Now that that sunny weather is here, I go into panic to get sunscreen for the kids and myself. I would like to tell you that I have a favorite that I cant live without, but honestly I usually buy whats on sale and what is convenient.
However, now with all the buzz about safety in cosmetics in general, I have become much more concerned about what I am putting on my skin and especially my children’s. Our skin in our largest organ, and it is responsible for alot of functions: protecting us from bacteria, regulating temperature, ridding our body of toxins, protecting us from the sun to name a few.
The majority of sun damage we get is usually done before the age of 18, however it is NEVER too late to start protecting your skin. Anything you can do now to reduce your exposure over the long term is good for your health. When I think how in my teen’s we used baby oil and would sit in the sun for hours makes me cringe. Hey, we thought we looked pretty good, sadly we didn’t have the information that we now have about how damaging the sun can be.
If you are concerned about not getting enough vitamin D, get your levels checked and take a supplement if needed.
So I am going to run down a list here of things you want to consider before you jump into the sun.
1. Plan ahead. Keep sunscreens and hats and sunglasses in multiple places, so you have it when you need it.
2. Always wear sunglasses. They protect your eyes from the UV rays which can cause cataracts when you are old. I wish I knew this when I was younger, as I never wore sunglasses until my 30″s as I thought I looked awful in them.
3. Take Cover. Hang out in the shade, or use a beach umbrella. Make sure you wear a hat.
4. Avoid the sun’s harshest rays. Stay out of the sun from 10-2pm.
5. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply often. That means every couple of hours. If you are swimming and in water, it may be more frequent.
5. Choose a sunscreen from an SPF 15-50. You dont need anything higher. Just remember to put it on.
6. Use a separate bug repellant. Don’t get a sunscreen with a bug spray in it. Use two different products.
7. Ingredients matter. Avoid the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body. Look for active ingredients zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. These substances protect skin from harmful UVA radiation and remain on the skin, with little if any penetrating into the body. Also, skip sunscreens with insect repellent – if you need bug spray, buy it separately and apply it first.
8. Test. If you are using a new sunscreen on a child and you are concerned about allergies, always to a test on the inside wrist first. If there is no reaction in 24 hours you are good.
9. Apply generously. You don’t miss some really important areas: toes, neck, ears, top of head, top of nose, lips and chest. These areas can get really burned and application should be done one area at a time, as not to miss any spots.
10. Apply Daily. Use sunscreen even on cloudy days.
11. Apply to your kids before school. So many schools do not have shade in their playgrounds, and many schools do not have a sun policy.
The report from EWG is excellent and you should take some time to look at it and find a sunscreen that you like and one that has a good safety ranking. Besides reducing the number of wrinkles you will have when you are 80, you will also hopefully avoid the more serious consequences of the sun. Even though your makeup may have sunscreen in it you still need something in addition too it. I use the Neutrogena Daily Defense, but for the beach something even heavier. I will be testing a few from the list and will report back in.
If you have a product that you like, please share.