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With school over and summer vacation in full swing, those of us with young children are likely concerned about protecting our charges from sunburn. You probably already know that you need to select a broad spectrum UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 just as you would if you were choosing a sunscreen for yourself. But are there any special considerations when choosing a sunscreen for your kids?  

Sunscreens manufactured for kids aren’t that much different to ones formulated for adults in terms of efficacy. However, many manufacturers will create products that are more water resistant and contain fewer sensitizing ingredients. Here are some guidelines in selecting the best one:

Opt for a minimum of SPF 30 and go higher if you can. A recent report revealed that the majority of us apply far less sunscreen than is actually needed giving us protection that is about 20 to 50% of the label. For example if your sunscreen has an SPF of 60 and you don't apply adequately, you're only getting an SPF of between 12 and 30! Likewise and SPF 15 product may only deliver protection of between SPF 3 and 7.5 if not applied correctly.  

Choose a product with effective UVA and UVB blocking agents
Look for fragrance free products if possible. They tend to be less irritating, especially important for little people.

Choose water resistant formulations – we all know how much kids love to play in water and sand.

Choose a formulation that is easy to apply – for some it will be a spray, for others a gel. Whatever works best for you.  

Be sun smart first
The first step in being smart in the sun is to practice sun avoidance. That doesn't mean never venture outdoors – what fun would that be? But it does mean the following:

Avoid being in the sun between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays (UVB in particular) are more intense

Seek shade where possible

Cover up with a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing when you can't.

UVB rays are necessary to produce Vitamin D, but experts maintain that 10 to 15 minutes a day exposing your arms or legs is plenty. In the winter, consider supplementing as the rays in many parts of North America just aren't strong enough. Check with your physician if you aren’t sure.  

Here are some effective UVA/UVB blocking formulations you may wish to consider:
[Link Removed] - water resistant. With Mexoryl SX as found in the Anthelios line of sun protection products.  

The only part I can't advise about? How to keep them still while applying!  

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


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