The time has come again – to stand in front of the sunscreen aisle in search of the best bottle of protection for you and your family. The rows are filled with different brands, SPF numbers and descriptions – how are you supposed to find the best one? We’ve made it simple with our list of dos and don’ts.
- Buy a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Only use products that have UVA and UVB protection, also called Broad Spectrum protection.
- Apply sunscreen on dry skin 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours. Choose a bottle that is “water resistant” (effective for up to 40 minutes in water) or “very water resistant” (effective for up to 80 minutes in water) if you are going swimming.
- Apply sunscreen every day you are outside, but especially if you are near water or sand as your risk of sunburn increases due to the reflection of the sun.
- Generously apply sunscreen to all skin that is not covered by clothing. One ounce, the size of a shot glass, is the amount needed to cover exposed areas of your body.
- If you or your child has sensitive skin, use a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these products maintain their protection without being absorbed by the skin, causing less irritation.
- For an extra layer of protection, wear a rash guard (a shirt made of spandex and nylon or polyester worn in the water to protect against sun and rash).
Don’t use products that combine bug repellant with sunscreen. You need to reapply sunscreen often, but you don’t need to apply bug spray as much – the combo from excess bug repellant could cause toxic exposure.
Don’t choose a product with retinyl palmitate, especially if you are pregnant. This type of vitamin A has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and is associated with birth defects.
Don’t use a sunscreen that has passed its expiration date. If your sunscreen does not have a date, write one on your bottle after purchasing. Sunscreens retain their original strength for three years.
For more information on how to select a sunscreen, visit here.
Have tips to keep you and your little one safe in the sun this summer? Share what has worked for you.
Have questions? text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.