Please tell us we are not alone. We constantly have a million questions running through our mind at all times. Welcome to motherhood (no matter how old your kids may be!). We know we can’t pick up the phone and call the doctor every time we have a simple question, but moms
want to need to know these things!
We are super excited to launch our summer installment of “Healthy Quick Tips” sponsored by Mercy Kids.
Our sponsors at Mercy will answer those questions that are bugging all of us, but we hate to pick up the phone and call a doctor. Topic at hand today: Sunscreen 101!
A big thank you to Dr. Laura E. Waters, Mercy Clinic Pediatric Physician for taking the time to help us out!
We know wearing sunscreen is important all year around, but especially in the summer months. The rows and rows of sunscreen options at the drugstore are daunting! What should I look for when selecting a sunscreen?
When selecting a sunscreen you should look for two important things: SPF and the words “broad spectrum.” Broad spectrum implies that it covers for both UVA and UVB rays. In SPF I usually recommend at least SPF 30, while some pediatricians will tell you that you’re protected between SPF 15-50. Unfortunately there’s not enough research yet to say that anything above 50 protects your child anymore than say a SPF 30. The key is in the application and reapplication…
How often should we reapply?
Ideally you want to apply sunscreen BEFORE you get to the lake, the beach, go outside, etc. You want the sunscreen to have enough time to soak in a little to provide better protection- so try to apply 15-30 minutes prior to outdoor activities. I always tell my families that you need to reapply every 30 minutes if your child is wet (playing in the sprinkler, the pool or even just sweating a lot with sports) or every 2 hours if dry. It won’t matter if you’ve got broad spectrum SPF 100 if you’re not reapplying it!
Does sunscreen expire?
Sunscreen, like medicine, has active ingredients that can break down over time so we put expirations on them to be on the safe side. We all know from experience that some things are still okay after the recommended expiration, and I, personally, have used sunscreen well after the expiration date. My rule of thumb? If it’s all you’ve got, use it, but ideally you should stick within the recommended expiration date because it’s not guaranteed to be effective after that date. But, I’m hoping that you’re using sunscreen regularly enough on your child that you go through at least one bottle every summer!
Dr. Waters is part of the Mercy Clinic Pediatrics–HealthTracks team located at 4331 S. Fremont Ave. in Springfield. To schedule an appointment, call the clinic at 417.820.5000 or click here to visit their website.
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