Sunscreen.

As summer is on the horizon, more sun exposure is inevitable (and desirable). Here are some tips on sun exposure and sunscreen usage for you and your children during fun in the sun. 

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EVERYONE

  • Limit sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm (when UV rays are strongest).
  • Protect your eyes!
    • Wear polarized sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection.
  • Sunburns happen on cloudy days too, wear it anytime you are in the sun. And especially around water, sand, or snow (reflection increases UV exposure).
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. Any suspicious lesions should be noted and shown to a physician.
    • Suspect lesions = anything that has grown or changed color.
    • ABC’s – Asymmetrical, irregular Borders, Color changes/multiple colors, large Diameter or rapidly Evolving.

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CHILDREN

  • First and foremost, keep babies under 6 months out of direct sunlight and keep older children in cool, light-weight pants, long sleeves, and hats. The tighter the fabric weave, the more sun it will block.
  • Babies younger than 6 months –  use sunscreen on small areas exposed to sun (most should be covered – see above): hands, face. 
  • Children older than 6 months Apply all over, avoiding eyes.

SELECTING SUNSCREEN

  • Look for broad-spectrum on the label. This ensures UVA and UVB coverage.
    • UVA rays cause aging and UVB cause burns leading to skin cancer.
    • New UVA rating system – “stars”  
      • One star is low UVA protection.  
      •  Two stars is medium protection.
      • Three stars is high protection.  
      •  Four stars is the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter sunscreen product.
  • SPF = sun protection factor. You should use at least SPF 15. Higher SPF gives more coerage, but there is little gain after SPF 30.
    • Don’t be tricked by SPF 60+ as it does not confer additional protection.
  • Waterproof is a misnomer, as no sunscreen is waterproof; however, some is water resistant. All should be reapplied after 40 minutes in the water. 

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HOW TO APPLY SUNSCREEN

a no brainer, right? 

  • Cover all exposed areas:
    • Focus on nose, ears, feet, and hands.
    • The back of the neck, knee and elbow creases are commonly missed spots.
  • Apply enough sunscreen. So important that it bears repeating: Apply enough sunscreen!
    • 1-2 ounces for an adult.
    • That is approximately 1/2 teaspoon for the head, neck, each arm and 1 tsp for chest, back, and each leg.
  • Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going outdoors. It needs time to absorb into the skin.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Sunscreen wears off after swimming, sweating, or just from soaking into the skin.

USEFUL LINKS

HealthyChildren.org’s Sun Safety TIps

American Academy of Pediatrics Summer Safety Tips

American Academy of Dermatology on Sunscreen

 

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