What Causes A Red Rash In 5 Year Old Kids Sunscreen 101 – What You Should Know About SPF, UVA, UVB, and the FDA

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Sunscreen 101 – What You Should Know About SPF, UVA, UVB, and the FDA

You slather on last summer’s SPF 50 sunscreen and figure you’re good to go – for a walk, a day at the beach or relaxing by the pool – but you’d be wrong.

First, that “50” just means you’d burn 50 times faster without sunscreen, not that you’re 50 times safer. Plus, if it’s a year old, it’s out of date. And diving into the sea or pool or simply sweating removes the sunscreen, so you see: you are not safe at all.

And keep in mind that SPF only refers to how well a product blocks UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, not UVA (ultraviolet A) rays, which penetrate even deeper and age the skin, so you won’t get any help there. Both types of rays increase the likelihood of skin cancer.

Under new FDA guidelines, manufacturers must now add a 4-star UVA rating system to sunscreens: low, medium, high or highest plus a corresponding star. But don’t expect to see these new labels anytime soon; in fact, we may have to wait up to 18 months!

For now, the Skin Cancer Foundation says to look for at least one of these UVA-protecting ingredients on the label: avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or ecamsule.

Meanwhile, with more than one million cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually in this country, pay attention to:

1. Buy a new sunscreen every year and keep in mind that the EWG (Environmental Working Group) found that 84% of 785 sunscreens on the market with an SPF rating of 15 or higher offer insufficient protection.

2. Look for those labeled “broad spectrum.”

3. Choose only the best brands because 80% of nearly 1,000 branded products have been shown to “contain chemicals that may pose health risks or do not adequately protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.”

4. Use sunscreen liberally and reapply frequently—about every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

5. Avoid the sun as much as possible, especially in the midday hours.

6. Don’t count on cloud cover to protect you.

7. Seek shade whenever possible.

8. Cover up. Along with sunscreen, wear a hat, protective clothing such as those offered by Coolibar, and don’t forget sunglasses.

9. Remember that washing in specially treated clothes wears out the UV protection, so change them occasionally.

10. Check your skin for any changes, lesions, or blemishes and visit a dermatologist annually for a professional full-body checkup.

11, What is good for adults is good for children; if one product irritates or causes a rash, try another.

12. Babies 6 months and younger don’t have protective melanin in their skin yet, so if you can’t avoid the sun: cover them, use a stroller canopy/hood, and don’t apply sunscreen all the way unless your doctor tells you to.

13. Look for new FDA-mandated labels in the coming months

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