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What Parents Should Know

Dear Parents:

With the sun’s rays constant all year round, it is important to make sure you know the best way to protect you and your family. This means that many of us will be stocking up on sun protection products. However, we often find that our sunscreen is not as an effective blocker after it’s too late and our skin has already been damaged.

To help educate you and your family about sun protection, here are some common phrases to look for on your sunscreen bottle:
UVB: (Ultraviolet B Radiation) rays penetrate the upper layers of the skin, causing sunburn. UVB is most intense in the summer months between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. To protect yourself from these rays, make sure you use a product with an SPF of at least 15 (and we recommend SPF 30 for children under age 6.

  • UVA: (Ultraviolet A Radiation) is a type of radiation from the sun that may cause premature skin aging. It can penetrate the skin and cause damage at deeper levels, even if the skin’s surface feels cool. In fact, the level of UVA is almost the same in the winter as it is in the summer. To protect yourself, use a sunscreen that contains a UVA blocker like avobenzone.
  • SPF: Always wear products with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15 (and we recommend SPF 30 for children under age 6). If you’re going to be out in the sun longer than an hour, you may want to use an SPF of 30. Also, be aware that SPF indicates the level of protection against UVB (burning rays) and not UVA rays that cause premature skin aging. For the best protection against the sun, look for products that offer broad spectrum protection that contain UVB and UVA filters.
  • Broad Spectrum Protection: Sunscreens containing both UVB and UVA filters offer the most coverage against both types of rays. Sunscreens which also contain antioxidant vitamins E and C provide additional protection.

Understanding how to protect you and your family from the sun is the only way to prevent skin damage and premature skin aging. Knowing what to look for in a sunscreen is important. For more information check out various elements of our website to learn the best ways to stay protected in the summer and year ‘round

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