Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Sizzle: Sun Protection

Summer is here and we all have tons of great outdoor activities and vacations to be had, however it is important to be aware of powerful sun and its affects on your skin.

It's hard to believe that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during the course of their life. Most of the harm we do to our skin comes during our first 18 years of life.  It's important, as parents, we introduce and establish a good sun protection routine with our children.  There have been some new studies stating that it is okay for parents to apply sunscreen to areas of skin exposed to the sun, on children under 6 months.  You should consult with your pediatrician for further information about these studies.

Keeping your young ones in the shade and minimizing outdoor activity during 10AM to 4PM can help minimize the stronger rays from damaging their sensitive skin.  It is important to know that every skin type (fair, medium, dark) can become sunburned.  It's also worth noting that days that are windy, overcast, and cooler can still yield sun damage.  Sunscreen can and should be worn year round and it's best to apply a SPF of 30 (or higher) 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE you go outside.
When applying sunscreen, it's important that you apply everywhere on the body, including feet, hands, neck, ears, lips, and even your scalp!  Not sure how much to use?  1 oz. is the recommended dosage (about a shot glass full) all over, including underneath straps.  Wearing a wide brimmed hat helps keep the sun off your face and neck.  There are some cute hats for your baby, with ear and neck flaps. Get them used to wearing it before your trip to the beach, so they are not fighting you on wearing it the whole time.  Same goes for sunglasses.  Look for 100% UV protection.  And you know little Billy wants to look and act just like Dad, so lead by example and wear a hat and glasses while outside too.

For more info on selecting sunglasses for your child visit
If you or your little one has sensitive skin, look for zinc oxide on the list of ingredients-signaling that it is noncomedogenic, meaning it won't clog your pores.  Speaking cosmetically...don't think that the mineral based makeups and makeup featuring SPF in it, is adequate coverage.  Regular sunscreen needs to be applied (or look for a moisturizer with SPF) before you apply your regular makeup.  And don't forget to check the expiration dates on your moisturizer and sunscreen because they can go "bad" just like the majority of beauty products out on the market.  Same rules apply for aloe vera products...they too can expire.
Speaking of aloe vera, let's face's going to are going to get sunburned at some point.  We try our best to use sunscreen, but we lose all track of time, and it happens and it can be miserable.  It's important that you do not peel or scratch your flaking skin, which can lead to infections.  Try to drink extra fluids, pop an ibuprofen or two, and use some aloe or other moisturizing creams to return moisture to your burnt/dried skin.  Check with your doctor on what recovery measures you should take for young children and infants.

With the correct sun protection routine in place, you can enjoy all the perks of the warm weather and the activities it brings.  Have a wonderful summer and check back for the next Summer Sizzle post-Heat Protection.

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