Sunscreen 101: Everything You Need To Know

Woman using sun cream on the beachChoosing a sunscreen can be confusing. There’s so much to know. Spray, lotion, waterproof, sweat proof, the list goes on and on. Today we are going to go over everything you need to know when it comes to sunscreen.

Let’s start with the basics. What is SPF and what does it stand for? SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures the amount of protection from UVB rays. There are several types of rays, two of which are UVA and UVB. UVB are the types of rays that cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer. However, that is not to say that UVA rays are not dangerous.

When should you apply sunscreen? Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to any outdoor activity. It should also be reapplied after swimming or physical activity that causes you to sweat. How much sunscreen do I need? About half of a shot glass, per application, is sufficient.

There are several things you should keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen.

First, you need broad spectrum protection. The label should say that it blocks UVA and UVB rays.

Second, choose a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. Keep in mind that SPF 15 filters out about 93 percent of the sun’s rays, SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent. The protection factor does have its limits, however. Most studies show that it is unnecessary to go above SPF 50 as it does not block any more of the sun’s rays.

Third, sunscreen isn’t waterproof or sweat proof. The FDA ruled that these statements couldn’t be backed up.

Fourth, skip the sprays. With sprays, it’s easy to miss an area of your skin, and you may end up with stripes. It’s best to use a lotion because it’s easier to ensure you don’t miss a spot.

What about natural alternatives? We’ve all read the reports that sunscreen is loaded with harmful chemicals. If you’re looking for an alternative you’re in luck. Many different seeds and oils contain SPF.

  • Almond oil – SPF 5
  • Coconut oil – SPF 10
  • Wheat germ oil – SPF 20
  • Carrot seed oil – SPF 40

Now that you’re a sunscreen expert, lather some on and go hit the beach!

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How To Stay Healthy During The First Days Of Summer

Summer holiday fashion selfie concept - woman on a wooden pier aJune is National Safety Month, and summer is fast approaching! The days are getting longer, the trees are in full bloom and the sun is getting stronger. But with the change in season come different health risks. Things such as sunscreen use, exercise, hydration and allergies are all issues one must deal with during the summer months. Today, we will discuss how to stay healthy in the first days of summer.

First, let’s talk about sunscreen. We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. But did you know that having up to five sunburns before the age of 18 dramatically increases your risk for skin cancer later in life? Therefore, it is extremely important to practice safe sun. Not only does sunscreen protect us from the sun, but it also protects our skin from premature aging. One thing to keep in mind is that the ingredients in SPF breakdown over time, so always toss your sunscreen at the end of the summer and buy it new at the beginning of each season. Don’t forget to protect your head, lips and your eyes. These areas are often neglected. And be sure to reapply every couple of hours and after swimming. Choosing the right sunscreen can be difficult and there are surprisingly a lot of things you need to know. Watch for our upcoming blog post on Monday for an in-depth discussion about sunscreen.

Now that you and the kids are lathered up, let’s head outdoors! Summer time brings so many fun outdoor activities. Bike riding, swimming, rollerblading, you name it! But with these activities come risks for injury. It is important that your children always wear a helmet while riding their bike or doing tricks on their scooter. Set a good example and wear your helmet on your next family bike ride. You want to protect your head, too, and this way they don’t feel singled out. Also, get your kids swimming lessons. The sad reality of summer is a lot of children drown because they are left alone near water. Make swim lessons a priority, especially if you have a pool in your yard or vacation on a lake or at a beach. And never leave your child unsupervised by any body of water; it only takes a second for an accident to happen. If you’re going out on a boat make sure your children wear their life jacket the entire time. You can never be too safe.

Being outdoors in the heat can make you work up a sweat. Dehydration is a real concern during scorching summer days. Drink lots of water and eat foods that have high water contents such as cucumbers. Also, be sure to re-balance your electrolytes. Try adding a dash of salt to a slice of watermelon, or slip a bottle of coconut water into your beach bag. Also, stay out of the direct sun during the hottest parts of the day. If you have to be outside in the middle of the afternoon, plan on being around the water. Go to the local pool or set up a sprinkler in the yard, the kids will have a ball. Remember, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!

All of this outdoor activity can wreak havoc on your allergies. Common summertime allergies are pollen, mold and bee stings. First and foremost, you should keep an EpiPen on you at all times, especially if you or a member of your family has severe allergies. Also, keep antihistamines on hand; they will help to calm an allergic reaction. If your symptoms persist, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Summertime brings fun but it also can bring forward dangerous situations. Keep these points in mind to keep yourself and your family safe all summer long.

For more healthcare tips for you and your family, check out my workbook for dealing with caring for your children as well as your aging parents: Life in Sandwich Generation. Life in the Sandwich Generation is a workbook filled with information, tips and tricks for managing the demands needing to care for your aging parents, as well as taking care of your children. It details how you can involve your children in the process, how to learn more about your parents health and finances, while still making time for yourself and your spouse. You can find it here for only $10!