Friday, May 20, 2011

Sunscreen Tips

Keep the sunscreen on your skin!

With the end of the school year approaching and the summer sun heating swimming pools in homes, communities, and summer camps, the importance of sunscreen needs to be re-addressed. 

As a former summer camp lifeguard, I have seen numerous children come to the pool with pasty skin, not from their actual skin color, but rather the very recent application of sunscreen to their chest, backs, and arms by either themselves or camp counselors.   The pool water would turn from crystal clear to that of a slight haze because of all that sunscreen.

Broad spectrum (UVA & UVB) sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 should be applied 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure and re-applied every 2 hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.  The sunscreen should be applied liberally over all areas that will be sun exposed, making sure not to forget about the backs of arms, legs, and ears.  Sunscreen should be applied regardless if the weather is sunny or cloudy as the ultraviolet (UV) rays still penetrate to the ground even in cloud cover.

Before summer camp begins, parents should ask about their camp’s sunscreen policy making sure that counselors are available to help children apply sunscreen properly with enough time to allow the sunscreen to work prior to outdoor activities.  Another tip is to apply sunscreen to your child before they leave for camp in the morning and then re-apply after the early morning outdoor activities.

For specific questions regarding sunscreen use, please consult with your physician.

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