Summer is officially here which means it’s time to diligently protect our skin from the sun! We always talk about the importance of sun protection but can we first talk about how difficult it is to put sunblock on our kids? If your kids are like mine, here are some familiar scenarios we face as we try to be good mothers and protect our kids’ from the harmful UV rays.
Luckily my older daughters are now old enough to understand the importance of sunblock and love it when I put it on their faces. But my 22 months old son? Not so much. He does everything from the “face swivel,” to the “pull away.” Putting on sunblock on active babies and kids is not easy, but it’s not something any of us should skip out on.
With that said, here are some important reminders from KnowYourOTCs.org about how to choose and use sunblock on ourselves and kids.
What type of sunscreen is best for you and your family?
- Only use broad spectrum sunscreen
Broad spectrum means it protects against UVA and UVB radiation rays. The UVA rays can cause premature aging, wrinkles and damage that can lead to skin cancer. The UVB rays can cause your skin to burn.
- Use a minimum of SPF 30
SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects your skin from the kind of UVB rays that cause sunburn. Experts recommend a minimum of SPF 30 as it blocks 97% of UVB rays when applied (and re-applied( correctly.
- Total amount needed is roughly one ounce
When lathering yourself or your kids with sunscreen, the total amount needed is roughly one ounce or the size of a golf ball. While one ounce for an entire body may seem like a lot, for adults that is often what it takes! Using sun protective clothing can also help reduce the surface area that needs to be covered.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, then be sure to re-apply .
Ideally, you should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure. Then re-apply based on your activity. Sunscreen needs to be re-applied AT LEAST every 2 hours or more frequently if you are getting wet or sweating. One helpful way to remember that it’s time to re-apply sunscreen is to set a timer on your phone. Make sure to read the label because it will specify how long the sunscreen will remain water-resistant. With high outdoor activity, a good rule of thumb is to re-apply sunscreen every hour of play to be on the safe side.
- Never spray sunscreen directly on a child’s face.
Instead spray it on your hands, and then apply it to his/her face. Have children hold their breath and close their eyes when you spray sunscreen on their body.
- Do not use sunscreen on babies younger than six months old
I generally don’t put sunblock on my kids when they are younger than 6 months old. Instead I cover them with hats, long sleeve shirts, canopy etc. But if you’re concerned about sun exposure, talk to your pediatrician. The risk of sunburn could outweigh the risk of sunscreen use depending on your situation.
- Wear sun protection gear
Don’t forget hats, UV protective clothing and rashguard shirts! These are easy ways to protect your skin in addition to using sunscreen.
I hope you enjoyed these reminders! Have a fun summer, get lots of sun but be sure you’re always protected from harmful UV rays. For more information, visit KnowYourOTC’s.org and check out this page for their sun care tips.