As you finalize plans for your family’s summer vacation, make sure you prepare for sun protection. Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a miserable sunburn! Whether your plans include a beach vacation, summer camp, or long days at the park, don’t forget the sun safety tips shared here.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen
Sunscreen is available in many varieties and one size does not fit all. When shopping for a sunscreen, consider the following:
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) ratings indicate how well your skin is protected from sunburn from mainly UVB rays. Higher SPF protects skin more than lower SPF however the benefits are minimal to go beyond an SPF 50. Experts recommend wearing a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
SPF alone is not enough. Even though sunburn is mainly caused by UVB rays, UVA rays also damage skin and accelerate aging and possibly contribute to skin cancers. Therefore, choose a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection.
Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going out into the sun. Applying less than the minimum amount will reduce the effectiveness of SPF coverage. Reapply every 80 minutes to maintain effectiveness.
Keep in mind that sunscreen expires over time. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen. If there is no date, it is most likely good for 3 years after the purchase date.
Swimming and perspiring cause sunscreen to wear off more quickly. In this case, you should reapply more frequently than every 80 minutes. Also try a water-resistant sunscreen. Water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied every 40 minutes. Very water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied every 80 minutes.
Children and people with sensitive skin should avoid using sunscreens that rely on chemical sunscreens. These chemical sunscreen ingredients include para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzophenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, and sulisobenzone. They often irritate skin. Instead, use barrier sunscreens such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which are not absorbed by the skin.
Try one of these:
If you have oily skin and sunscreens often cause you to break out, try one of these:
In addition to sunscreen, wear protective sun clothing, hats, or sunglasses to protect yourself. Protective sun clothing is rated with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) numbers to indicate how well it protects against sunburn. Ratings of 15 and 20 are good; 25, 30, or 35 are very good; and 40, 45, or 50+ are excellent. Sun protective clothing can be purchased at most sporting goods retailers.
Clothing can be designed to offer sun protection using a variety of techniques:
tightly woven or knit construction
special dyes that absorb or reflect UV rays
treated fabrics that absorb UV rays
fibers that provide good protection, such as polyester and nylon
Other apparel tips:
Wear wraparound sunglasses with total UV protection.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Ideally, the brim should go all the way around the hat. Avoid hats made from straw or other materials that have many holes.
Try to stay in shaded areas with trees or canopies. When visiting the beach, bring an umbrella.
Also, avoid being outside between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun and harmful rays are the strongest. Plan outings and events for earlier or later in the day.
Pay Attention to Medications
Some common medications increase sun sensitivity making it easier to get a sunburn and damage your skin. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if your medications have this side effect. If so, make sure you are always protected.
Sun safety is serious business, but it doesn’t have put a damper on your summer plans. Make sure you have the right sunscreen and other sun protection and know how to use them correctly. Share this information with your children and set a good example.
Hubbard Family Swim School wants you to have a great summer. For more tips on staying healthy and having fun this summer, contact us.