Finding the Best Sunscreen for Your Family

Summer vacation is in full force. Gone are the sacred hours when the house was quiet while your kids were at school. Instead, they’re home now, filling the house with life. Now it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and create those childhood summer memories they’ll cherish forever. But this is also the time to teach the youngsters about the importance of sunscreen. It’s the time to create a foundation which will follow them into adulthood. Sunburns aren’t just painful, they’re dangerous.

In which case, how do you find the safest and most effective sunscreen for the whole family?

Know Your SPF Needs

The strength of your SPF should correlate with the strength of UVB rays that you’re exposed to. Another factor to consider is how long you plan to stay beneath the sun.

Thankfully, there are now resources we can use to measure the sun’s intensity. By inputting your skin type, location, and the weather forecast, these applications will then calculate the strength of UVB rays and provide guidance as to what kind of sunscreen is appropriate.

Chemicals: Organic or Inorganic

How many times have you grabbed someone’s sunscreen and lathered it on yourself without question? Plenty, right? Yet, when it comes to what’s inside the cream you’re putting on your skin, the truth may very well shock you; many sunscreen products contain a variety of chemicals that are highly toxic. An example of this would be Oxybenzone, a common ingredient in popular brands, used even though the EWR granted it an 8/10 on their toxicity level.

These chemicals infiltrate our bloodstream via our skin, resulting in long-term hormone damage, skin discoloring, and brown spots. For children, the results are far more severe, which is why it’s vital to find a non-toxic sunscreen for your family to use.

Summer Fun Toddle Staying Water Ready

For most families, vacation means watersports or beachside activities. If your children love spending hours in the water, then sunscreen should be just as important as floaties. Before they’ve left the car, or even the house, it’s imperative that they apply sunscreen.

The reality is that all sunscreen will wear off after contact with water. Notice that “water-resistant” products will have a qualitative number. This constitutes the number of minutes that the sunscreen will survive prior to water exposure. For example, if your sunscreen is “Water Resistant 40,” then your kinds have 40 minutes in the water before needing to reapply sunscreen.

Purchase a waterproof timer and encourage your kids to monitor their fun in the pool. When it buzzes, it’s time to reapply sunscreen. Better yet, be sure to purchase a non-toxic water bottle so they can stay hydrated in the sun, too. Incorporate this as well as reapplying sunscreen.

Application Styles

There’s a surplus of sunscreen on the market, but finding a reliable product for your children doesn’t need to be complicated. At first glance, spray bottles might seem like a godsend. They’re easy to apply, efficient, and priced the same.

In reality, this isn’t the type you want to use. The FDA strongly warns against the use of spray bottles, especially for families with children, on the following grounds:

  • Harmful – The spray application releases the lotion in the form of tiny fume particles that are easy for your child to inhale. These particles are extremely toxic.
  • Uneven covering – Spray applicators don’t spray enough lotion, resulting in uneven coverage. While traditional lotion might be messier, it’s the safest way to ensure the surface area is covered.
  • Poor environment quality – Ultimately, spray bottles require far more plastic and are far worse for the environment than their counterparts.

While the convenience of spray sunscreen is appealing, you’ll find that traditional sunscreen applicants are tried, tested, and reliable.

Ready or Not

Once you’ve found a sunscreen that suits your family, use it consistently. Keep a bottle in your purse, car, home, and wherever you can so that it’s always there with you. Integrate sunscreen into your children’s routine. Make it as integral to them as brushing their teeth or washing their face. They may protest but they’ll thank you later. At the end of the day, by finding the perfect sunscreen and ensuring they use it daily, you’re protecting them.

Liz Coyle

Liz is a Scottsdale-based writer and mom of two young children and one not so young Boston Terrier. She is a lover of cooking, travel, and any activities she can do with the kids. She loves to share her experiences of being a high-strung, type a mom in an imperfect world.

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