Spring Fever…

Its almost Spring Time!! This translates to one thing: S U N S H I N E. After being cooped up indoors and having to bundle up from head to toe all winter, spring fever is definitely in the air.

Before you run outside to play though, make sure you are protecting your body’s “protector”- your skin!

About Sunscreen:

Sunscreen is any substance that helps guard the skin from the adverse effects of sunlight and its damaging UV rays. Aside contributing to premature aging, sunburn can permanently damage the skin and cause skin cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancers.

For best results apply at least 30 minutes before going outdoors.

What to look for:

Ingredients are crucial to your choice on a good Sunscreen. For UVB protection, choosing an SPF of 15 or higher will do the trick, but when it comes to UVA, the ingredients are what you need to pay attention to because there is no actual rating for how well a sunscreen works against UVA rays.

Ingredients to look for, for UVA protection: Titanium Dioxide; Zinc Oxide.

My personal opinion- The less ingredients the more accurate a sunscreen it is. I opt for children’s brands because they are typically formulated with less irritants, chemicals, and carcinogens. Badger, California Baby, and Burnout are all great choices.

What the SPF value means to you:

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, increases the length of time you can stay outside in the sun without incurring sunburn or irritation from UV-B rays- The burning rays. The number ‘value’ on the bottle gives you an estimate on how long you can stay in the sun before having to re-apply. As MY rule of thumb, less is more. Meaning that if you pick up a bottle of SPF 70 it doesn’t make it is superior to the SPF 30 or 45. Once you start going above SPF 30 it is more likely to contain chemical additives- which increases the risk for skin irritation. Better to go with a 15-30 and re-apply more often.

Calculate it:

* First, rate your skin type. How long can you normally stay out in the sun (without protection) before you start to develop a sun burn? For me its about 10 minutes– so I will use this value as a guide.

{10 minutes- Fair Skin; 15 minutes- Olive Skin; 20 minutes- Dark Skin}

* Look at the SPF value on your product. Let’s use SPF 30.

* Take your ‘safety time’ for your skin type (10) and the SPF value (30) and multiply them. In this case, it equals 300.

* Finally, take that number and divide it by 60 (minutes in 1 hour). That will give you 5.

* 5 is the number of hours you can safely stay in the sun with an SPF of 30.

HOWEVER!!!!! Keep in mind that if you are in contact with water or sweating, for example, re-application is a MUST. Forget whether or not the bottle says ‘waterproof’- be safe, not sorry.

Don’t forget to protect your lips- a very common area we forget is exposed and damaged by UV radiation. And ALWAYS remember to take care of your children’s beautiful NEW SKIN!! Help them build good sun protection habits for life.

* Blistering (peeling) sunburns not only damage skin cells, but also double your risk of developing malignant melanoma- the most serious form of skin cancer.

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