Ashley Brunelle, MD, shared the following tips to help you pick the best and most effective sunscreen for your family -- and apply it properly -- to prevent sunburn:
- Use a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label. This means it will screen out both UVA and UVB rays.
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15, preferably 30. The higher the SPF, the more UVB protection the sunscreen has.
- Look for the new UVA “star” rating system on the label. One star is low UVA protection, two stars is medium protection, three stars is high protection, and four stars is the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter sunscreen product.
- For sensitive areas of the body, such as the nose, cheeks, tops of the ears, and shoulders, choose a sunscreen or sun block with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. While these products usually stay visible on the skin even after you rub them in, some now come in fun colors that kids enjoy.
- Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, and hands and even the backs of the knees. Be sure to rub it in well.
- Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going outdoors, as it needs time to absorb into the skin.
- Use sunscreen any time you or your child might sunburn. Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days and in the winter. UV rays can bounce back from water, sand, snow, and concrete, so make sure you’re protected.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Sunscreen wears off after swimming, sweating, or just from soaking into the skin. Keep in mind that no sunscreens are truly waterproof. There are some fun products like bracelets that children can wear which change colors when it’s time to reapply.