|Photo by Jes Anthonis from Mosey Handmade on Etsy|
Flashback Mother's Day 2011: My 10 year-old daughter got a sunburn. I felt like the worst mother ever. How could I let this happen? Well, it was the first sunny day of the year, and my daughter went to a friend's house to play. I had given her instructions that if they were going to play outside she needed to ask her friend's mom for some sunscreen. Of course, she didn't!
Lesson learned: Don't expect other people to be aware of your child's needs! Maybe the other mother thought it was okay because her kids have a darker complexion and don't get sunburned easily. You and your child alone are responsible and will suffer the consequences...
So we applied lots of aloe - freshly squeezed from the leaves of our houseplant and were glad there was no blistering, and the redness went away after 3 days. We skipped Field Day at school the next day. Everybody knows that one shouldn't go out and catch more sun when burned already, right?
So in order to do some penance here and to help out other parents I investigated the subject some more. I found a great site called: Healthy Child that you should visit. You will find many articles about sunscreens and protecting your kids from the sun. But here is the sum of the knowledge I gathered for those of you with little time:
SUN SAFETY TIPS:
Stay out of the sun as much as possible, particularly between the hours of 10AM to 4 PM when the sun is strongest. If you must go outside, find shade as much as possible!
Check the UV index when planning outdoor activities.
Keep infants and very young children, in particular, out of sun completely!
2. Cover up.
The less skin gets exposed to damaging UV rays the less likely skin will get sunburned and damaged. Protect skin and eyes!
Clothing: wear brimmed hats and shirts made of fabrics that are dark colored and have a dense weave! Were sunglasses to protect eyes.
There are some companies that sell protective shirts and swimwear. I have not tried them myself, but what I read on their sites made a lot of sense to me. There is a reason why I see many farm workers in Colorado wear hoodies in the midday heat while working out in the fields. I am pretty sure they are not doing it as a fashion statement...
3. The Skinny on Sunscreens.
Help! It's so confusing. What do I buy?
Fact is that 85% of sunscreens sold in the US do not protect you at all. Why?
- people don't put on enough sunscreen to begin with. People put only 1/4 - 2/3 of what they should . Of course, that stuff is expensive and who can afford to keep buying it?
- manufacturers give us a false sense of protection with claims of 30, 50, 70, 90, or even 100 SPF factors. People using the higher numbered ones tend to reapply less often and stay in the sun much longer.
4. What's in a Sunscreen? Horrible chemicals that you definitely don't want to eat, breathe in, or leave on your skin for too long...
•The Environmental Working Group’s comprehensive scientific review indicates that 85% of 993 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.
->A new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly all Americans are contaminated with oxybenzone, a sunscreen chemical that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage, and low birth weight.
Use the sunscreens with SPF 30 rather than the higher ones because they have less chemicals. It's better to apply a lower numbered sunscreen more often than to use the high numbered ones only once.
Don't use the kind that you can spray on!!!It has small particles and people inhale those scary nanoparticles when spraying the stuff on. They still don't know what the long term health effects are. Fact is: chemicals build up in our systems.
Wash the sunscreen off after done playing in the sun!
5. What brands/ sunscreens? I found the following list on the website I mentioned above:
Top Ten Sunscreens recommended by the Environmental Working Group
1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30
10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
I hope you find this article useful and tell a friend about it. I spent 13 hours at baseball this past weekend. Unfortunately we cannot live our lives indoors... We can only try and protect the people we love. It's hard to stand by and watch all these kids running around without protection or infants being sprayed with sunscreen. How do you tell people without offending them?