As the summer winds down, many families are preparing for their last summer vacation. Whether you plan on spending time lying on the beach or exploring the outdoors, Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Patrick Bitter, Jr. offers some essential tips to help parents keep children’s skin safe and protected from the sun.
Summer Skin Care 101
- Know your sunscreens: Every parent knows that the best way to protect your child from sun exposure is to lather on the sunscreen. With hundreds of brands out there all advertising that they are the best, how can you be sure the lotion you are applying is really protecting against harmful UVA rays? According to experts, the best sunscreens should always contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These two chemicals don’t irritate or get absorbed into children’s sensitive skin but still act as a powerful shield. Sunscreens should also always be broad spectrum, which means that they block both UVA and UVB rays protecting not only against sunburn, but wrinkles and aging of the skin.
- BEENS: When it comes to favorite foods, parents know that beans are not on the tops of many kids’ lists. However, in the case of sun protection, BEENS is the best way to keep your child safe. An acronym for the most sensitive parts of the body, BEENS stands for back of the knees, ears, eye area, neck and scalp. If these body parts are properly covered, sunburn is 50% less likely to happen!
- Cover Up: Even with sunscreen, the best option to fully protect against damaging skin is to wear dark, tightly woven clothes. Forget throwing on a white t-shirt. The light color absorbs more of the rays than it reflects. Instead, purchase sun protective clothing such as a kid’s full swimsuit or rash guard shirt which offers an ultra violet protection factor.
- Don’t want to buy new clothes: The Skin Cancer Foundation recently did a study that found that simply using Tinosorb FD in your next load of laundry will instantly leave your clothes with 30 UPF. A laundry additive that contains sunscreen, Tinosorb FD creates protection that lasts for as long as 20 washings!
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that every year one in four kids under the age of 14 will suffer from dehydration and heat stroke. The best way to keep your child completely hydrated during the summer months is to have him or her drink at least four glasses of water each hour. Liquids with electrolytes, such as Gatorade, are also very beneficial in balancing the still developing nervous system in children. Early symptoms of heat stroke include dry mouth, fatigue and irritability. These signs should be immediately addressed by the parent.
Parents – Don’t Forget About Your Skin!
It can become easy to forget about your own health needs after fretting all day over your child’s well-being. In addition to following these tips, parents must also remember to protect their skin as well. No time to go to the spa? Dr. Bitter highly recommendsClearly Beautiful’s line of collagen masks for the face, neck, and hands. "Each mask contains essential nutrients that reveal a fresh and radiant glow while hydrating the skin and reducing the signs aging,” says Dr. Bitter.