The weather is getting hotter! Make sure that you are protecting your skin and your children’s skin this summer by following these Frequently Asked Questions about sunscreen usage.
One frequently asked question many people ask is, “Who needs sunscreen?” The answer is everyone!! The sun radiates harmful ultraviolet rays that can cause burns, heat stroke and potentially skin cancer. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender, or race.
When deciding what type of sunscreen to use, you should look for ones that contain:
- Broad-spectrum Protection against UVA and UVB rays
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher
- Water Resistance
How much should I use, and how often should I apply it?
You should use enough sunscreen to generously cover your skin that will not be covered by clothing. Apply your sunscreen about 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours, or after swimming/sweating, according to the directions on the bottle.
Are sunscreens unsafe?
Wearing sunscreen is an important behavior to reduce your chance of skin cancer. Evidence supports the benefits of sunscreen to minimize damage to the skin. Preventing skin cancer and sunburn are greater than any unproven claims of sunscreens being unsafe.
How can I protect my baby from the sun?
Parents with children younger than 6 months should avoid exposing them to the sun. The best way to protect your child is keeping them in the shade and dressing them in long sleeve pants and shirts with a hat. Sunscreen should be avoided for children younger than 6 months. If they are getting fussy or have red skin, it is best to bring them inside.
Can I use a bottle I bought last summer, or do I need a new one?
You should remember that sunscreens are required to retain their original strength for at least three years. However, most should have an expiration date so make sure you are using up to date sunscreen in order to fully protect your skin.
How do I treat a sunburn?
It is important to treat your sunburn as soon as possible and take a cool bath to reduce the heat. Use moisturizer to help dryness and hydrocortisone cream to help ease discomfort. Drink lots of extra water to prevent dehydration.
Other helpful tips to protect your skin from the sun are:
- Seek Shade, try to position yourself under large trees when outdoors between 10am and 2pm
- Wear protective clothing, such as wide brimmed hats and sunglasses
- Get Vitamin D safely, don’t always seek the sun
- Check your body regularly, if you notice anything changing, itching, or bleeding on your skin, it is best to see a dermatologist or doctor
American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org)