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The Importance of Sunscreen

Most everyone is aware of the importance of applying sunscreen. However, the majority of people fail to take the complete and essential steps to thoroughly protect children’s skin. Cloudy days, rushing, losing track of time, neglecting to reapply, and the battle to convince your child to hold still are all common issues.

However, keeping up with sunscreen application is vital to avoiding painful sunburns and UV radiation which can lead to skin cancer as well as early onset of aging and wrinkles later on.

Tips for Effective Sunscreen Application:

  • When selecting sunscreen look for a minimum SPF between 15 and 50. There is currently no proof that SPF above 50 offers additional benefits, and you still need to re-apply just as frequently. The SPF doesn’t relate to the product offering longer protection.
  • Be extra vigilant with sunscreen spray, as it can be easy to miss areas.
  • Look for “broad spectrum” options that safeguard against both types of damaging UV radiation (UVB and UVA) rays.
  • Be aware that clouds don’t block all harmful UV rays. These rays can also reach below the surface of the water, bounce back from reflective surfaces (water, snow, sand, or concrete), and present a risk on overcast days. It’s still necessary to apply and reapply sunscreen even when there seems to be no sun in the sky.
  • While some products are labeled “water-resistant,” none are waterproof. They will be marked with how many minutes they remain effective, but they all eventually wash off. Reapply more often if your child is spending time in the water or sweating.
  • It’s true that people with fair skin tend to burn more quickly and easily than those with darker skin, but no one is exempt from the harm of sun exposure, and sunscreen is just one layer of defense. Try to limit sun exposure and avoid peak intensity in the middle of the day.
  • Encourage kids to play in the shade. Babies six months and below should always be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • Lightweight clothes that cover arms and legs, hats with wide brims, and sunglasses that include UV protection are always recommended.

For further information about safer ingredients for kids and the environment, you can look up details of specific sunscreens provided online by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.