Summer is just about here, and that means one thing for paranoid mamas like myself: getting ready to protect your kids from the sun like they’re vampires who will spontaneously combust the second it shines upon them.
If I could safely dunk my daughter into a vat of sunblock every time we went outside, I would totally do that. Sunburn is not only super painful for kids, but it also damages their skin and increases their risk of developing skin cancer down the line.
Unfortunately, knowing which sunscreens to use to protect your kid from the sun has gotten harder over the years thanks to misleading labels.
A Consumer Reports study found that some manufacturers are claiming that their products have way higher SPF numbers than they actually do. That means you might think you’re getting way better protection than you really are.
The report also found that many “all-natural” sunscreen products are typically not nearly as effective as they claim to be. Products like these are sometimes favored by parents who don’t trust the presence of chemicals in their skin care products (you know, toxic death cream!).
I’ve personally heard moms speculate over whether using sunscreen is more likely to cause cancer than suffering skin damage in the first place, so I’d like to issue a gentle reminder that that is crazy talk, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Safe skin care should actually be a concern for everyone, whether your kid is Children of the Corn pale like mine or not.
Thinking that darker-skinned people don’t need to use sunblock is a dangerous myth. Anyone can get skin cancer regardless of race, so let’s make sure we’re all packing plenty of sun lotion this summer.
To choose the right sunscreen for you, Consumer Reports states:
We suggest using a sunscreen labeled with an SPF of at least 40 that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than “natural” or mineral active ingredients such as zinc oxide. We’ve found that this offers the best chance of getting a sunscreen that delivers at least an SPF 30.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ll also be putting your kid in a rash guard, stuffing a bonnet on their heads, and setting up a massive umbrella.