Have you thought about sunscreen lately?
This week’s blog is dedicated to sun safety. April starts the application of sunscreen in our Center for recess. Each year we are asked why April? After all April can still be cold and cloudy (not to mention snowy in CT). Yet, many don’t realize that the UV Index has already been in the moderate range.
It’s also important to understand that according to a survey the American Academy of Pediatrics 95.1% of pediatricians agree that cumulative sun exposure during childhood can increases the risk of skin cancer in adulthood.
I personally love being outside in the sunshine, but I also want to keep my family safe. So, after doing research-using resources like the America Academy of Pediatrics, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Skin Cancer Foundation, and EWG (Environmental Working Group) I want to share with you the following. I hope you find it useful and have some safe fun in the sun!
UVA and UVB. What’s the Difference?
In the simplest terms UVA =Aging and is here all year around. UVB = burning and the intensity changes with the seasons. Both can attribute to skin cancer. See graphic for a little more info.
What is the UV Index? (graphic below)
The UV Index scale used in the United States conforms to the international guidelines for UVI reporting established by the World Health Organization. Here is a brief overview of the scale
If you have a smartphone you can download the EPA UV Index app to check your local UV.
The Index ranges from 1 -11 a Rating of 3 – 7 requiring protection and are more common then you think. A UV Index of 8-11 requires Extra protection are usually seen during the summer months between 10 a.m. – 3 pm
Are all Sunscreens created equal? What should you know?
You should use broad spectrum sunscreens that protect both against UVA and UVB rays. There are two categories of Sunscreens: Chemical and Physical.
Physical or “earth” sunscreens
- Active Ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide
- Remain on skin versus penetrating skin
- Less likely to irritate sensitive skin
- Example of a few brands: Blue Lizard Baby or Sensitive Skin or CeraVe can be found at Target and Walgreens. There are many others.
- Are absorbed into the skin and can cause irritation
- Chemicals can be absorbed into the blood stream
- You want to consider avoiding sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzephenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzoe or sulisobenzone
If you would like to find out more about ingredients in sunscreens you can look at www.ewg.org (environmental working group)
- It’s recommend to avoid the sprays for young children not only do they usually contain the chemical based sunscreens but dosage amount is difficult to achieve and the aerosol ends up in all those little lungs.
- Don’t forget sunscreen expires. You should check for the expiration date on the end of the tubes.
- Hats, sunglasses and SPF clothing are also great for protecting against the sun.