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Sunscreen 101

By Abbe Herman

presented by 

With summer around the corner we want to make sure that the BCB Community is up to speed on all things sunscreen and sun protection.  Team BCB recently sat down with Coppertone’s Dermatologist Partner, *Dr. Nava Greenfield (@drnavagreenfield) for a quick Sunscreen 101!

What does SPF mean?  What should parents look for in terms of an SPF when shopping for themselves and their kids?

SPF is an acronym that stands for Sun Protection Factor.  It’s a standard that the FDA uses to measure the protection a product offers against UV rays.  I recommend SPF 30 or higher and one that says broad spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB.  For kids, I recommend mineral protection which blocks both UVA, UVB as well as other types of light.

What is the most important thing to look for in a sunscreen?

I think the most important thing is a sunscreen that you will feel comfortable applying to your skin, which means different things to different people.  Some people will only apply something with a tint, others will only use natural ingredients.  If you are choosing within the category of SPF 30+ and broad spectrum, the next thing you look for is something you will want to apply.

Should mom and dad have a different sunscreen than baby/kids?

Yes. Generally, sunscreens formulated for babies and kids are thicker and made for the sensitive skins of babies and children.  Adult formulations are a little smoother and easier to apply, but may be a little less protective.

What are best practices for sunscreen application?

Apply a generous amount into your hand and rub evenly across the area that needs protection.  I use this method for lotion as well as spray to make sure I am applying the product everywhere and evenly.

If someone gets burned, what is the best way to treat it?

This depends on what type of burn.  The sun is capable of producing severe burns on the skin.  If it is a type 1 burn- redness and pain- you can apply aloe, moisturizer, cooling packs, several times per day for around 10 days or until it peels off.  If the sunburn is more severe you may need some over the counter pain medication and topical steroid to treat.  It is also advisable to seek medical care to make sure the burn is not any deeper or needs more medical attention.

How often should sunscreen be re-applied, especially when swimming?

Apply in the morning and reapply at least every 2 hours when in sunlight and more often if swimming or sweating.  Every sunscreen will have different direction on the label, if it says to reapply every 80 minutes- follow those directions to make sure you are getting the protection advertised on the label.

Do sunscreens have an expiration date?

Yes.  You will need to read the label to find out the specific shelf life for your product.

What is best:  spray or rub on sunscreen and why?

The efficacy of sunscreen depends on the amount you use and how evenly you apply it.  Whether it is in lotion or spray form matters less than the amount you apply to your skin, if you rub it in evenly and how often you reapply.

However, I have recently been loving the Pure & Simple Spray format for both myself and my kids because it is so convenient and easy to apply (especially with kiddos running around!).  I would definitely recommend for my patients who are looking for an easy yet effective sunscreen.

What else should parents be doing to protect themselves and their families from the sun?

Parents should be monitoring their kids throughout the day to make sure the kids are not exposed to the sun for too long.  Trying to avoid the outdoors during the hottest part of the day- generally between 10-2 pm, and wearing protective clothes are all important during the peak summer months.  As a parent of 4, I know that getting kids to wear hats and sunglasses is challenging, so I recommend keeping large umbrellas in their play area to help their skin cool off periodically and avoid constant sun exposure.

 

*Dr. Nava Greenfield, M. is a dermatologist practicing at Schweiger Dermatology Group. She is a dedicated and detail-oriented dermatologist serving the community of Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Greenfield obtained her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Dr. Greenfield treats a range of conditions, and she is eager to help the wider community receive the care they deserve.

 

Stay tuned for more sun safety and be sure to tune in on Tuesday, May 18 for a special edition of Meet the Brands with Coppertone – live on Facebook!

 

THE CONVERSATION NEVER STOPS AT BUMP CLUB AND BEYOND! Stay tuned for more from the Bump Club and Beyond Team to help you prepare for and navigate your way through parenthood.  Make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook  for more ideas as we navigate parenthood together. Looking for more from BCB?  Join the BCB Community (it’s FREE!) for access to exclusive discounts, webinar replays, free samples and so much more!  Information can be found here.

 

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