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Feature: Extra

Change Your Clothes, Not Your Life

I confess: I was a Coppertone baby. In the 1960s, Jodie Foster, with her two-piece being tugged down her rump by the family dog, was my role model.

Don’t wait, as I did, until you get skin cancer to protect yourself from Texas’ brutal blaze.

You can still do all the activities you love; there’s no need to stop ranching, fishing, riding, gardening or whatever outdoor pursuit is your passion or livelihood, Dr. Willis Cottel says. Instead, avoid midday sun whenever possible, wear a high SPF sunscreen, a hat with a shady brim, and long sleeves and pants.

Sunscreen

Apply it. There are many good sunscreens on the market. I like SmartShield, developed by Dallas-based Jim and Harl Asaff after she developed a precancerous spot in 1992. SmartShield, on the market for more than a decade, doesn’t clog pores, harm live bait or fish you might catch and release, and is scent-neutral, unlike that coconut-scented goo peddled in supermarkets. Visit www.smartshield.com or call 1-800-343-1504 to learn more about this wonderful Texas-made sunscreen.

Clothing

Instead of the bare-headed ponytail, halter-top and shorts of yore, I’m found today on Texas’ rivers, bays and mountains in a shady hat, long sleeves and long pants. Advances in both breathable microfiber technology and a nod to style make this a natural choice.

Check out these skin-saving clothing companies:

Coolibar Quality Sun Protection is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Their line blocks 98 percent of UV rays. Visit www.coolibar.com or call 1-800-926-6509 for a catalog.

Solartex Sun Gear checks in with a 50+ SPF rating and is available at www.solartex.com, or by calling 1-877-476-5789.

Alex & Me offers stylish outdoorswear in a range of 25-50 SPF ratings; see www.alexandme.com or call 1-877-873-4786.

ExOfficio is perhaps my favorite, offering men’s, women’s and children’s apparel in their Buzz Off line, which also contains a naturally based, durable-through-washings organic insect repellant imbedded in the fibers of these stylish garments as well as a 30+ SPF rating. Visit www.exofficio.com or call 1-800-644-7303.

Headgear

Put a stylish brim over your brow; who’s to know you’re safeguarding against cancer? Most of the big straw hat manufacturers now rate their brims for skin cancer protection.

Eye Protection

Protect your eyes, and also the delicate skin surrounding them. Good, close-fitting eye protection is a must. Prices range from less than $10 to more than 10 times that for good, UV-blocking sunglasses. Plus, you won’t squint as much.