’s Kool Tie claims that it will “reduce the effects of multiple sclerosis,” but Everyday Health’s MS blogger Brad Mann tried it and was dubious. “Regarding the product’s packaging, the claims are somewhat overinflated as to its practical usefulness,” he wrote in an email to Everyday Health. He added that the product was “below average” when compared with other cooling neck ties. The fabric neck tie contains crystals that absorb water when soaked prior to use. These cool rocks increase evaporation around the neck’s arteries while worn, which cools the body. However, when Mann tested it, it took more than double the time to soak to a point of saturation, and the color dye in the fabric ran, staining anything it touched.
Related: Summer Goal: The Weight for You
Summer Save: Try to exercise in the early morning before the sun is out in full force, or work out in a gym with air conditioners. Stay indoors when you can, and wear cold packs while outdoors. And if you’re interested in cooling clothing, theMultiple Sclerosis Foundation offers a series of cooling clothing free of charge for people who apply. But remember, while staying cool will help alleviate heat-exacerbated symptoms, it can’t completely eliminate symptoms.
Yes, we know slathering yourself in sunscreen before a day at the beach is time-consuming, greasy and messy. Unfortunately, the idea that drinking a beverage that can act as an SPF sunscreen is a little too good to be true. Osmosis Skincare is marketing its UV Neutralizer Harmonized Water, saying that the water molecules vibrate to protect against sunburn, but Melissa Piliang, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, said this is one to avoid. “There’s really no scientific data to back this up,” Dr. Piliang said. “It doesn’t pass the sniff test.”
Summer Save: You don’t have to drink your sunscreen — we’ve got you covered with the best SPFs for every skin concern.
Waterproof and Sweat-proof Suncreens
The Food and Drug Administration has definitively ruled that “no sunscreens are ‘waterproof’ because all sunscreens eventually wash off,” according to their website. The only label that’s allowed is “water resistant,” and even then, active wearers or swimmers should reapply every 40 to 80 minutes. The FDA even states that “water resistant sunscreens should be reapplied more often after swimming or sweating.” Piliang agreed that no sunscreen is water-resistant enough that you can skip reapplication after sweating and swimming.
Summer Save: So what are you to do if you’re embarking on a wet, sweaty, sunny adventure? Piliang advises investing in some SPF clothing that will, unlike sunscreen, provide steady protection all day. “The SPF clothing is worth the additional money if you want to get good sun protection because you don’t have to reapply,” she said. While dark, tightly knit clothing will protect you, the lightweight SPF shirts that are designed to be worn in the water will keep you more comfortable, Piliang said.
If sunscreens are just so much hassle, maybe you should avoid the whole racket by getting tanned some other way. That’s what the makers of Melanotan II, a hormone that you inject to increase the amount of pigment your skin makes, want you to think. But this drug isn’t even legal in the United States and has only been tested in a very small group of people, Piliang said. Many other side effects occurred, including heart failure, kidney problems, nausea and mental deficits. This is one to avoid, Piliang emphasized.
Summer Save: There’s really no way to get around wearing sunscreen if you want to stay safe in the sun. Piliang also suggests avoiding the sun between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and staying in the shade whenever possible.
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