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Summer is around the corner and to kick off all the fun to come is National Sunscreen Day on May 27. There are lots of health benefits, both physical and mental, related to being in the sun. But as we have all been made well aware, too much time in the sun can be harmful to our bodies. With the proper use of sunscreen, we can still enjoy the benefits without the unpleasant side effects.
I live in Hawaii where we get more sun than not and the battle to make my four-year-old daughter wear sunscreen is a daily struggle. Using spray sunscreen could cut the struggle in half but I have never liked them. Unless you apply them indoors, they end up everywhere except where they were intended. Sunscreen sprays may also be a health hazard for little ones due to the risk of inhalation when spraying. (via Consumer Reports)
Given the time it takes to apply sunscreen lotion, it should definitely be worth the while. In other words, don’t waste your time and money on sunscreen below par.
With so many different brands and formulas on the market, how can one know what to look for? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a sunscreen with Broad Spectrum protection, meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB. In other words, it protects against sunburn and helps prevent both skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.
Another feature to look for is whether or not the product is water resistant. It is a must if you live near the shore or pool or if the summer temperatures make you perspire. According to the FDA, the sunscreen’s label must indicate how long you may expect to get the full protection if you are in the water or are sweating and recommend reapplying after that time has passed.
>> Read more: The Skinny On Sunscreen: Myths vs. Facts
As a mom, I am always eager to find ways to make life easier. My daughter wriggles and tries to run away at the mere mention of sunscreen. Getting it on her body is not as bad as her face. After struggling for years, I rediscovered the stick version! It glides on easy, doesn’t require much rubbing and she can actually use it on her own. I do have to monitor her to make sure she actually gets it all over her face.
Whereas most of us tend to remember putting sunscreen on our faces, there is one part of our bodies that is often overlooked — our feet. Since they are normally at least partially covered by our shoes, it is easy to forget covering them in sunscreen when we take our shoes off. Most little ones, in Hawaii at least, are barefoot or in slippers most of the time, especially on the beach.
Another important factor is the amount of sunscreen to use. Since we are all of different sizes, there is no fixed amount recommended. More is better than less and every inch of exposed skin should be covered. As important as application is reapplication. If you don’t swim or sweat, every two hours should suffice, but you should apply every hour if you get wet. To get the most out of your application, try to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you plan on exposing yourself to the sun. This practice helps your skin to fully absorb the product which comes in handy with kids who are over-eager to get in the water.
>> Read more: 15, 30, 45, Oh My: Decoding SPF Numbers
There are SO many different brands of sunscreen and as much as I wish I could try them all, my life is simply not long enough. Out of all the ones I have tried, I have some favorites.
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Stick
- Neutrogena Sheer (for your face)
- SunBum (I enjoy all products except the spray. I think it smells like a banana!)
- Honest, both lotion and stick. (The lotion is a bit thick, but gives good protection.)
It looks like we have another great summer ahead of us but, before you head to your local watering hole, make sure you slather on a good, thick layer of broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen on your children and yourself. Bring it on, sunshine!