The Great Parenting Advice Edition - Protection is Prevention!
This post is under the Works for Me Wednesday because Sunscreen is something I wish I was better at. If I could give advice to a new mom, it would be to learn to use sunscreen on herself and the kids EVERY. DAY. Having received a 2nd degree sunburn when I was a child, I am trying to prevent it happening to others.
SPF, UVA, UVB, Broad-spectrum coverage, titanium? NOT a foreign language - it's summer time again and sunscreen should be on the TOP of your outside play list. The Estrogen Files CARES about your skin! You don't want to look like this:
I'm a low-maintenance girl: no makeup, low amounts of jewelry (usually just my plain gold wedding band), a simple hair do. And I don't often remember to use sunscreen - until I parked a bottle on the bathroom counter right next to the sink. I posted a note on the back of the front door to remind the kids and keep the sunscreen, though sometimes in the way, on the table.
Here's 10 rules for Sun Protection:
1. Sunscreen isn't just for vacationing on the beach.
All weather allows damaging UV rays to reach your skin - sunny, cloudy, winter.
2. It takes HOW much?
It takes ONE FULL OUNCE of sunscreen to completely protect your body. Rub it in all over - rims of ears, back of neck, middle of the back, hands, feet, and lips!
3. Direct Sunlight requires MORE
SPF 30 filters out about 97% of the suns harmful rays. This is 4% more than SPF 15 - and it makes a difference when you're out in the direct sun! If you increase your SPF to 50 you'll block out 98% of harmful rays.
4. Lotion, gel or spray?
Surprise - they're all the same if applied correctly - see number 2! Choose the one you like best. This makes it the one you'll be likely to use. Be sure to apply the sunblock at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun AND 20 minutes after you go outside. Reapply every 2 hours.
5. 2 hours, max!
Don't got out in the straight sun for more than 2 hours without seeking shade. Too much sun can also cause heat illness. Learn how to recognize and treat heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
6. The most damage occurs...
Between 10 am and 4 pm. The same reasons you shouldn't plant in the garden during this time is the same you shouldn't be out during these tough hours. The sun does the most damage during this time of day.
7. Old 'screen is trashable If you've opened a bottle from last year, toss it. It's lost some of it's effectiveness. The article I've read says that unopened bottles from last year are probably fine.
8. Head wear
The American Cancer Society recommends wearing a hat with at least 2 inches of brim to make sure your neck, nose, and scalp are in the shade. Thinking on it, these are pretty tender places! Curves magazine diane recommends Wallaroo hats - based in Boulder, CO. The protection level is 50+ and this means 98% of the harmful rays are blocked. They're cute, smashable and really handy! I also saw a line of UV protective swim wear at Target for children in a very affordable price range. Don't forget the sunglasses, either!
9. The car is HOT!
Don't leave sunscreen in the car for more than 5 hours - it begins to break down the active ingredients and lose it's effectiveness. (Gotta tell that one to Hubbers!)
10. UVA, UVB, and the you.
Use a sunscreen that blocks both of these rays. They are called broad-spectrum and contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide with a minimum SPF of 30. The Huntsman Cancer Center recommends Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen. The bottle turns blue in the sunlight, indicating the presence of UV rays. We have the baby version and love it.
More sunscreen/sunburn sites:
Check your UV Index
About.com - How to treat a sunburn
Blue Lizard - Sun Safety
Huntsman Cancer Center - EPA SunWise