Sunscreen is a much consumed product in our household. The better half and I are both of the lovely pale and freckled variety and the monkey is about the same.
And although I write a column on sunscreen every summer, I know it doesn’t hurt to go over the points of picking a good sunscreen, how and when to wear it and who to use it on.
I’ve gained much of my knowledge on sunscreen through trial and error.
Like most parents I’m sure, I’m immediately attracted to the bottles of sunscreen that say "kids" and that have an SPF of 50 or higher. My eyes get really big when there’s a bottle that says kids and its 90 SPF.
But looks can be deceiving.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measurement of how long a sunscreen will work. For example, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will allow a person wearing it to stay out in the sun 150 times longer that a person not wearing sunscreen.
To put that in perspective, a person in the noontime sun would burn in about 10 minutes, whereas someone wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 could be in the noontime sun for 150 minutes before getting sunburn.
So in theory, a sunscreen with a higher SPF would protect you for longer.
However, sunscreen needs to be reapplied whenever you sweat, get wet or change your clothes. It also should be applied 15 minutes before you head outside.
Once you figure out all of that, it comes down to personal preference. There’s spray, gels and creams. And they are not all created equal.
The members of my family have a different pot of needs when it comes to sunscreen.
My daughter is an active child who likes to play outside. I always try to apply sunscreen to her in the spring and summer and fall, even if we are only outside for a few minutes.
For this, I prefer to have spray sunscreen in the house. I like the fact that it is quick for both my daughter and the better half, whom before would sometimes skip the cream stuff to save time.
I have, however, gone back to a light cream sunscreen for our faces.
The brands I have found to be the best are Neutrogena and Ombrelle. I like those ones because I have a sensitivity to a lot of the cheaper sunscreens and I find the Neutrogena spray is the nicest and goes on light without any stickiness.
The Neutrogena spray comes in a variety of SPFs and types and I try to get the waterproof version or the sweat proof. The Ombrelle is great for our faces and I use the sensitive formula, so it’s good for both the monkey and us.
You don’t need a kid’s sunscreen — just a good sensitive skin sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
So don’t forget your sunscreen, a wide-brim hat for both you and your child, and stick to the shade. Hopefully you’ll come out of this summer burn-free!
Kyla Henderson is a local freelance journalist, business owner and mommy. Her column runs every week in the Community News.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 5, 2012