SPF, UVA, UVB, Full Spectrum…
New labeling laws make it easier to pick the right sunblock this summer.
Sunscreens labeled as both “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) not only protect against sunburn, but, if used as directed with other sun protection measures, can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
Toss old sunblock, get SPF 30+, apply twice
- Throw out all sunblock from last summer. Even if it is still within the expiration date, it’s probably not any where near as effective as it was. Exposure to sun and heat expedite the expiration.
- Sunblock comes in a variety of forms – lotions, sprays, wipes or gels. Be sure to choose one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and both UVA and UVB or broad spectrum protection.
- For most effective protection, apply sunblock generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. And, don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips and the tops of feet which often go unprotected.
- Apply it in two coats. Apply sunblock twice, not once. Studies show that children only get the full protection of sunblock when it is applied twice. It is really easy to miss a spot or two with just one coat.
- Take sunblock with you to reapply during the day, especially after your child swims or exercises. This applies to “waterproof” and “water resistant” products as well. Keep in mind, sunblock is not meant to allow your children to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics now advises that sunblock use on babies less than 6 months old is not harmful on small areas of a baby’s skin, such as the face and back of the hands. But your baby’s best defense against sunburn is avoiding the sun or staying in the shade.