Summer is here! I'm pretty sure we skipped right past Spring. The Summer heat is here to stay and after the winter we had in Fargo/Moorhead, most of us will never complain again!
The days are FINALLY getting longer, warmer, and filled with potential for outdoor fun. We know you can’t wait to enjoy all of those beautiful things that nature has to offer. But all that time outside also means you need to take extra care of your skin.
While we know staying in the shade as much as possible is ideal, we also know it isn’t always doable. When you’re out spending time in the sun, you need to protect yourself with sunscreen. But it’s not enough just to slather on any old lotion—you need to make sure you are choosing the right type of sunscreen for your family. Some sunscreens may not provide the level of protection we need, while others may contain harmful ingredients that can irritate our skin or even cause other health problems. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of sunscreens and how to choose the right one. We’ll also provide some tips on how to stay safe while enjoying outdoor activities this summer.
First things first: let’s talk about the different types of sunscreen.
There are two types of sunscreens – chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that absorb UV rays, while physical sunscreens contain minerals that reflect UV rays.
Chemical sunscreens are more popular because they are more comfortable to apply and don’t leave a white cast on our skin. However, some chemical sunscreens may contain ingredients that can irritate our skin or even cause other health problems. Some of the common chemicals found in sunscreens include oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate. These chemicals can penetrate our skin, disrupt our hormones, and cause allergic reactions.
On the other hand, physical sunscreens are generally safer because they use minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reflect UV rays without absorbing them. These sunscreens are also gentle on our skin and are less likely to cause any allergic reactions.
When it comes to choosing the right type of sunscreen, there are some key differences between physical and chemical sunscreens:
Choosing the right sunscreen can be confusing because there are so many options available. Here are some things to consider when choosing a sunscreen:
SPF: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how well a sunscreen can protect your skin from UVB rays, which are the rays that cause sunburns. When choosing a sunscreen, look for one with an SPF of at least 30 (and preferably 50).
Broad spectrum: A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the rays that cause skin aging, and UVB rays are the rays that cause sunburns. Make sure your sunscreen is labeled as broad-spectrum.
Type of sunscreen: As discussed, choose a physical sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen if possible. It’s also important to note that chemical sunscreens should not be used on babies under 6 months of age.
Water-resistant: If you’re going to be swimming or sweating, look for a water-resistant sunscreen that can withstand water or sweat for at least 40 to 80 minutes depending on your activity level.
Your skin type: If you have sensitive skin, choose a sunscreen that is gentle and fragrance-free. If you have oily skin, choose a lightweight and oil-free sunscreen. This is important enough to mention twice: Chemical sunscreens should not be used on babies under 6 months of age.
While using sunscreen is important, it is not the only thing you can do to protect your skin from the sun. In addition to these points, here are some extra tips to keep in mind when spending time outdoors this summer:
– Stay away from products that contain retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) as this has been linked to increased risk of skin cancer.
– You’ll want to steer clear of aerosol sprays as these can lead to inhalation.
– Never use sunscreens with added bug repellent as they can be toxic if ingested.
– Avoid using any sunscreen that has expired as it may no longer offer the same level of protection.
Finally, to maximize your sun safety and protect you and your family this summer while out at the lake, remember these tips:
- Apply a generous amount of broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen (SPF 30+) every two hours, or after swimming or sweating
- Wear sunglasses with full UV protection
- Seek shade (when possible) between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants and hats with wide brims to cover your head and face
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps altogether.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the summer sunshine while keeping your family safe from the harmful effects of UV radiation. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can keep your skin healthy this season! Make sure to talk to your primary care physician if you have any questions about sunscreen or other sun safety practices.
Happy Summer! :)