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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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When it comes to the best sunscreen, the choices are endless


courtesy of Dr. Patricia Wong.
From tinted to gels, creams and powders, an array of sunscreens on the market protect users from damaging rays.

Many factors must be considered when choosing a sunscreen.

Are you male or female? Do you spend a significant amount of time outdoors? Do you play sports? What is your skin type? Do you have oily, dry or combination skin? Do you have problems with acne? Do you have rosacea? Do you have sensitive skin? Do you wear makeup? Have you had skin cancer or precancerous skin growths?

Personal preferences also play in to selecting a sunscreen. Do you prefer a tinted sunscreen? A scented product? Squeeze-tube, pump, spray, powder or roll-on applicator?

There are myriad formulations to choose from. Using the excuse that you don’t apply sunscreen because you can’t find one you like is akin to saying that you stopped eating food because you couldn’t find anything good to eat.

Clinical studies have proven beyond a doubt that wearing sunscreen daily decreases the risk of skin cancer and helps combat sun damage.

Following is a brief rundown of the various types of sunscreens on the market.

Gel

Gel sunscreens are popular with children and men. If you tend to be hairy, lotion- and cream-based sunscreens are too greasy. If you apply a cream and then go to the beach, the sand will stick to you. If you love to run or bike, your legs will be covered with dirt after your outing. Gel formulations are ideal for bald people, especially those who refuse to wear hats and own convertibles.

If you have sensitive or dry skin, gels can burn and cause irritation. Applying gel sunscreen near the eyes can cause stinging and burning, especially if you sweat or rub your eyes. If you have dry skin, gel sunscreen is not the best choice. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may prefer this formulation. If you are using an acne medication that causes your skin to peel, do not apply gel sunscreen.

Creams and lotions

The most common sunscreen formulations are creams and lotions. They are manufactured in an emolliating base and can be used as a moisturizer. This is an added convenience, because you don’t need to apply a separate moisturizing product. Cream and lotion sunscreens appeal to those with dry skin. If you’re prone to breakouts, these formulations might be a little too heavy for you.

Tinted

Tinted sunscreens are popular among people who don’t want to look pasty. Zinc- and titanium-based sunscreens tend to make skin look lighter, though chemical-based sunscreens are capable of causing a similar effect. Choosing a sunscreen that has micronized zinc or titanium particles can help minimize this. Tinted sunscreens contain iron oxide in varying concentrations, depending on your preferred shade. You may notice that your clothes also become a little tinted with these preparations, but it should wash out.

Spray

Spray sunscreens were invented for people in a hurry and for those trying to apply sunscreen to children who refuse to hold still for a cream or lotion application. Exercise caution when using sprays. Inhalation and inadvertent application into the eyes can potentially cause medical problems. It’s also difficult to assess how much sunscreen has been applied when it’s sprayed. If you don’t apply the sunscreen in a concentration of at least 2 mg/cm2, you won’t have adequate photoprotection. There have been reports of people catching on fire when using these formulations near flames or cigarettes. Because they are alcohol based, they are potentially flammable.

Powder

Powder sunscreens are popular because they are easy to apply. Unfortunately, the powder is rarely applied in a sufficient quantity to achieve an SPF of 15 or 30, as promised on the container. The powder can rub off on and discolor clothing. If you do apply the powder appropriately, to achieve a concentration of 2 mg/cm2, you’ll look very dusty and probably won’t want to be seen in public. The makers of some powder sunscreens urge consumers to buy a spray to “fix” the powder to the skin. This seems to be just one more reason not to bother with this product.

Mineral

Purely mineral sunscreens are composed only of zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. A sunscreen formulated exclusively with titanium oxide doesn’t have broad enough UVA protection. These sunscreens are ideal for people with sensitive skin and children. They are hypoallergenic.

Water-resistant

Water-resistant sunscreens are recommended for swimmers, beachgoers and athletes. These sunscreens tend to be more acne inducing because of the polymers used to make the sunscreen water resistant. As with all sunscreens, they must be reapplied every two hours to maintain effective protection.

Additional recommendations

Higher SPF sunscreens will feel heavier than lower SPF sunscreens. They contain higher concentrations of the UVA and UVB ingredients. It’s sometimes more difficult to apply makeup over the higher-SPF sunscreens.

Attractively packaged sunscreens with pleasant fragrances from higher-end cosmetic companies tend to be more expensive. For example, coconut oil and lavender essence may induce you to be more compliant about using sunscreen regularly. There is nothing wrong with that. I prefer to minimize the number of unnecessary ingredients applied to the skin. Fragrances have the potential to cause allergic and irritant dermatitis. I tend to recommend sunscreens without fragrances, but this is a personal preference. If you’re not prone to allergies and don’t have sensitive skin, you will probably be fine using one of the higher-end sunscreens.

It’s always a good idea to supplement your sunscreen with sun-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats and wide-framed sunglasses. Remember to apply lip balm with sunscreen. Lips do not tan. Skin cancers that develop on lips are very aggressive.

The most effective way to apply sunscreen is with an initial application 30 minutes before going outside, followed by a second application 15 minutes before going outside. While this is not in the instructions accompanying the sunscreens, dermatologic studies show that it’s more effective than reapplying it two hours later as your second application.

Dr. Patricia Wong is a dermatologist in private practice in Palo Alto. For more information, call 473-3173 or visit patriciawongmd.com.

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