3 Ways to Protect Your Children and Yourself from Sunburn

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Posted by Farl Greene

Image of kids swimming

Now that summer is here, you are probably looking forward to spending more time outdoors.  Spending time at the swimming pool, camping, boating, and bicycling are all fun ways to be out in the great weather.  What you can forget is how easily you or your children can get sunburned.  Not only is sunburn painful, it also causes damage to skin and increases the risk of developing skin cancer.  Before you head outside, take a moment and review some simple things you can do to protect yourself and your children from sunburn.

Limit Your Time in the Sun

The simplest and most obvious thing you can do is to limit your time in the sun.  This is particularly important early on in the season when you don’t have a tan yet.  As you develop a tan, you can slowly increase your time in the sun.  It is also important to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun from the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The risk of sunburn is greater during this time of day because this is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.  If you have to be outside for extended periods of time early in the season or from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, be sure to find a shaded area.

Wear Protective Clothing

When you are out in the sun, protect your skin from sunburn by wearing protective clothing.  Wearing a hat with a wide brim is a good way to protect your scalp, forehead, eyes, ears, nose and neck.  Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays are essential for protecting your eyes. Any clothing should be light colored, tightly woven, and loose fitting.  This will keep you cool but protected from the sun’s rays.

Use Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is the most important thing you can do to shield the exposed areas of your skin.  When selecting a sunscreen, it is important to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.  Broad spectrum sunscreens block both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays.  Be aware that any sunscreen above SPF 30 provides only a small amount of extra protection.

When using sunscreen, closely follow instructions for use.  In general, you should apply sunscreen to all areas of your skin that will be exposed to the sun at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors.  Make sure to apply sunscreen to parts that are easily forgotten, like the ears and lips.  If you don’t want to put sunscreen on your lips, buy a lip balm with SPF 15 or greater.  It is also important that you re-apply sunscreen and lip balm every 2 hours while out in the sun and after swimming.

These are the easiest and most effective ways to protect you and your children from getting sunburned.  Keep these three things in mind when you head outdoors.  Doing so will make the time you spend outside more enjoyable for you and your family.

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