Aug 1, 2007

NOT a Foreign Language - Works for Me Wednesday

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:

(click to enlarge image)

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 - How to treat a sunburn
Blue Lizard - Sun Safety
Huntsman Cancer Center - EPA SunWise


Anonymous said...

You are scaring me, girl! Yikes!
Thanks for the visual..

T with Honey said...

Great links! Here's one more:
Cosmetic Safety Database

On this site I learned to try to avoid sunscreens with fragrance. It seems that many of the fragrances being added to sunscreens are carcinogenic. It also had information about which sunscreens break down faster than others, and why it is so important to reapply every 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! There's alot here that isn't common knowledge, like not leaving sunscreen in the car and the effectiveness difference in the spfs.

Recently I have had a couple of people close to me get very badly burned using a 50+ that, for some reason, didn't work at all. That's scary!

These are very good reminders.

Unknown said...

yikes, you are so right, thanks for the reminder!!!!! :)

Katy said...

Thanks for the reminder! I didn't know about #9! I usually leave a bottle in the car so we don't get caught out without any. But this will make me have to rethink my plan!

Anonymous said...

That is a horribly disturbing picture. Why do people do that to themselves. Anyway, thanks for all the tips. I admit sometimes I get lazy about sunscreen when we are just going about life and not a the pool or somewhere where application is obvious. Good tips!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea about not leaving sunscreen in the car. Thanks for this helpful advice!

Stephanie Kay said...

Thanks for stopping by today. And thanks for the reminder to use sunscreen. Leaving it on the counter is a great way to remember to put it on.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Thanks for the reminder!!!

I've been putting it on as part of our morning routine these days, that I don't forget, but it is so important!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Ok - that photo made me actually shiver. that may have inspired me to wear suncreen at night. YUK!

sexy said...


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