Can You Take A 4 Month Old To The Beach Sunscreen 101 – What You Should Know About SPF, UVA, UVB, and the FDA

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Sunscreen 101 – What You Should Know About SPF, UVA, UVB, and the FDA

You slather on SPF 50 sunscreen last summer and think you’re good to go—for a walk, a day at the beach, or relaxing by the pool—but you’d be so wrong.

First, this “50” just means that, without sunscreen, you would burn 50 times faster, not that you are 50 times safer. Besides, if it is a year old, it is outdated. And take a dip in the sea or pool, or simply sweat to remove sunscreen, so you see: you are not safe at all.

And keep in mind that SPF just refers to how well the product screens out UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, not UVA (ultraviolet A) rays that go even deeper with skin age, so you don’t get any help there. Both types of radiation increase your chances of skin cancer.

According to new FDA guidelines, manufacturers must now add a 4-star UVA rating system on sunscreens: low, medium, high, or higher, plus a corresponding star. But don’t expect to see these new labels anytime soon; actually, we may have to wait as long as 18 months!

For now, the Skin Cancer Foundation says to look for at least one of the following UVA-protecting ingredients on the label: avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or ecamsule.

Meanwhile, since more than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in this country, be careful:

1. Buy new sunscreen every year, and remember that the EWG (Environmental Working Group) determined that 84% of the 785 sunscreens on the market with an SPF rating of 15 or higher offer insufficient protection.

2. Look for those labeled “broad-spectrum.”

3. Choose only the top brands, as it has been shown that 80% of nearly 1,000 brand-name products “contain chemicals that may pose health risks or do not adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays.”

4. Use sunscreen liberally and apply frequently—about every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

5. Avoid the sun as much as possible, especially during noon.

6. Don’t rely on the cloud to protect you.

7. Seek shade whenever possible.

8. Cover up. Along with sunscreen, wear a hat, wear protective clothing, such as those offered by Coolibar, and don’t forget sunglasses.

9. Remember that washing wears UV protection in specially treated clothes, so replace occasionally.

10. Check your skin for any changes, lesions, or blemishes, and see a dermatologist every year for a professional, full-body checkup.

11, What is good for adults is also good for children; If a product is irritating or causes a rash, try another.

12. Babies 6 months and younger no longer have any protective melanin in their skin, so when there is no avoiding the sun: cover them, use the stroller cover/hood, and do not apply sunscreen at all, unless doctor you ask that

13. Look for new FDA-mandated labels in the coming months

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