With summer in full swing, people are flocking to the beaches and the swimming pools every day to beat the heat.
While that’s great, there is a certain protocol that needs to be followed before heading out in the sun. And the most important part of that protocol is of course sunscreen.
But how many of us actually know how to wear sunscreen, which ones to buy and also make our kids wear it?
Protecting your skin doesn’t just mean to grab any sunscreen and slather it on once, thinking that you are good to go. You have to keep a few things in mind before you can truly see the benefits of it. Here are 25 essential tips for you to know regarding sunscreen:
1. Higher SPF doesn’t always mean its better
Most of the sunscreens in the market that are SPF 75 or higher are not really as what they claim to be. In a report by FDA, it was revealed that only a handful of brands actually have true high SPF. But even still, it is recommended that you stick to SPF 50 as it is as effective as the higher ones. Just make sure that you reapply after every 2 hours so that its effects don’t wear off.
2. Steer clear of spray sunscreens
Many people prefer using spray sunscreens because they are not as greasy as the regular creamier versions and get absorbed easily. Studies have shown that spray sunscreens are not as effective as the other ones precisely because of this reason. They don’t give an even and thick coating on the skin and are a poor barrier against the sun. Not to mention that sprays are detrimental to the environment and can aggravate asthma in kids.
3. Choose mineral-based sunscreens over chemical ones
Always read the label on the sunscreen bottle and see the list of ingredients used in the formulation. Don’t buy sunscreens that include oxybenzone as it is a chemical that is not good for the body in the long run.
This chemical is linked to hormonal imbalance and can cause skin allergies. It also causes the bleaching of the coral reefs and their destruction. It might not seem that significant, but imagine a beach full of people that come every day wearing chemical sunscreens and swimming in the sea. The impact on the coral reefs in the long term will be quite detrimental.
Stick to mineral-based formulations that include titanium or zinc oxide.If you are applying sunscreen to your kids then always get a sunscreen that is specifically made for the kids as it is formulated according to their skin.
4. Stick to SPF 30-50
Choose sunscreens with ranging from SPF 30-50 only. Nothing lower than 30 or higher than 50 will provide your skin the benefit and protection it deserves. The ideal sunscreen should be a broad spectrum one with an SPF that falls within the mentioned range.
5. Choose water resistant sunscreen
Even if you are not going to the beach or pool, it is still important to wear a water resistant sunscreen. You can sweat if you spend a lot of time outside and it can wear off after a couple of hours anyway.
6. Get a full dose of sunscreen
You need to apply one ounce of sunscreen all over your body, you can increase it accordingly but an ounce is the minimum.
7. Don’t rely on sunscreen alone
As important and affective sunscreen is in protecting your skin, that is not the only measure you need to take for preventing any sun damage. Wear sun protective clothing, avoid sitting or standing excessively in a sunny area and use shades whenever possible.
Even at the beach, make sure you have some sort of shade that your body can use such as an umbrella.
8. Look for the seal
Always make sure the sunscreen bottle has a seal of recognition that mentions protection against UVA and UVB rays.
No matter what the strength of your sunscreen is, it must always be reapplied because its effects wear off in as little as 2 hours. If you are at the beach or the pool then it must be applied every 90 minutes because swimming can also take some of it off or make the barrier lighter.
Therefore you must rub some extra sunscreen on if you have spent quite a time swimming.
10. Wear sunscreen everyday
This should be a daily skin care ritual for you no matter what season or time of the year it is. This is because up to 40% of the sun’s radiation can easily reach the earth even on the cloudiest of days.
11. Wear it under your makeup
Don’t rely on foundations that include SPF. They have a very light version of sunscreen that is not going to help your skin against the sun at all. Apply your sunscreen and let it absorb before you apply your make-up.
12. For hair
Sunscreen is not just for the visible part of the body, but it is for the scalp as well. Now normally nobody feels the need to apply any sunscreen on the head because the scalp is already covered with hair. Men can rub sunscreen on their heads but what about us ladies?
Fret not as there is always a solution. If you have thinning hair and always feel a burning sensation every time you are out in the sun then either wear a hat or use shampoos and oils with sunscreen in them. Whether it’s a regular liquid shampoo or a dry one, make sure you get a UV protecting shampoo and wash your head prior to heading out.
13. Choose the sunscreen according to your skin type
If you are using sunscreen on your face then make sure you apply one that won’t make your skin react. Products with anti-inflammatory ingredientsor properties suit most skin types and are non-comodegenic as well.
If you have dark spots or tend to get tanned easily then pick products that include lightening agents such as niacinamide.
14. Check the expiration date
Never use sunscreen past its due date. Even if it is more than half a bottle left, just chuck it away in the bin as it’s not worth losing the health of your skin for.
Expired sunscreens lose their potency and some even cause the skin to have a bad allergic reaction.
You got your sunscreen basics right and know its importance but kids don’t so it’s up to you as a parent to ensure they have their sun protection sorted.
Here some tips of how you can make your children wear it:
15. Sun safe clothing
If you are taking your kids to the beach or pool, then you got to make sure their swimwear is UV protected.
They have their goggles, swim cap and most importantly sunscreen on. Apply sunscreen all over their bodies before they wear their clothes so it’s less of a hassle.
16. Apply sunscreen on kids before they head out
You must apply it before they even head out of the house so that there is maximum sun protection for them.This is because when they arrive at the beach or pool, the last thing they would want to do is to sit, rub sunscreen and let it absorb. They will just directly want to jump in the water and get soaked and won’t bother using sunscreen.You need to apply it at least 30 minutes before they go out in the sun.
For younger kids, apply it when they are strapped in their car seat. Toddlers and infants usually get squirmy and hard to handle if you are doing something simple as applying sunscreen to them so take this as the perfect time to rub some on them.
17. The right sunscreen
If you are applying your own sunscreen to them then make sure it doesn’t include any chemical ingredients. It is better to get sunscreen that’s specifically made for kids as they usually have easy to read texts and cute cartoons on them. This will entice the children to use the sunscreen on their own as well.
18. Make it a ritual for them
The only way they will learn the importance of sunscreen is if you make it a habit or a ritual from the start. Apply it on them every day before they go to school and one day you can instruct them to apply it by themselves.
Sunscreen should be like any other daily important habit such as brushing the teeth and hair.
19. Make it fun
Kids don’t usually like applying a thick layer of greasy sunscreen on them and try to find ways to avoid it. If your children are the same then you should make it fun for them.
Make cute shapes and signs on their bodies using sunscreen and then gently massage it so that they enjoy it.
There are also glitter sunscreens for girls so if your little princess needs an extra bit of coaxing, then this will surely entice her to apply it in a jiffy.
You can also put sunscreen on them by telling them that they can apply it on you to and make cute shapes using sunscreen.
20. Tell them its importance
Sometimes you really just have to break it down for them so that they understand. If your kids are old enough, then explain to them that sunscreen is a crucial aspect of skin care and that if they want to avoid sunburn, tanning or other types of sun damage then they must apply it regularly.
If you have teens then this is the age when you can take advantage of appealing to their vanity. Don’t bother explaining to them the dangers of skin cancer. Instead tell them that exposure to the sun’s rays can increase the risk of wrinkles and age spots earlier on.
This is the stage when they start caring about their looks and appearance a lot so this strategy will be a surefire way to make them use sunscreen.
21. Always a carry sunscreen in your bag
You never know when you might need it so always carry reinforcements such as a mini sunscreen bottle/stick or sunscreen wipes for your kids. This is important if you forget to apply some on them at home or need to do a quick reapplication.
22. Limit outdoor playtime
If it’s a very hot and sunny day then don’t let your kids play out in the sun from 10 a.m-4 p.m this is the time when the sun’s rays are at their peak and the strongest. Your kids might be tempted to go have some fun outside so make them do some fun activities at home or take them somewhere that has some indoor activities that they can enjoy.
23. Avoid putting sunscreen on babies
Babies 6 moths and under should avoid the sun completely. Although there are sunscreens that you can use on babies, it is still preferred to make them stay in the shade as much as possible. If it’s absolutely necessary, apply tiny amounts on their body and make them wear hats. If you are taking them out in their stroller then use one that has a sun protective covering.
24. Vitamin D
A lot of parents have concerns that if they apply sunscreen on their kids then they won’t get the required amount of vitamin D. You can give them vitamin D supplements with 400 IUs daily. For younger kids that can’t take them, there are vitamin D gummies and liquid drops that they can take.
Of course this doesn’t discredit the importance of natural vitamin D that they can get from the sun and every other day, you can let them soak a bit of the sun for a couple of minutes.
25. Dark skin still needs sunscreen
It’s a misconception that sunscreen is only useful for light skin. Sun damage can happen to all kinds of skin tones so if you and your children have a darker skin tone, you would still need to apply it.
We hope that this sunscreen guide helps you and your kids enjoy the summer without compromising on the safety and health of your skin.
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