I scream, you scream, we all scream for…sunscreen? If you and your family are out and about on a hot summer day, then we hope you have sunscreen handy!
Everyone needs sunscreen, especially younger children. Sunscreen plays two important roles for our health by protecting our skin from too much exposure to the sun’s rays. In the short term, sunscreen helps us avoid sunburns. Sunburns are not only painful, but they also damage our skin and cause early skin aging. Longer term, sunscreen can help reduce our risk of skin cancer. So while it may seem annoying to apply and reapply sunscreen, the benefits are worth it!
Sunscreen should be used anytime you go outside, regardless of season or weather conditions. We may be more likely to remember to apply sunscreen in the summer when the sun’s out and it’s hot, but it’s equally important on cloudy fall and winter days too. Even on the cloudiest days, the sun’s rays can still get into your skin. Additionally, snow, sand, and water reflect the sun’s rays and make them stronger, which means we need sunscreen even more.
When applying sunscreen, make sure to cover all parts of your body that may be exposed to the sun. Some common places people forget are their neck, ears, lips (use lip balm with SPF), hands, and feet. You should use about an ounce of sunscreen, but it depends on how tall or short you are. We put together some tips for selecting and applying sunscreen below.
- Buy “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen – this means it protects against the rays that cause sunburns and skin cancer
- Select sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and is water resistant
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you go outside
- Reapply every 1-2 hours, or after swimming or sweating
The American Academy of Dermatologists also has a handy guide for selecting sunscreen. Check it out here.
Applying sunscreen is only the first step to sun protection. There are many other things you can do to protect you and your family from the sun’s rays when you’re outdoors—check them out below:
General Sun Safety and Skin Health
- Stay in the shade as much as possible
- Avoid going outdoors between 10am to 2pm when the sun is the strongest
- Wear protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and hats
- Stay hydrated, especially if you’re in direct sunlight and/or sweating
- Do NOT go to tanning salons
Photo courtesy of Modern Mom