Sun Safe in the summer

Sunshine, glorious sunshine…or not!?

While the summer sun is glorious, we can’t ignore that there is a harmful element as well.

With a depleting ozone and skin cancer on the rise we need to do what we can to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays.
Sun protection has gotten complicated; with all the products out there claiming varying degrees of sun protection factor (SPF), not to mention the mixed messages we are getting about ingredients and effectiveness of sunscreen, what’s a person to do?

As a mom I had some questions and wanted answers and here is what I discovered through speaking with people in the know and reading an article here and there:

UVA – UVB; what’s the difference?

UVA are ultra violet rays that cause the skin to tan and UVB cause it to burn but both UVA and UVB damage the skin.

SPF 8 or SPF 150; which should I be using?

The SPF (skin protection factor) helps indicate how long it protects from sun exposure…so if your skin burns after 10 minutes of sun exposure and you put on SPF 15 it multiplies the time you can spend in the sun without getting a burn to 150 minutes (unless you sweat profusely or go in the water).
HOWEVER… When selecting sunscreen look for an SPF of between 20 and 30…sometimes the SPF of 50 or greater create a false sense of security resulting in fewer reapplications and prolonged time spent in the sun. AND SPF 30 offers 97% protection from UVB whereas SPF 50 offers 98%…not such a big difference.

Sprays, Sticks or Lotions: what should I use?

Use the one that you like or more importantly one your kids don’t fight you when you apply it. It’s very important to be thorough remembering problem areas like the tops of the ears and the tips of the shoulders and nose.
Water resistant is a good idea if you’re going into the water or working up a sweat…keep in mind it’s water resistant not waterproof.

What’s in this stuff anyways?

I cannot pronounce all the names of the ingredients in sunscreens let alone spell them. Everyone’s comfort level and preference level in this area will vary so I suggest reading ingredients and doing some research to find out what you’re comfortable with.
Some sunscreens contain ingredients that are absorbed through the skin (like the somewhat controversial oxybenzone) and some stay on the skin (like titanium oxide and zinc oxide but leave a chalky feel).
Keep in mind it’s better to apply a sunscreen than go without and it’s a good idea to apply it about 15 minutes before heading outdoors.

Our options seem endless when it comes to sun protection but here is what I concluded;

#1 – Everybody’s skin is different and preference is different so you need to find the sunscreen that works for you and your little people.

#2 – Sunscreen is only 1 form of sun protection, there are also wide brimmed hats, sun clothing, sunglasses and finding some shade.

Now who’s ready to enjoy some sunshine, glorious sunshine! We are!!!!!