Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Six-billion-year-old star: Part Three.

Did you miss the first two posts.

Post number one was about me.

Post number two was about Ultraviolet radiation.

This post, post number three, is about sunscreen.

Ever wonder what SPF really means?

Let's talk about it.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin.

There are many SPFs to choose from.

What is best for you?

I'll let you decide once I tell you what I learned about SPF.

Let's say it takes you 30 minutes to start getting red out in the sun. If using an SPF 15, it will take you 15 times longer to get red. Meaning it will take you about 7.5 hours.

I like this explanation too. I found it on the Skin Cancer Foundation website.
"SPF 15 blocks approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent; and SPF 50 blocks 99 percent."

Since SPF only blocks UVB rays, what should we do about the UVA rays? Remember, UVA rays penetrate through TWO layers of skin versus UVB which only penetrates the top layer.

Well, there is something called a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

This type of sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.

I use Ocean Potion Anti-Aging Broad Spectrum sunblock lotion with a SPF 30. It smells absolutely delicious. I love it. It is reasonably priced especially compared to some of the other broad-spectrum suncreens.

I also use Ocean Potion Face Potion for my face. It is made with zinc oxide which is also a broad-spectrum sunscreen by itself.

It is a complete sun blocking system. AND NO, it DOESN'T leave white all over your face. If rubs in and you can't tell you have anything on your face! Ha!

Zinc oxide does not irritate the skin either. The diaper rash creams you use, are mostly made up of zinc oxide! That in itself is proof that it does not irritate the skin.

How about your baby? How do you protect them?

Babies under 6 months of age should get very little sun exposure.

When exposed, babies should be properly shielded from the sun.

The AAP issued a new recommendation a few years ago which stated that "when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands."

Remember though these two very important reasons for not overusing sunscreen in young babies:

1. Infants a high body surface to volume ratio. What this means is that proportionately babies have more skin for the size body as compared to an adult. Obviously, sunscreens are made of chemicals. On the older child and adult, the chemical exposure is relatively minimal because the body surface ratio is smaller than a baby. Therefore, babies get a higher "dose" of sunscreen than older children and adults. While this exposure would most likely not cause any problems, the likelihood of an adverse reaction is greater.

2. Babies have a mildly impaired mechanism to keep cool by sweating. In addition, they have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated due to heat. Sunscreen can somewhat impair effective cooling by perspiration, so placing too much of it on an infant could be detrimental.
(Found at Parenting iVillage)

I also want to mention how to properly use sunscreen.

First, apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure.

Then, reapply every two hours.

Typically you should use about 1 oz. of sunscreen per application. 1 oz. is about as much as a shot glass.

Parenting iVillage
Skin Cancer Foundation
Your Baby Today


Kari said...

You are on a roll with information, hun! I knew about the whole sunscreen and babies thing. But it was interesting to read about the broad spectrum sunscreen.

Jamie said...

So sorry to here about your skin cancer. I am glad you found it early and I hope everything continues to go well. Thanks for all the info! Keep us posted :)