Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest Post: Sun Safety for Moms and Kids

     Today's post on protecting you and your little ones in the sun comes from a guest blogger, named Jen, who writes a wonderful blog called, Little Furry Musings. Check out this great information and remember to keep it in mind during this hot summer season as well as the rest of the year!

         Alright you wonderful moms out there! It is time to break out of hibernation and get you and your little one out in the sun! I personally suggest the tide pools (if you have one close) there are millions of little creatures your kids will find! However, the sun is out and shining and we must protect mom and baby’s skin from any sun damage. Of course we all love the sun and its perfect sunshine rays but first we need to know what summer means for your skin and baby’s.
Soaking up some extra sunshine means getting a beautiful glow but also means exposure to UVA and UVB radiation. This is especially important for your little one because their skin is sensitive and brand new and has a higher risk of developing melanoma later in life. When the ultraviolet or UV index is high, you skin can burn in as little as 10-15 minutes; a sunburn on you results in pain and frustration but a sunburn on baby can cause pain, fever, and dehydration. The overwhelming evidence on sun damage shows that ultraviolet exposure increases the risk of skin cancer while people who wear sunscreen regularly have fewer cases of skin cancer and fewer skin signs of aging. So, what do we do? We follow this list:

⦁    Look for products with SPF of 15-50 and that are labeled “Broad Spectrum Protection,” meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause the deepest damage to the skin while UVB rays are more responsible for sunburns and wrinkling.

But mom why?? Higher SPF values are misleading as they are based on “test” conditions that you will never achieve on your own. In the U.S. the pass/fail test for sunscreen is a lot looser than it is in Europe. This sunscreen to the right, from SkinCeuticals,
is the type of sunscreen you are looking for. With SPF of 50, broad-spectrum and also includes zinc-oxide. It is PABA-free, oil free, fragrance free and contains fewer chemicals which reduces the chance of irritation and makes it safe for infants to teenagers.

⦁    Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply ever two hours. If you and baby go into the water, make sure to reapply as soon as you towel them off-even if it hasn’t been two hours yet.

But mom why?? Sunscreen loses its effectiveness quickly and although your sunscreen may be “water-proof” there is no harm in slathering on a little more.

⦁    Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays with sun glasses and baby sunglasses. Ensure that these sunglasses absorb 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays with 400 UV protection. 400 UV protection means that the lenses block damaging UV rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers.

But mom why?? Prolonged Exposure to the sun without protection can cause cataracts, macular degeneration along with many other eye problems; including sunburn on the surface of your eye and skin cancer around the eyes

⦁    Remember to keep babies younger than 6 months out of the sun. If outside, keep them completely covered and in the shade. Although it sounds logical, do not put sunscreen on an infant.

But mom why??  New baby skin is thinner and especially sensitive. UV rays can do very serious damage on a baby’s skin. Although we all preach sunscreen, a new baby’s skin is too sensitive for this type of product. Keep baby in the shade, completely covered from sun, under an umbrella always, or indoors.

⦁ Make good use of the sunshade on your baby’s stroller whenever you are outside, consider purchasing a pop-up stroller shade that has built-in UV protection and fits right over your stroller’s sunshade to shelter your baby’s whole body.
But mom why??  Again, their skin is very delicate and more prone to sun damage. This attachable canopy to the left is UV protected and covers your baby’s entire body at less than $20! Easily found on Amazon or at your local baby store.

⦁    Dress your baby in protective clothing. Cover you baby’s body, arms and legs in lightweight and light-colored clothing. Also, make sure you baby is wearing a hat at all times. Find one that is wide enough to shade the face, with a brim to protect the ears and a flap in the back to protect your baby’s neck.

But mom why?? Your baby’s skin is too vulnerable in the sun so lightweight and light-colored clothing will reflect heat and keep skin cooler than dark colors, which are known to absorb heat. Fabrics with a tighter weave protect skin better than loosely woven fabrics. If you hold the fabric up to the light, the less light you see the tighter the weave.

⦁    For older children, although this will prove to be very challenging, try your best to keep them inside when the sun is at its strongest, from 10AM-3PM.

But mom why??  Bad sunburns in childhood and adolescence doubles the risk of melanoma as an adult, according the Skin Cancer Foundation.

⦁    Avoid the “fancy” products with Vitamin A, retinol, and its other forms such as retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate.

But mom why??  Currently, the F.D.A. says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest the ingredients are harmful but there are concerns that the additives can increase sun sensitivity for up to a week.

⦁    Be wary of endorsements, awards, and seals of approval.

But mom why??  The Skin Cancer Foundation gives a “seal of recommendation” to sunscreens only if their manufacturer has donated $10,000 to become a member.

 Last but not least, SLATHER, SLATHER, SLATHER on that sunscreen!
But mom why??  Because it’s good for you ;)

Other Tips:
⦁    Make sure your baby is hydrated always
⦁    Made sure your car is cooled off before you and your baby go for a ride
⦁    Make sure your baby is protected when in the care of others
⦁    Make it easy by toting you sun care essentials in your baby’s diaper bag and stow away an extra set of lightweight, light-colored clothes in your car, just in case!
⦁    There certainly are ways to reverse sun damage such as exfoliate, bleaching brown spots, LEDs and  reconstructive procedures. If you have extreme sun damage visit a dermatologist or cosmetic practice and they will tell you your best options.

Biography: Hello, My name is Jen and I am a twenty-something blogger who loves to write about all things women, health, DIY, crafts, my cats and food! I have my own personal blog (Little Furry Musings) and I also write for a medical and cosmetic practice (Monarch Plastic Surgery) where I get most of my health knowledge from the greatest surgeons. I have two little kittens (they aren’t actually kittens I just call them that because they are adorable) named Brio and Zelda. I spend my days riding my bike, experiencing new things, hanging out with my boyfriend and cats while blogging all about it.

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