Questions About – Sunscreen Longevity, Suntan Lotion For Kids, Sunless Tanning, Outlet Store Quality, Small TV Electricity, Fading Receipts

Liz Crenshaw: 6/5/09

Sunscreen Longevity
Q:  I have an old bottle of sunscreen. Does it lose its potency after a while or  does it stay effective forever?

A:  We went to the the American Academy of Dermatology for your answer.  It says throw the old sunscreen away.  It says after a year, sunscreen chemicals degrade and lose effectiveness. 

Suntan Lotion For Kids
Q:  What is a good suntan lotion for a 10-year old child?

A:  We went to the American Academy of Dermatology for your answer.  It recommends that children always wear what's known as a "broad spectrum" sunscreen. That's one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.  It also has a sun protection factor of at least 15.  The Academy also suggests using stick sunscreen products with paraffin on the nose, lips, ears, and palms of young children so the product is less likely to get in your children's eyes.  By the way, doctors say 80 percent of sun damage to skin occurs during childhood and adolescence. That's why sun safety for kids is so important.

Sunless Tanning Lotions
Q:  Are there any harmful health effects from using sunless tanning lotions?

A:  We contacted the Lombardi Cancer Institute at Georgetown University with your question.  It says the only harmful health effect of sunless tanning lotions is that some people are allergic.  Some people also complain about skin stains caused by the lotions.  And you should also know that sunless tanning lotion does not protect you against sunburn.  Remember, many doctors recommend wearing sunscreen whenever you're outside.  They suggest using it daily as you would makeup or after shave.  Apply sunscreen liberally 20 minutes before you go out, Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.   And limit your sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is strongest.

Outlet Store Quality
Q: Is the merchandise sold in outlet stores of lesser quality than items sold in regular retail stores, and if they are from a previous season?

A: We checked with the outlet stores for Saks Fifth Avenue and Gymboree for your answer. Both said there is no difference in quality or material. Saks said its outlet items are often left over from the previous season. But the quality is no different from the regular retail store. Gymboree said it remakes last year's collection for outlet stores. However, its outlets only carry basic sizes. The merchandise comes in discounted 25-percent, and often gets marked down from there.

TV Energy Usage
Q: Do small TVs use less energy than big ones?

A: The Alliance to Save Energy  gave us your answer. It says, all factors being equal, the smaller the TV the less energy it uses. However, keep in mind that plasma TVs consume more energy than others. Also, old TVs typically use up more energy than new ones of the same size. The Alliance to Save Energy recommends that you buy a TV with the Energy Star label on it. These TVs meet the US Department of Energy and the EPA's strict energy guidelines.

Fading Receipts
Q: How do I protect store receipts so they don't fade to the point of becoming illegible?

A: Target gave us the answer to your question. Target says many stores have switched to thermal paper and printers to speed up checkout. It says receipts now print twice as fast as they used to. Target says thermal paper receipts should last at least 90 days. But it says if you need a receipt to last longer, you should photocopy it.

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