Let’s Talk Sun Protection With Dr. Annalee Fencl of Northeast Iowa Pediatric Dentistry in Decorah, I
The official first day of Summer is almost here, and we want Decorah families’ healthy smiles to be surrounded by healthy skin. Today, we’re going to talk about protecting your skin from the sun. Most of the information shared in this post is from the American Academy of Dermatology. They have a great resource page for kids about skin health in general. We recommend checking it out with your family! aad.org/public/kids
Just like we brush, floss, and visit the dentist to have healthy smiles, there are also three important parts to sun protection: playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.
Playing in the shade is a great way to make sure your skin is protected. Try to keep backyard play equipment under trees, canopies, or in the shade of your house. When you visit the pool or beach, choose a spot to relax under an umbrella. The sun’s most intense rays are between 11am and 2pm. If your shadow is shorter than you are, you know it’s a good time to find shade.
Wearing appropriate clothing for fun in the sun is also an important component of protecting your skin, especially when you’re boating, tubing, or at the pool. SPF rated swim shirts are a great addition to your family’s swim wardrobe. They provide more coverage than a swimsuit alone, and unlike sunscreen (which still needs to be used) doesn’t wash off or need to be reapplied. Don’t forget to top your outfits off with hats and sunglasses to make sure faces, scalps, and eyes are protected.
Lastly, and most importantly, sunscreen! Sunscreen should be worn any time you or your family are in the sun, no matter the season. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen, regardless of how likely you are to sunburn, or the color of your skin. Summer is an especially important time to wear sunscreen because of longer daylight hours and because many summer activities are around water and sand which make sunlight more intense.
SPF numbers can be confusing, but an important piece of information to keep in mind is that SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. All sunscreens approved by the FDA must be able to keep their SPF rating for three years from the manufacture date. However, you should be applying it often enough that you would not have it for that long. Make sure you purchase waterproof sunscreen, and reapply according to instructions on the sunscreen.
And most of all, have fun!