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Spring and summer are my favorite seasons, and I’ll admit I love spending time in the sun, don’t you? My, how sun safety has changed since I was a kid growing up. I remember learning all the wrong things about sunbathing, baby oil (a big no no, but no one knew any better), sunburns (no, of course they’re not good for you), and finally sunscreens with who-knows-what-ingredients. Sun safety information has come a long way.
Recently the co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, Ken Cook, took time for a webinar with Beautycounter consultants around the country to elaborate on the EWG’s Sun Safety Campaign. EWG is pointing out that with skin cancers on the rise and the National Cancer Institute reporting 2 million people diagnosed with skin cancer each year, we all need to take sun safety more seriously. That includes picking the right sunscreen, but not being fooled into thinking that even sunscreen means unlimited time in the sun can be safe. Remember the cute hats we put on our babies at the beach? Protecting our faces is incredibly important, and requires a multifaceted approach, including thinking about clothing and hats.
“If you need a wake-up call, take a UV image of yourself,” said Cook, referring to the special imaging that can reveal years of sun damage to our skin. Most all of us as adults already have sun damage, and hopefully we can help our children avoid some of that.
Some of EWG’s tips for sun safety for children include:
- Avoid mid-day sun
- Use shade & clothing to cover up
- Be cautious about not using sunscreen on children under 6 months old unless absolutely necessary to avoid burning
A few tips from EWG on things to avoid in sunscreens are:
- Oxbenzone – suspected to be a hormone disrupting chemical
- Vitamin A or retinyl palmitate – linked to growth of skin tumors and lesions
- Added insect repellent – you could end up with too much bug repellent when you re-apply sunscreen
- Sprays that could be inhaled
- SFP 50 and over sunscreens – false sense of extra protection, just re-apply often the sunscreen you have