Summer's just around the corner! Before you hit the beach with your kiddie clan, it's important that you know the ins and outs of sunscreen — from the oft-confusing terminology (even the FDA is having a tough time coming to an agreement on the language) to what brands to buy. Here, a guide to decoding the lingo and what bottles, tubes, and sprays are worthy of your beach bag.
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF): This refers to the product's ability to block out the sun's rays. It should be prominently displayed on the sunscreen's packaging.
- Chemical Sunscreen: Contains special ingredients that act as filters and protects against UVA and UVB rays. Chemical sunscreen takes 15-30 minutes to absorb into the skin.
- Physical Sunscreen: Also referred to as sunblock or "chemical-free" sunscreen, these products form a barrier with ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to block out rays. Many dermatologists recommend this option for children, as it's less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions and starts working immediately.
- Broad Spectrum: Protects against both UVA and UVB rays (any sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will do this).
- For Babies 6 Months and Under: Discuss sunscreen use with your physician. Some pediatricians are completely opposed to the use of sunscreen on newborns, while others advocate a chemical-free product if they're going to be exposed to extensive sun.
Source: Flickr User sunsurfr