It’s the time of year when most people shed their winter layers and frolic outside to the lake, the pool, hiking, bike riding, or their kids soccer or baseball games. Here are some important things to know about being safe in the sun when you’re having fun!
- Sunscreen is a must! Kids get the majority of their sun exposure/damage before the age of 18! Choosing a sunscreen is not an easy task, and with growing awareness of the dangers of some products we use on our bodies, it gets even more complicated. Oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate have gotten bad press lately, and it’s not clear if they are completely safe. There has not been any substantial evidence to prove they are not, but since there are available sunscreens that do not contain these ingredients, it may be better to choose those alternatives when possible.
- Make sure you apply sunscreen that is Broad spectrum, and at least SPF 15. You don’t need to waste your money on SPF 100, anything over SPF 50 has marginally better protection. Apply 30 minutes before activity outside, and reapply every 2 hours, or if you or your child are swimming or sweating.
- When you can, avoid being in the direct sun between 10 am-4 pm as this is when the sun rays are strongest and most damaging. If you are out in the sun, try to keep yourself and your kiddos in the shade as much as possible- but be aware- the sun radiating off of a body of water increases the amount of damage it can do (same with snow in the winter)
- Wear long sleeves and hats to help protect yourself and your children whenever possible, and don’t be deceived by overcast days, there are still a lot of damaging sun rays peeking through those clouds!
- Don’t forget those peepers! Look for sunglasses for yourself and your kids that offer UV protection
- Stay hydrated! Once your or your child are feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Encourage them to drink fluids throughout the day (electrolytes are important too), and watch for a decrease in the amount they are going to the bathroom.