Sunscreen Advice and Safety Tips
The more time we spend under the sun, the greater the risk of sunburn. A child can begin to develop a sunburn after being exposed to the sun for only 15 minutes. And exposure can take up to 12 hours to manifest so what looks just “a little red” now, can look a lot worse the next day.
There are some important things you should know when choosing the proper sunscreen.
Know what’s in your sunscreen. The experts don’t agree on everything. Some brands of sunscreen have certain chemicals that can have “hormone like effects” in the body. Consult your physician. Most experts seem to agree that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sunscreens are safe as well as effective. They’re also ideal for young children and people with sensitive skin.
What SPF should you look for? The SPF number indicates how well a sunscreen protects against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. So If you typically get a sunburn in 10 minutes, an SPF 15 extends that by 15 times. So you get about 150 minutes out of SPF 15. Most experts seem to agree that SPF 30 or higher is best.
What activities are you going to be doing? If you’re going to be on the water, the reflective qualities of the water’s surface compound the effects of the sun. Make sure you’re using a high enough SPF and you reapply frequently. Also, use a water resistant sunscreen if you’re going to be in the water. And it’s important to remember that waster resistance doesn’t mean water proof.
Apply, apply… and apply again. You can’t just put sunscreen on in the morning and call it day. Most brands wear off after a couple of hours so make sure you read the directions on the bottle and reapply after the suggested amount of time has lapsed.
Be mindful of peak UV exposure times. The hours of 10am – 4pm UV exposure from the sun is at its highest. Seek shade and avoid the sun during these hours. And you shouldn’t just rely on sunscreen to keep you protected. When you aren’t in the water, you should wear clothing. (Tight weaves and darker colors offer more protection.)
Ask your doctor. Finally, you should always check with the experts and consult your physician for best practices. There’s a lot of misinformation out there so do your research to be sure that you information is coming from reliable sources.