Sunscreen and sun protection are a must, especially in summer in Central Texas. But you may be confused by all the jargon on the bottles in the sunscreen aisle. Statesman.com helps decode the buzz words.
of all, sunscreen is not only necessary in the summer. You can get a
sunburn any time of year and should wear sunscreen any time you go
outdoors. Even if there's cloud cover, eighty percent of UV rays still
penetrate the clouds and you can still get a sunburn. Although,
sunlight is necessary for the body to make Vitamin D, you can get the
necessary amount from less than 10 minutes of indirect exposure a day.
Also, Vitamin D is in a lot of fortified foods or you can take
vitamins. So you should still protect yourself and your loved ones from
The sun can cause skin cancer, and just one sunburn
that's bad enough to cause blisters as a child or teen more than doubles
a person's chances of getting melanoma when they get older. Even
people with darker skin or skin that tans need to wear sunscreen. As
Dr. Hill, a pediatric dermatologist, explains it, a tan is the skin
crying for help, but once the skin is burned it can't cry anymore
because the skin cells have died.
If your child gets a bad
sunburn, you can put soothing lotion like Aquaphor or petroleum jelly on
the burn. But if your child has blisters, a sign of a second degree
burn, you need to treat it more carefully. Never pop the blister and
give your child a cool bath or apply cool compresses to soothe the
pain. You can also give your child Advil and if the blister pops or the
skin beneath it appears wet, take your child to the doctor to make sure
there isn't an infection.
SPF stands for sun protection factor
and indicates how long sunscreen adds to your skin's natural protection
and what percentage of UV rays it blocks. The experts interviewed for
this story recommend a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. You also
want to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen which means it protects
against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, if you'll be in the water or
sweating, make sure to choose a water resistant formulation.
you need to know when, how often and how much sunscreen to apply. Put
on sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every
hour to two hours. If you are swimming, reapply every time you dry
off. An average size adult wearing a swim suit should use 1 ounce or a
full shot glass of sunscreen each time.
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