Sunscreen Basics for You and Your Kids
It's finally summertime! Time for festivals, berry picking, the beach, hiking, playgrounds, and more. And there's also that additional bonus of kicking cabin fever to the curb, and putting a stop to those fights over toys. There's just something about getting outside that brightens everyone's moods.
While you're adventuring, exploring and playing, don't forget to protect from the sun. Investing in your kids' future starts with protecting their health (and yours!), so make sure sunscreen is on your list.
There are SO MANY sunscreens out there. How do you know which ones are best? How much should you apply? Let's dig in for skin safety over the summer.
When to Apply?
20-30 minutes before exposure to the sun. Also, be sure to reapply every 2 hours or so, or after time spent in the water.
Some doctors recommend avoiding sunscreen (and direct sunlight) for babies 6 months or younger. Instead, keep them covered, and in the shade. If you're older than 6 months, sunscreen is for you!
What to Look For
- Broad spectrum, or sunscreens that protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Ones that protect from blue light are an additional bonus!
- SPF 30 or 50 - both will give you about the same amount of protection. Higher SPFs don't really protect all that much more. And they might even make you feel more comfortable not reapplying - which we don't want to do.
- Cream sunscreen - a more thorough coverage than spray (plus see below)
- Mineral sunscreen (with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) - it adds as a more protective barrier, and is less likely to cause irritation than chemical sunscreens
What to Avoid
- Oxybenzone and octinoxate - chemicals that not only cause health problems, but also are in the process of being banned in Hawaii for causing coral bleaching
- Retinol or retinyl palmitate - can speed up skin tumors
- Fragrance - one word that can mean tons of unlisted ingredients, including harmful and questionable ones
- Spray - it's just tough to get the same coverage, and can also cause problems with inhalation or eye contact
- The sunscreens on this "Worst of" list, which don't actually protect as well as they claim to
Some say sunscreen should be the last resort! Make sure you and the kids are covered, wear hats, sit in the shade, bring an umbrella, and try to keep from being in the sun during the hottest part of the day - 10am-2pm.