8 of the Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes Every Parent Needs to Know
When you become a parent, it can be hard to keep up with all of the various rules and recommendations out there — especially unsolicited parenting advice. Whether it's a family member telling you what to feed your child or a friend telling you everything that worked for them, it seems like everyone has an opinion. While lots of these recommendations can be taken with a grain of salt — or not at all — there are some pieces of advice that are indispensable.
Sun protection is essential for keeping your kids safe from harmful UVA and UVB rays, especially during those long Summer days spent outside. But there are a few common mistakes many parents make when it comes to sunscreen. Keep reading to find out what those mistakes are and, more importantly, how you can be smarter with sunscreen this Summer!
Only Applying at the Beach
If there's one place almost everyone applies sunscreen, it's at the beach. But throughout the Summer, there are lots of times and places your children will be outside. Whether they're playing in the yard or at the park with their friends, make sure they have sunscreen on before leaving the house.
Not Reading the Ingredients
Do you know what's in your sunscreen? If you don't read the ingredients, you may not be able to protect your kids effectively. Not all sunscreens are created equal, so look for at least one of the following UVA-protecting ingredients before buying one: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.
Not Applying Regularly
Unfortunately, applying sunscreen to your kids at the beginning of the day and not reapplying can be very dangerous. Most sunscreens only offer protection for up to two hours, and buying a sunscreen with a higher SPF won't change this. Keep your kids protected by applying sunscreen every two hours or as directed on the bottle.
Not Using Enough
No matter what type of sunscreen you choose or what SPF you prefer, it's really important that you make sure you're applying enough sunscreen to your child's skin. A thin layer won't do much in terms of protection, so make sure you're squeezing out at least two tablespoons to cover their exposed skin.
Relying Only on Sunscreen
When it comes to protecting your kids from sun damage, sunscreen is great. But it's not the only thing they should be wearing when spending time in the sunshine. UV-protecting shirts and hats add extra protection and should be used especially for long days at the beach.
Relying on Umbrellas
There's a misconception that staying in the shade will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. While it can certainly limit your sun exposure, not all forms of shade like umbrellas are adequate for protecting against the sun's harmful rays. Even if your kids are playing in the shade, having a layer of sunscreen on is essential.
Applying Too Late
We've all been there before: you head to the beach or the park for a day of fun in the sun, but don't think about applying sunscreen until you get there. Unfortunately, sunscreen doesn't start working right away. In fact, you should be applying sunscreen to your kids' skin up to 30 minutes before sun exposure for the best results.
Missing Key Spots
Being thorough about applying sunscreen to your children is essential for keeping them protected. The area right below the hairline on their face as well as the backs of their arms and legs often get overlooked, but could result in a nasty burn if they're not protected.