Besides finding sunscreen that provides UVA and UBA protection, make sure it has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside. Keep in mind ingredients vary for different age groups, including infants under six months of age.
Pay attention to the ears, noses and tops of the feet. These areas are often forgotten and burn quickly. Use chapstick with SPF to protect lips. Wear a hat to keep the scalp safe or apply sunscreen to the scalp using a Q-Tip. Sunglasses should also be worn to prevent long term damage like cataracts and other vision problems.
Dermatologists say use about an ounce of sunscreen to cover exposed areas of skin. That’s enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass. Reapply every two hours or even more frequently if the kids are swimming or sweating. Throw out products that are past the expiration date and don’t use sunscreen that’s more than three years old.
Sunscreen isn’t just needed for days at the beach or at the pool. Kids should be protected anytime they go outside. The sun is at its peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s obviously strongest in the summer months, but sunscreen should be used all year and even on cloudy days. Burns can happen anytime.
There are plenty of options when it comes to sun protection. So what’s better; lotions, creams or sprays? The Food and Drug Administration recommends avoiding sprays for children. The concern is that kids may breathe in the ingredients when the product is sprayed. But spray is better than nothing at all. So if you use it, spray it into your hands and then rub it on. Be careful on the face and watch the eyes and mouth.
One of the best things to remember is to lead by example. Kids and teenagers will argue less if parents are practicing what they preach. You might end up saving your own life as a result.