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Sunscreen and Children

posted on 11:02 AM, June 26, 2013

Sun Facts

  • Within the sun’s rays are two types of radiation; UVA and UVB.
  • Sunburns are predominantly caused by UVB rays while UVA is most responsible for skin damage such as aging/wrinkles and some types of skin cancer.

How do I protect myself and my kids from the harmful effects of the sun?

  • For everyone over the the age of 6 months, the use of sunscreen is recommended whenever you are going to be exposed to the sun.
  • For infants under the age of 6 months, sunscreen use is not recommended.
  • -Babies are born with thinner skin than older kids/adults, therefore it is easy for   them to absorb the sunscreen into their skin, making it less effective. It is also a good idea to limit the baby’s exposure to different chemicals (exposure early in      life can cause sensitivities when the child is older).
  • For all ages, seeking shade whenever you are outside, wearing clothing to cover exposed areas of skin, and wearing a hat and sunglasses are all good measures to take to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.

 

Are there different types of sunscreens I can use?

  • Yes. In fact, there are a variety of ingredients used to make commercially available sunscreen products.
  • Sunscreen ingredients can normally be divided amongst two categories.
  • -  Chemical filters absorb the sun’s rays and convert that energy into heat. There are lots of chemical filters available. However, many do not provide adequate UVA protection.
  • - Physical filters sit on the skin and reflect/scatter the sunlight. Sunscreens with these ingredients provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation. When selecting a sunscreen, look for one that has Zinc oxide and/or Titanium dioxide.

 

How do I know which sunscreen to use?

  • A good sunscreen will have:

-  an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 (SPF 30 is usually recommended for both kids and adults). Remember, SPF values only refer to UVB protection.

-  protection from both UVA and UVB radiation. Look for “broad spectrum” on the label, or check the ingredients list for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

 

How do I use the sunscreen once I’ve found a good one?

  • Apply sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin generously and often. If at all possible, apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. Re-application at least every 2 hours is recommended, more often if you are swimming or sweating (even if the sunscreen says it is waterproof/resistant).

 


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