The Texas sun can be pretty unforgiving. More than a half hour in its rays can lead to lobster-colored skin and crying kids, which is why it's so important to prep for days spent outside. Not only do you want your children to avoid the discomfort of a burn, but you also want to protect their skin from melanoma and other dangers.
Because children have sensitive skin, they usually require a different level of protection than most adults do. Their skin can burn quickly and more severely than their parents, so it's vital that they are prepared for every outing to the lake or swimming pool.
Children over the age of six months should use a minimum of SPF 30 when applying sunblock, but relying on a lotion or spray isn't necessarily enough to protect them from bad burns. Contact with water or sweat can wipe away their protection and leave them exposed, so you'll need to reapply frequently. Also, not all sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for one that is "broad-spectrum" to ensure it covers everything, and if you can, go with a water-resistant option. Those should keep kids protected for at least an hour or so.
You might have heard that there is no difference between different levels of SPF, but that's not true. Experts on skin cancer say that the higher your SPF is, the better. A bottle of SPF 15 sunscreen is designed to protect you for 15 times longer than your bare skin would. Similarly, a bottle of SPF 30 will protect you twice as long. Therefore, if your children are genetically predisposed to skin diseases, outside a lot, or super sensitive to the sun, it pays to err on the extra-high side when it comes to SPF.
How you apply sunscreen is also important. Dermatologists recommend using about an ounce (roughly the size of a shot glass) of lotion to cover the entire body. Be sure to apply the protection evenly so that there are no vulnerable spots left behind. After the skin has been properly protected, have the children avoid stepping into the sunlight or getting in water for ten minutes so that the sunscreen has time to dry.
Sunscreen isn't the only thing to remember on these bright days. In reality, it's only the first step in avoiding sunburns and damaging UV rays. Wearing hats and clothing that cover lots of skin is an excellent way to block burns completely, as is sitting in the shade and taking occasional breaks from direct sunlight.
Remember, doctors say that children under the age of six months should be kept away from sunlight and placed in shade while wearing clothing with lots of coverage. Infant skin is too sensitive to wear most kinds of sunscreen, so it's better to keep them sheltered than it is to smear SPF creams on them.
Also, according to dermatologists, your skin color has nothing to do with how protected you are from sun damage. Even dark-skinned children can get painful sunburns, so everyone should stock up on their SPF.
If you have more questions about how to protect your kids from the blistering Texas sun or about sunscreen, visit this website.