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Answers to Go with Susan Smith

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Q. Would you like to hear about what carpenters thought about the 2 by 4’s reduction in size? This is number three in a series of comments/questions about lumber.

A. I got a call from a local gentleman whose father and grandfather had both been carpenters in Trinidad, Colorado. His father was born in 1913.

When the father started work, a 2 by 4 was 1 and 7/8 inch by 3 and 7/8. It was his opinion that the lumberyards could have made calculations so that the boards would be 2 by 4 after drying. He agreed that they were “selling air.”

This was especially annoying when an addition was added to a house. The roofline would not be even unless the carpenter compensated for the change in board size during the construction process.

Q . Do spray sunscreens work as well as lotions?

A. This question was answered in the July 1, 2016 issue of “Consumer Reports.”

According to this article, you should pick the type of sunscreen that you are most likely to use since tests identified effective products in both categories.

However, they do have some specific recommendations if you prefer a spray. While it is possible to cover your skin with one pass if it isn’t windy, they suggest that you routinely spray and then spray again to ensure good coverage.

Once you’ve sprayed on the sunscreen, you’ll increase protection if you use your hands to smooth it over your skin. Do not spray your face directly because you could inhale the sunscreen or get in your eyes. Spray the sunscreen into your hand and rub it onto your face.

One more caveat, they strongly recommend lotion for use on kids. Children are likely to inhale the spray which could irritate their lungs. If a spray sunscreen is all you have available, apply the spray to your hands and rub it over your child.

“Consumer Reports” also has researched optimum SPF (Sun Protection Factor) levels. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, SPF levels of 30 or higher are best.

However, nearly half of the sunscreens tested by Consumer Reports did not provide the level of protection listed on the container. While buying a high SPF sunscreen does not dramatically increase your protection, it may mean that you will get at least the minimum coverage you need.

Why doesn’t a high SPF increase protection significantly? According to Mona Gohara, clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB rays, and SPF 100 blocks 99 percent.

I chose this article because it offered the answer to today’s question, but sunscreens seem to be evaluated every year. The July 2019 issue recommends specific brands.

Would you like to use the brand chosen by the leading ladies of Hollywood? La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk sells for $7.20 an ounce.

If you’d rather not break the bank in the sunscreen aisle, these are also “Consumer Reports” picks: Coppertone Ultra Guard Lotion SPF 70 comes in at $1 an ounce while Walmart sells Equate Ultra Lotion SPF 50 for $0.44 an ounce.

Prefer a spray? Select CVS Health Beach Guard Clear Spray SPF 70 at $1.54 an ounce or Neutrogena Cool-Dry Sport Spray at $2.20 an ounce.

The article ranks approximately 75 products. If you’d like to see where your favorite sunscreen ranks, give us a call at 512-393-8200 and we will check.

From home, you can get free access to “Consumer Reports” articles by subject from the Ebsco Masterfile database. This is available on our website through a link to the TexShare databases. We would be happy to talk you through that process over the telephone. We pay for a subscription so we can give you the library’s username and password for login.

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