Sunburns & Sun Exposure Last Forever
A sunburn today can lead to skin cancer tomorrow. Whenever outdoors your child’s skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunblocks are a must. Look for long sleeves & pants, tight weaves, UV protection labels and three inch brimmed hats.
SPF, UVA, UVB, Full Spectrum…
All exposed skin should be protected with sunscreens or sunblocks labeled with Full Spectrum UVA & UVB protection and an SPF-Sun Protection Factor. Sunblocks labeled as both “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) not only protect against sunburn, but, if used as directed with the other sun protection measures above, can reduce the risk of skin cancer, early skin aging and damage. Sun exposure damages all skin. A tan is skin damage. (Sunscreens protect by absorbing harmful rays. Sunblocks protect by literally blocking the rays. In this post I will use sunblock referring to both.)
Toss old sunblock, get SPF 30+, apply twice
- Throw out all sunblock from last summer. Even if it is still within the expiration date, it’s probably not anywhere near as effective as it was. Exposure to sun and heat expedite the expiration.
- Sunblock comes in a variety of forms – lotions, sprays, wipes or gels. Be sure to choose one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and both UVA and UVB or broad spectrum protection. (Sprays can pose an inhalation danger and tend to go all over the place instead of the skin.)
- For most effective protection, apply sunblock generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. And, don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips, back of the knees, neck and the tops of feet which often go unprotected.
- Apply it in two coats.Apply sunblock twice, not once. Studies show that children only get the full protection of sunblock when it is applied twice. It is really easy to miss a spot or two with just one coat.
- Take sunblock with you to reapply during the day, especially after your child swims or exercises. This applies to “waterproof” and “water resistant” products as well. Keep in mind, sunblock is not meant to allow your children to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that sunblock use on babies less than 6 months old is not harmful on small areas of a baby’s skin, such as the face and back of the hands. But make sure you test for potential irritation 48 hours before needed by applying a small amount on a patch of your baby’s skin. Your baby’s best defense against sunburn is avoiding the sun or staying in the shade.
Recommended Sunblock & Sunscreen
Some of the most popular sunblocks we see at school are Baby Bum, babyganics and Coppertone Pure & Simple baby.