June is finally here, and you know that that means. Summer is right around the corner! Before you and your family step out into the sun, read these 5 sun safety tips to stay protected all day long.
1. The Skinny on Sunscreen
Sunscreen is sort of a hot topic these days. There have been recent reports that Banana Boat sunscreen has caused a negative reaction in some children who experienced intense burning and blistering. While this is truly terrifying, it should not dissuade you from applying sunscreen on your children’s particularly sensitive skin, because overall, sunscreen fights off the sun’s powerful rays. But how much SPF does one really need before it’s considered overkill? Does sunscreen even work?
In case you were wondering, there are actually 2 types of sunscreen:
- Physical sunblock, which literally blocks the UVA and UVB rays from reaching the surface of your skin.
- UV absorption, that breaks down UV rays and releases heat.
Which one is better for you? While no sunscreen can prevent 100% of UV rays from reaching your skin, we recommend using sunblock that contains zinc oxide, which creates a physical barrier.
2. Sunglasses Aren’t Just for Fashion
Yes, they are a fashion accessory and can complement many outfits, but more importantly, they can protect your eyes from serious sun damage. What’s the point of applying all this sunblock to your skin and leaving your eyes exposed to harmful sun rays? Finding sunglasses with UV safe rays is easy. Simply look for the sticker on the lenses, or ask one of the store staff to help you find the right pair. They are sold almost everywhere, and unless you’re shopping at a dollar store, most sunglasses offer some form of sun protection.
3. Hydration is Key
Hydration is one of the most important ways to prevent sun stroke. As we heat up in the sweltering sun, our bodies release sweat to cool us down. Too much sweat, however, can make us lose a lot of water. Dehydration isn’t just a matter of being thirsty. When our bodies are dehydrated for too long, our kidneys and other organs start facing major problems. Cool off and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water – sometimes it’s better to drink even more than you think you need. You can also benefit from water-rich foods, such as celery, watermelon, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables.
4. Cover Up
If you think that putting on more clothes on a hot day is out of the question, consider what people living in hot countries tend to wear – long breathable pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Clothing can significantly protect us from the suns harmful rays. While it’s true that the sun does penetrate some loosely woven material, it will really help to prevent sunburn when paired with sunscreen. If your kids prefer to wear as little clothes as possible no matter how hard you try—i.e. if they spend all summer in their bathing suits—at least insist on a hat. Wearing hats with brims will protect their scalp, eyes, face, neck, and ears (all those hard to reach places) from burning up.
5. Did We Already Mention Sunscreen?
Okay, so we’ve been saying sunscreen a lot. But we really cannot stress how important it is. If you’re worried about not getting a tan, rest assured that the no sunscreen can completely prevent your skin from turning a nice golden brown. Why are we mentioning sunscreen again? Because applying it just once in the morning is not enough. You should reapply every time you swim or sweat. And if none of those things happen, you should still apply after a few hours, even if it’s supposed to be waterproof. Our advice: take your sunscreen with you whenever you’re going to be outside for the day, and put some on every few hours or whenever your skin gets wet. While many people argue that sunblock isn’t any more effective at SPF 80 than at SPF 50, we suggest a broad spectrum sun protection factor of 30 to 50.
We may sound paranoid, but there really is no such thing as “too much” sun protection. June’s Sun Safety Awareness Week demonstrates the importance of understanding how to protect ourselves this summer from harmful UV radiation. The best defense against harmful sun burn and long-term side effects is education. Teach your kids about sun safety and they will feel empowered to take care of their own health.