Fun in the Sun

Texas summer is well upon us and so are the BBQ’s, the days at the lake and the 3 million trips to the pool with the kids. Then there is the inevitable sunburn that will surely ensue after 2 pm. As a mom, I often worry about my daughters and their sun exposure over these treacherous summer months. My girls spend majority of their time enjoying a nice bike ride, playing outside or swimming at the neighborhood pool so I’ve done my obligatory due diligence when selecting the SPF 30+ Broad Spectrum Sport Sunscreen. I always check for Oxybenzone after CNN covered a piece about the findings of The Environmental Working Group’s possible link to cancer. According to the FDA, Oxybenzone is completely safe for use in children over the ages of 6 months, but I would rather be safe than sorry. I always make sure that they have their sunscreen on before we make our way outside and that we reapply after completely drying off every two hours while at the pool. This is, after all, the only set of skin they get, and I want to give them the best possible chance to avoid the skin cancer that lurks in my fair skinned gene pool. It really got me thinking about the amount of time I actually spend outdoors. I’m not talking about the afternoons at the pool; I’m slathered in a healthy dose of UV protectant at that time. I mean day-to-day life. All the walks to the car in the morning and the sweltering hike to the grocery store or the quick run to the bank. How well am I really protected? So last night I went home, opened up my make-up bag and fished out my concealer, foundation and regular facial moisturizer. I was quite pleased with my Revlon foundation that boasted a healthy “SFP 15” on the front of the bottle. My concealer didn’t have any sunscreen related ingredient information on the bottle; I guess I threw that out when I opened the package. My moisturizer however contained no SPF at all. Does that mean I have to wear sunscreen every day? I was puzzled so I went to the American Academy of Dermatology’s website and found some really great tips. Follow these tips to protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure and reduce your risk of skin cancer:
  • Apply sunscreen. When you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days, apply sunscreen to all skin that will not be covered by clothing. Reapply approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that protects the skin against both UVA and UVB rays and that has an SPF of at least 30.
  • Use one ounce of sunscreen, an amount that is about equal to the size of your palm. Thoroughly rub the product into the skin. Don’t forget the top of your feet, your neck, ears, and the top of your head.
  • Seek shade. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Protect your skin with clothing. When going outside wear a long‐sleeved shirt, pants, a wide‐brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Use extra caution near water, sand or snow as they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
  • Get vitamin D safely. Eat a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, or take vitamin D supplements. Do not seek the sun.
  • If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it. Don’t use tanning beds. Just like the sun, UV light from tanning beds can cause wrinkling and age spots and can lead to skin cancer.
  • Check your skin for signs of skin cancer. Your birthday is a great time to check your birthday suit. Checking your skin and knowing your moles are key to detecting skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
Summertime is a great time to relax, enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family. Just make sure you’re protecting yourself and your kiddos with SPF while doing it!