Summer is here! Sunscreen is important whenever you are outside, especially if you are pregnant. During pregnancy your skin is more sensitive to sunlight than it was before pregnancy. The sun gives off ultraviolet radiation (UV) which can increase the risk of skin cancer, give you a bad burn and increase signs of aging.
There are two types of rays that can cause skin damage. These are ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation (UVA and UVB). Both of these can cause premature aging and skin cancer however UVB rays are what cause sunburn. It is important to choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. But, choosing the right sunscreen to slather on can be confusing.
Here are tips on choosing the right sunscreen for you:
• Avoid retinyl palmitate This type of vitamin A has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and is associated with a risk of birth defects.
• Choose sunscreen with a sun protected factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
• Only use products that have UVA and UVB protection – also called Broad Spectrum protection
• Use a water resistant sunscreen if you intend to go swimming
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are swimming or sweating (even if you use water resistant sunscreen).
• Limit your time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun rays are most intense.
To fend off those pesky mosquitoes, there are also combination sunscreen products that include bug spray. These can be great two-for-one products, but combination sunscreens may be more hazardous that you thought. A combination product has the possibility of toxic exposure, due to overdosing on the bug repellant. It’s safe to apply the combination lotion first, but when it’s time to reapply, skip the combination and just use sunscreen.
Read our post for specific tips on how to keep your baby safe in the sun.
Have fun outside this summer, but wear your hat, sunglasses, stay well hydrated and remember your sunscreen!