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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Important Facts About Sunscreen

I have to be one of the laziest people when it comes to sunscreen. You would think with my fair complexion that would not be the case. I sent Micah (my red-headed 8yr old son) to school last week in a sleeveless shirt. Two recesses later (not even field day or anything), he came home with sunburned shoulders. No sunscreen, of course. Nice job, mom!
I love the sprays and sticks and wish I could just tell my kids to put it on themselves (and then put it on me, too!), but we aren't there yet. I read an article in the June 2012 Parents magazine the other night and thought it had some really good information, so once again, I'm passing along some tidbits! ~Tiffany

Use at least 30 SPF; unless your child is fair & burns easily then use 50 SPF. Higher SPF's don't seem to offer greater protection.

How much sunscreen do we need to apply?
Adults in summer clothing need 1.5 oz (a full shot glass). Children will need about half as much, unless your spending many hours in the sun. "It should only take a couple visits to the pool or beach to go through a bottle of sunscreen, especially if you are reapplying frequently enough," says Dawn Davis, M.D. at Mayo Clinic.

When should we reapply sunscreen?
After a swim, definitely. Even water resistent sunscreens become less effective after a swim and get rubbed off with towels.

Do sprays work as well as lotions?
Yes, if you use them properly. But most people tend to put on far too little spray sunscreen, especially on windy days when it tends to blow away.

If my child tans easily, do I need as much sunscreen?
Yes. "A tan is a sign that the skin is being damaged by UV light," says Dr. Davis. There's nothing healthy about a tan.

Is it okay if I use my unfinished bottle from last summer?
As long as it has not expired, it should be okay to use. But if you left it in direct heat for a couple of days - for example, in a hot car or on a sunny windowsill - it may have lost some of its efficacy.

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