I love summer and sunshine is the actual best. We joke that I am cold blooded because unless the sun is shining directly on me, I’m usually cold. While a little bit of vitamin D goes a long way, it’s easy to over do it in the Texas heat…especially without sunscreen.
Here are some tips for safely enjoying that summer sun with a guide to sunscreens!
Play outside in morning or evening sun and avoid too much exposure between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest. Our neighborhood pool is least crowded at these times too!
RELATED READING :: Best Sunscreen for Little Kids
Choose a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label. You’ll want it to screen out both UVB and UVA rays, and broad spectrum does just that.
Go with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that will block 97% of rays. Keep in mind an SPF 60 is not necessarily twice as good as SPF 30. Those sunscreens with higher SPF aren’t as well balanced (meaning they might block more UVB rays but fewer UVA rays) and they have a ton more active ingredients which could actually be harmful. You can be confident that a sunscreen with SPF 30 – 50, when applied liberally and often, will protect you and your kiddos skin!
Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before exposure and reapply sunscreen every two hours at least. I like to sunscreen my kids at home BEFORE we drive to the pool, because once we’re there it’s sure tough to sit on the side for 15 minutes while the sunscreen soaks in. Two hours is the max between applications…remember to reapply after swimming or sweating!
What about PA+? This rating is a recent addition to sunscreen labels and measures how effective a formula is against UVA rays specifically. PA+ means the sunscreen provides some protection against UVA rays, PA++ indicates moderate protection while PA+++ provides high protection against UVA rays. Again, choose a broad spectrum sunscreen and your family will be well protected. My favorite PA+ sunscreen!
Debating between mineral and chemical? It’s really personal preference and comfort level with ingredients. Mineral sunscreens bounce UV rays away, while chemical sunscreens absorb and neutralize the UV rays. With the right SPF rating and UVB/UVA rating, mineral and chemical sunscreens are equally effective. Mineral sunscreens are recommended for sensitive skin and nursing or pregnant mamas should definitely choose a mineral sunscreen to be safe.
Protect your lips! Use a lip balm with sunscreen ingredients and remember to reapply at least every two hours, and after eating or drinking. It’s worth noting that shiny lip gloss and balms that DON’T contain SPF actually attract the sun and can leave your lips dehydrated or burnt. My favorite lip shield!
Wear sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection to protect eyes from “snow blindness” and long-term damage. My kids also have goggles with a UV protection coating!
Put on a hat! A wide brimmed hat will protect your scalp, ears, eyes, and hair from harmful UV rays. Yes, hair is susceptible to sun damage too! It can become discolored, dry and brittle in the sun, so wear a hat.
Happy last month of Austin summer and enjoy your sunshine safely!
Do you typically use mineral or chemical sunscreen?
Would you rather be hot or cold?