As spring progresses and summer is right around the corner, it’s a good time to remind everyone of the importance of protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. With increased outdoor activities this time of year, it’s critical to keep your entire family protected.
Safety begins with wearing the right attire. Shirts, hats, shorts, and pants can provide the best protection from UV rays. Also, finding shade in order to enjoy some time for reading or for a family picnic is a safe way to make the best of outdoor time. You can also be mindful to plan around the sun; go outdoors early in the morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower, as UV radiation peaks at midday.
In addition to these tips, clearly proper sunscreen use is essential. You should actually wear it year round, but as we enjoy the warmer temps this season, it’s important for us to review what you should keep in mind when it comes to sunscreen:
- Always check the SPF for UVB protection. The SPF number indicates how well a sunscreen protects against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. If you’d normally get a sunburn in 10 minutes, an SPF 15 extends that by 15 times. So you could last 150 minutes before burning. How high an SPF do you need? An SPF 30 or higher is recommended.
- Look for UVA protection when you purchase a sunscreen. The SPF doesn’t tell the whole story – it only refers to protection against UVB rays. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays pose their own risks. So make sure the label on your sunscreen states that it has UVA, broad spectrum, or multi-spectrum protection.
- Look for water and/or sweat resistance. Keep in mind that these products are not waterproof. They will still wear off, but they will last longer than typical sunscreens.
- Reapply regularly. A few dabs in the morning will not last the whole day. Follow the directions on the bottle for reapplying – especially after you’ve been sweating or in the water.
- Young children’s skin is especially sensitive to chemical allergens – as well as the sun’s UV rays. Be sure to test sunscreen by applying a small amount on the inside of your child’s wrist the day before you plan to use it. If an irritation or rash develops, try another product. Ask your child’s doctor to suggest a product less likely to irritate your child’s skin.
- Not all sunscreens work as well as they should. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreen products and concluded that 4 out of 5 either contained chemicals that could potentially pose health hazards or didn’t adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays. You can find the results of their findings and learn which sunscreens are best by visiting Skin Deep, the EWG’s cosmetic safety database. (http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/?gclid=CjwKEAjw0q2pBRC3jrb24JjE8VgSJAAyIzAd46L2vZpLhC58TZOTEtTIxAhLm7hEcnpf3Txt1JkbjhoCI6Tw_wcB)
Taking the proper precautions and using the right sunscreen in the right ways will ensure your family safely enjoys this spring and summer to the fullest extent. Keep the discussed tips in mind, and we’re sure you’ll do just that.