How to Choose the Right Sunscreen?


Sun Safety: Sunscreen

No one likes to get a sunburn, it can spoil your day and several days after. If you’re at the beach for a week of vacation it can completely ruin your vacation fun. Sunburn is pretty easy to avoid if you follow some basic rules.

  • Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Keep them in the shade: under an umbrella, a tree, or the stroller canopy.
  • When possible, dress yourself and your kids in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, like lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. This may not work if you’re in and out of the water or at the beach so it’s good to keep a tent or umbrella around so that you can regularly escape the sun. We know it is hard to get children to leave the sun or water regularly so reapply sunscreen often.
  • Wear a hat or cap with a brim that faces forward to shield the face for the sun’s rays and again, wear sunscreen.
  • Limit your sun exposure between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when UV rays are strongest.
  • Set a good example. You can be the best teacher by practicing sun protection yourself. Teach all members of your family how to protect their skin and eyes.

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How to choose a sunscreen

  • Use a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label – that means it will screen out both UVB and UVA rays.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection.
  • Look for the new UVA “star” rating system on the label.
    • One star is low UVA protection.
    • Two stars is medium protection.
    • Three stars is high protection.
    • Four stars is the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter sunscreen product.
  • For sensitive areas of the body, such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears, and the shoulders, choose a sunscreen or sunblock with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. While these products usually stay visible on the skin even after you rub them in, some now come in fun colors that make it a little more enjoyable for children to wear.

Sunscreen for babies

  • 6 months or younger: Use sunscreen on small areas of the body, such as the face and the backs of the hands, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
  • 6+ months. Apply to all areas of the body being careful around the eyes. If your baby rubs sunscreen into her eyes, wipe the eyes and hands clean with a damp cloth. If the sunscreen irritates her skin, try a different brand or try a sunscreen stick or sunscreen or sunblock with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. If a rash develops, talk with your child’s doctor.

Applying sunscreen

  • Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, and hands and even the backs of the knees. Rub it in well. For children with thinner hair put some sunscreen on the scalp if it is not possible to wear a hat.
  • Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going outdoors so there is time for it to absorb into the skin.
  • Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days. Also, UV rays can bounce back from water, sand, snow, and concrete so wear it even when you are not actively playing outside in the sun.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Sunscreen wears off after swimming, sweating, or just from soaking into the skin.

Playing outside is great exercise and fun for the whole family – we wholeheartedly support outside play. Please do so safely!