With the FDA’s new guidelines for how sunscreens are tested and marketed to consumers, it will soon be easier for parents to determine which products offer the best sun protection. While these much-needed regulations will be a welcome addition to parent’s sun arsenal, we will not see them in effect for another year. With the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updating its sunscreen guidelines to include the use of sunscreen in babies six months and under, parents need to be more aware than ever of how to effectively keep their little ones safe from the sun. We asked Kim Walls, M.S., an esthetician and a nutritionist with more of a decade of experience, for her suncare tips for parents:
-A natural mineral (aka physical) block is, by far, the safest sunscreen option. Zinc sits on the skin’s surface to reflect sunrays away from the body like a mirror, as opposed to chemical ingredients, which are designed to be absorbed into the skin and can have potentially unintended and harmful consequences for children’s skin and body.
-The best Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level for your child depends on what you will be doing. Chose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 35, which will protect more than 95 percent of the harmful wavelength of UV rays – just right for playing at the beach, park or in the backyard.
-In addition to preventing sun damage, it’s also important to combat the negative effects of increased exposure to pollution in the ocean and air and also by the sheer heat on the skin’s surface. Products that contain aloe help cool the skin. Ingredients like green tea extract offset skin problems and help prevent lasting damage from sun exposure.
-The skin’s ability to perform essential immune functions can be compromised by the damaging dryness resulting from exposure to chlorine from pools and typical city water supplies. Sunscreens that are all natural and fortified with ingredients such as Vitamin C, organic oils such as avocado, beeswax, Shea butter offset chlorine, maintain skin hydration and create a water-resistant barrier to reduce absorption of pollutants through the skin to support overall health.
-Learn how to read the label on any sunscreen product. Opt for chemical-free products that offer full spectrum protection, protecting against both the UVA and UVB rays.
About Kim Wall, M.S.:
Kim Walls, M.S. is an esthetician and a nutritionist with more than a decade of experience. Walls has honed her perspective focusing on botanically-based skin care and transdermal nutrient absorption as a pathway to improved health and beauty for women and children. You can read more about her and her skincare line, Episencial®, here.