“If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it,” wrote The Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich.
Her mock graduation speech column was turned into hit song ‘Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)’ and if you haven’t figured it out yet, this is probably one of the wisest pieces of advice to ingrain in your child.
If you have kids and get active with them outdoors, chances are you’re looking more like Black Beauty than Snow White. Thanks to our proximity to the Equator, where the sun beats down like a — erm, a beating sun — getting tan is a state of life. Oh yes, the constant free-flow vitamin D is lovely, but it doesn’t mean that you should give melanoma a free ride on your skin. That’s why it is so important to — can you fill in the blank here yet? Yup. Wear sunscreen.
Babies and young children have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, so they can get sunburned in as little as 20 minutes. Obviously, it’s a good idea to give that tube of sunscreen or sunblock permanent residency in your diaper bag and whip it out regularly.
For kids aged six months and older, select one with SPF30 or higher. Choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If your child has sensitive skin, choose one that is PABA-free.
• Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. Remember to protect the lips, hands, ears, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck. Lift up swimsuit straps and apply underneath them.
• Don’t be a grinch with the sunscreen; apply it generously.
• Reapply often, approximately every two hours, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
• Use waterproof sunscreen if your child will be in the water. Reapply when he is out of the water.
Sunscreen? Sunblock? The main difference between sunblock and sunscreen is how they work. Sunscreen absorb ultraviolet light so that it does not reach your skin. Sunblock physically blocks UV rays. To be really sun safe, get a sunscreen with sunblock ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Sensitive skin? Look for one that is PABA-free, fragrance free, and hypoallergenic.
Get more protection! Use lip balms with sunscreen, long sleeved shirts or sun protection clothing (made with fabric that provides a Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 15 to 50+), wear a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
Stay indoors Avoid or limit sun exposure between 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at its strongest. If you do go out, keep in the shade and out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Be cautious Slap on the block when you’re near sand, water, or snow. They reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your chances of sunburn.
Baby Blanket® Kids Sport Lotion SPF70+ (6oz), $29
Good news, water babies! This protects for up to 80 minutes in the water, while keeping skin hydrated with aloe vera and vitamin E. It’s dermatologist- and paediatrician-tested to be non-stinging, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and sweat- and water-resistant. It’s also PABA- and fragrance-free. From Mothercare stores
Soléo Organics All Natural Sunscreen (75g), $59.90
All-natural, organically produced and formulated in Australia without the use of any chemical UV-absorbers or synthetic preservatives. If you prefer all things natural and non-chemical for your child, this is ideal. From Perfect Potion, www.perfectpotion.sg
Buds Everyday Organics Solar Care Lotion SPF25 (75ml), $39.90
This treats the skin while combating harmful UVA and UVB rays. There’re natural moisturisers like organic sunflower, olive, and jojoba oils and shea butter, and aloe vera to calm sun-stressed skin. From Bud Cosmetics at Mandarin Gallery, Takashimaya B1, and Square 2
Baby Blanket® Faces Lotion SPF 45+ (3oz), $22
With the maximum allowable sunblock protection for adults and kids with delicate complexions, this is dermatologist-tested, non-stinging, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and water-resistant. From Mothercare stores
Baby Blanket ® Kids Sport Continuous Spray SPF50+ (5oz), $29
Turn sunscreen application into a game with this easy spray-on. Cover your child’s face while spraying, or get him to make a funny face and hold his breath for five seconds. Perfect for wriggly ones who can’t stay still long enough to have lotion smoothed onto their skin. From Mothercare stores