Have you gone to buy sunscreen lately? Considering we live in South Florida, it’s a must, but the amount of options out there is overwhelming. The other day, I was running late to meet some friends and their kids at the beach. While packing my bag, I realized all of my sunblock had expired. I thought a stop at the nearest drug store would be a quick solution. Not so. I turned the corner in aisle 7 and suddenly felt overwhelmed.
With so many warnings about the dangers of sun exposure, I really wanted to buy the sunblock with the best protection. I knew to look for the words broad spectrum but couldn’t remember if it was best to get the 30, 50, 70 or 100. Spray or lotion? Sunblock or sunscreen? What’s the difference? I was ready to scream. So, I decided to do a little research to make sure I got it right this summer. Here’s what I found out:
What to look for:
Make sure the sun protector factor (SPF) is:
At least 30 or greater
Apply sunblock or sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure
Reapply every 2 hours, after sweating, towel drying and swimming
Use enough sunblock or sunscreen (cup your hand, fill the cupped hand with sunscreen and apply that to all exposed areas)
If using spray products, reapply them more often since they wash off more easily than lotions./li>
Use sunblock or sunscreen even if you stay under an umbrella or in the shade. Neither keeps out UV rays completely
The difference between Sunblock and Sunscreen
Sunblocks use titanium oxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredient, which tends to be thicker and more opaque
Sunscreens use a variety of chemicals that absorb harmful UV rays (some people are sensitive or allergic to certain ingredients in sunscreen)
Both are excellent forms of sun protection so the choice is yours.
Make it fun for your kids!
Getting our kids to apply sunblock or sunscreen is not easy but also non-negotiable. Dr. Ana Margarita Duarte, a dermatologist, has some great tips on ways to get them to participate.
If your child is overexposed to the sun
Get your child out of the sun immediately, seek shade
Moisturize the skin and if the child is in pain, apply over the counter hydrocortisone or aloe vera, give the child ibuprofen to bring down the swelling
Make sure to hydrate the child orally with plenty of water
Another way to get great protection from the sun is wearing sun-protective clothing. It can make a big difference, considering your average t-shirt offers an SPF of about 5 while sun-protective clothing has an ultraviolet protection of 50. There are some great options for kids. Visit shopkidstuff.com.
Now that we know what to look for to stay safe in the sun, lets head out there and have a great summer!