Friday, July 22, 2011

Need help with sunscreen facts?

Good Friday Morning. Dan Wells writing I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!

Need help with sunscreen facts?

If you are like me, trying to determine what type of sun protection is best for your family is like trying to figure out bio-engineering! Do I need sunblock or sunscreen? Is there even a difference between the two?

Should I spend the extra money on the "Kids" formula?

What about the SPF?? Is SPF 15 enough protection? Is SPF 80 overkill??

Before we get into all the sunscreen facts, let's start by understanding what SPF even means!
SPF or Sun Protection Factor tells you how much additional protection you are getting from the sun.

For example, if you redden normally after 15 minutes in the sun, then an SPF 15 gives you 15 times more protection than your natural skin or 3 hours and 45 minutes in this case. (But, you should re-apply more often than that!)

Also, SPF tells you approximately what percentage of UVB rays are being blocked. SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks about 97% and SPF 50 blocks about 99%.

1. Most lotions you buy are a combination of sunblock and sunscreen. So, if you have sensitive skin, you should try to buy SUNBLOCK only. It is less irritating to the skin.

2. Always buy sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) between 15 and 60. Anything lower is not enough protection and anything higher doesn't add that much more.

3. Look for a brand with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Look for one of these ingredients: avobenzone, zinc oxide, titanium oxide or the newest member of the UVA protection family, mexoryl.

4. Your sunscreen should be water resistant (not just "waterproof") and should be re-applied after toweling off or being in the water for more than an hour.

5. The lotion should be hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free, and PABA free

6. Often times the kids version of sunscreen is more expensive. Feel free to buy the cheaper adult version if it meets the above criteria!

7. Certain types of clothing such as dark colors and tighter weaves do provide good coverage from the sun. There are also special fabrics you can buy that have sun protection as well.

8. The sun's rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm which is generally the time most children are outside or at the pool. Protect your kids from sun damage by re-applying often.

9. Use more than you think you should! You should be applying a shot glass full (or about 1 oz)every two hours (or more often if you are swimming)

Bottom line on sunscreen facts: No matter what type of sunscreen or sunblock you choose to use, BE SURE YOUR FAMILY IS WEARING IT EVERYTIME THEY ARE OUTDOORS!

Have a great weekend!

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