Posted by Dana Hinders on May 4, 2012
Have you heard about the New Jersey mom who was accused of taking her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth? She’s denying the charges, but judging from her personal appearance, I don’t think she makes sun safety a priority during the summer months.
My entire family is fair skinned and burns pretty easily, so sun protection is something I’m thinking about on a regular basis. It’s been fairly well documented that sunburns during childhood drastically increase your risk of getting skin cancer as an adult, so I am very careful with my son whenever we plan to be outside.
First, we try to limit sun exposure during the midday hours. This is when the sun is at its strongest and most likely to burn you regardless of what precautions you’ve taken. If we must go out during the midday hours, I try to choose clothing that offers some level of sun protection. This is one of those times when beach cover-ups are good for more than just camouflaging post-baby tummy jiggle! Just remember that dark colored, dry t-shirts offer more protection than wet, light or white t-shirts. Hats with wide brims are another smart choice for protecting you and your family against the dangers of the sun.
Sunscreen is the final component of our summer safety strategy. I’ve had no problems using cheaper brands of sunscreen, so feel free to select a budget-priced bottle if you’re worried about cost. Just remember to pick something that offers both UVA and UVB protection and has an SPF of 15 or more. Get a separate product for your face if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne. Lip balm with SPF is a smart purchase as well.
The key to sunscreen is that you need to be strict about using and storing it properly. Apply it every two hours and make sure you’re using enough to cover your whole body. For an adult, you need an amount that is about enough to fill a shot glass. When you’re storing unused sunscreen, keep it in a cool location. Hot temperatures, like the glove compartment of your car, will shorten its shelf life regardless of the brand you have selected and you won’t find this out until you’ve managed to give yourself a nasty sunburn.