Monday, June 6, 2011

Staying Safe in the Sun

Everyone that knows me KNOWS that I'm not just pale. I'm WHITE. I have no skin color and the only color I get fads very quickly. That being said, I can burn really bad really quick. I have been looking online about sun safety and also at different products to help with sun safety so...this post is all about the sun and what you should do to keep yourself and the ones you love safe in the sun.

I would like to start off with a small video that is a little scary but very well worth the few minuets it takes to watch it. It's not meant to scare but it's defintiely made to make those out there aware of the dangers of skin cancer. Please take a min to watch this and if you can, pass it on to the ones you love.

There are many different factors that increase your and your family's chances of getting skin cancer.

Here are 6 factors that will help you consider putting on the SPF.

1. A Family History
About 10 percent of melanoma cases run in the family. If your child has a first-degree relative -- you, your spouse, or a sibling -- who develops melanoma, he has a 50 percent greater chance of getting this cancer than someone without a family history. (If the cancer occurs in a grandparent or an aunt or an uncle, there's still a risk but it's not as great.)

2. Many Moles
Moles that are present at birth are the most dangerous. But the bulk of kids develop moles in response to sun exposure, and the more moles your child has, the greater her risk of developing melanoma later in life, says Elizabeth McBurney, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine, in New Orleans.

3. Past Sunburns
Bad burns -- as well as cumulative exposure to UV rays -- can cause genetic mutations in the skin that increase the risk of developing melanoma.

4. Fair Skin and Light Hair
If your child only has a little pigment (melanin) in her skin, she's more vulnerable to UV radiation. "Kids with fair skin have about four times the risk of developing skin cancer later in life than kids with a darker complexion," says Parents advisor Lawrence Eichenfield, MD, chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at Rady Children's Hospital, in San Diego. Redheads and blonds have a two- to fourfold increased risk of developing melanoma -- even if they do tan.

5.Living in a Southern Latitude or at a High Altitude
It's no surprise that children who live in Florida are exposed to more sun and are more likely to develop skin cancer than kids who live in northern Maine. But the same holds true if your home is in the mountains of Colorado or California. "Living at higher elevations exposes you to more UV radiation -- about 4 or 5 percent more for every 1,000 feet above sea level," says Dr. McBurney.

6.Being an Athlete
If your child plays a sport like soccer, swimming, or track, she'll spend more time in the sun -- and a study from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine found that 85 percent of young athletes don't use sunscreen. But this is one risk factor that's reversible; make sure your child goes out to the field wearing sunscreen and, when possible, UV-protective clothing.

There are also some horrible myths out there about sun safety as well. Here are some myths that you might have thought were true but are definitely not!

Myth: My child won't get burned if she's wearing SPF 50.
Truth: If you don't apply enough -- or if you don't reapply it -- your child can still get burned, says Ann Haas, MD, chair of the AAD's Youth Education Committee. The guideline is to apply at least an ounce of sunscreen over your child's entire body; with spray sunscreens, make sure you saturate all of your child's skin. You also need to put more product on your child every two hours and after she swims or sweats a lot. "The term 'waterproof' is misleading -- all it means is that the sunscreen protects you for up to 80 minutes in the water," says Elizabeth McBurney, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine, in New Orleans. "But some will still wash off in the water and be rubbed off when your child dries off with a towel."

Myth: Getting a tan isn't dangerous.
Truth: Sunburns definitely increase the risk of developing melanoma, but your kids are still at risk of getting skin cancer even if they always get a golden tan. "We know now that the more sun your child gets, the more likely he or she is to develop basal-cell and squamous-cell skin cancers," says Dr. Eichenfield. "Any sign of color means that the skin has been damaged."

Myth: My child is mostly inside, so I don't have to worry.
Truth: You may have to, especially on sunny days. Window glass only filters out UVB, so UVA can still penetrate your child's skin if she's standing nearby. "We used to think that only UVB rays were dangerous, but now we know that UVA rays also cause skin cancer," says Parents advisor Jody Alpert Levine, MD, a pediatric dermatologist in New York City. When you're going on a long car ride, put sunscreen on your child's hands, forearms, and face before hitting the road. If her play area or desk is right near a window at home or at school, she should also wear sunscreen to reduce exposure.

This myth is particularly important because I know a lot of people who think this is true!
Myth: My baby shouldn't wear sunscreen.
Truth: You should keep your baby out of the sun, but there may be times when you can't avoid exposing her. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's safe to use a small amount of sunscreen on an infant, but you should do a "patch test" the day before by putting a little on the inside of her wrist to check for irritation or allergies.

Myth: My child needs some time without sunscreen to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
Truth: You've probably seen news reports about how we all need sunshine to help our bodies make this important nutrient. However, the AAD says that both kids and adults can get enough vitamin D through day-to-day sun exposure, multivitamins, and foods like milk and fortified orange juice. "Any healthy, active child who spends time playing outdoors is going to get more than enough sunlight for adequate vitamin D production," says Sandra Johnson, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock. "Studies have also shown that people who wear sunscreen regularly don't suffer from vitamin D deficiency."

Now that you know the facts here are some products to help protect your little one. 

Cutest Babysuit Ever!
  If you've got a young baby at the beach, put him in a sun-protective romper -- it takes away a lot of the worry and lets you focus your sunscreen application (and reapplication) on his extremities. We love this Baby Surf Suit from Mini Boden. $38, 866-206-9508,

Serious Sunscreen
  Badger, with SPF 30, gets high marks for being a pure zinc-oxide barrier. That means it turns your kids' skin a little white, but that's good, because you know if you've missed a spot and you can see when it starts to rub off. It's also at least 60 percent certified organic. $16, Whole Foods,

Serious Sunscreen 
Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby is brand new this year. It's SPF 60, with a blend of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that forms a physical barrier against the sun. It's safe for babies 6 months and up -- or younger if your pediatrician gives you the okay ($10, drugstores)

Take More with You
  Keep MD Moms Sunscreen Towelettes in your diaper bag at all times and you'll always be ready to reapply sunscreen. The wipes don't weigh as much as a bottle of sun lotion, so they're easy to cart around, and each towel should be able to completely cover a 2-year-old with SPF 30 lotion. $26 for 15, 888-636-6672,

Watch the Feet
  Experts say that babies' feet are often forgotten when it comes to sun protection -- and think about it, what other body part stays out of the stroller? Especially if your child kicks off shoes or balks at sandals, try these sun-protective Surf Socks sold through One Step Ahead. $10,

Put a Lid on Them
  Yes, it's hard to get a kid to keep a hat on his head, but you gotta try. It protects the scalp and face, two places where it's tough to get on sunscreen. These SPF 50 baby hats are from Wallaroo Hat Company. $20,

The Final Touch: Sunglasses 
If it's hard to keep a hat on your baby, it might be nearly impossible to keep her in sunglasses. But Julbo Looping Sunglasses are the best we've found -- they can't be easily tossed off, and they really cover the eyes for maximum protection.  $30,

The face is something that most of us tend to forget to protect. I for one NEVER forget to put sunscreen on my face. Even if I'm inside for 50% of the day I still put my face lotion with SPF 30 on daily. It's so important to protect your face from those harmful rays. With my mom, my sister and my aunt having "scary spots" taken off of their face in the last few years, it has been a huge reminder not to forget to put sunscreen on my face. My mom had a spot taken off of her upper lip, my sister had something taken off of her chin and my aunt had something taken off of her nose. That's a pretty scary thing to think about. Here are some "Elle Magazine approved" face lotions that you might want consider.

“doesn’t leave you shiny” and is “invisible under makeup.”
Clinique Face Cream SPF "won't clog pores" and "absorbs in seconds."
“Keeping every ray away,” La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid is “worth every penny.
The “only product you need in the morning,” Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 “protects and softens skin.”
“Fresh-scented” Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion SPF 38 “is light and nongreasy on skin.”

I use the Aveeno daily and I would highly recommend it. It's worth being a little shiny around the edges over having to go under the knife for a sun spot.

Don't forget to cover up your eyes when you go outside too! Wearing sunglasses isn't just about looking stylish.

Wear sunglasses that block UV rays

UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Research has shown that long hours in the sun without protecting your eyes increase your chances of developing eye disease.
The ideal sunglasses do not have to be expensive, but they should block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. Before you buy, check the label to make sure they do. Labels that say "UV absorption up to 400 nm" or "Meets ANSI UV Requirements" mean the glasses block at least 99% of UV rays. Those labeled "cosmetic" block about 70% of UV rays. If there is no label, don't assume the sunglasses provide any UV protection.
Darker glasses are not necessarily better because UV protection comes from an invisible chemical applied to the lenses, not from the color or darkness of the lenses. Look for an ANSI label.
Large-framed and wraparound sunglasses are more likely to protect your eyes from light coming in from different angles. Children need smaller versions of real, protective adult sunglasses – not toy sunglasses.
Ideally, all types of eyewear, including prescription glasses and contact lenses, should absorb the entire UV spectrum. Some contact lenses are now made to block most UV rays. But because they don't cover the whole eye and surrounding areas, they are not sufficient eye protection when used alone. via

Last but not least is sun care for your pets. via

Our cat Groucho has no hair so of course he stays indoors for the most part. But pets that stay outside often don't get the sun protection that they need.  Here are some helpful tips to help your four legged friend when they are outside.

Provide shade
Availability to shade and fresh water should be available at all times to keep your pet comfortable and prevent heat stoke. This is obvious, but for outdoor pets, if their quarters can be fully shaded (such as a kennel), risks of sun damage are greatly reduced. Consider a sun block top for outdoor housing.

Provide sunblock
Like humans, pets should have sunblock applied to sun-sensitive areas such as tips of ears, nose the belly and groin areas that typically have sparse hair coverage and thinner skin. Cats love to sunbathe and some dogs will too, belly up. Additionally, many people get "summer cuts" for their cats and dogs to reduce matting and keep the pets comfortable in the summer heat. Sunburn is a definite possibility, and groomers should warn pet owners of this possibility. 

What products are safe to use for pets? It should be remembered that dogs and especially cats are adept at licking off topical lotions, sprays and creams. These substances can be toxic for dogs and especially for cats. It was once recommended that anything safe for human babies would be OK to use on pets with supervision (let the lotion soak in before licking can occur), and that is a guideline, but with the following considerations in mind.
Using products on a species not covered by product usage guidelines is off-label usage. Please consult with your veterinarian prior to using any human products or medications on your pet. Toxicities resulting from off-label usage by pet owners was the number one pet health insurance claim in a survey by VPI. It is very important to read all instructions and directions before applying any product to your pet. 

Pet sunscreen tips:

1) Use pet-safe sunscreens if possible As of this writing, only one has FDA approval, and that is Epi-Pet Sun Protector. This is great news for dogs and horses, but unfortunately is not able to be used on cats. A feline sunscreen is being worked on, however, hopefully out within a year. I spoke with Lisa, the marketing director for Epi-Pet, and she said that two of the ingredients commonly used in sunscreens break down in cats to salicylic acid, a.k.a aspirin, a known toxin for cats.  
2) Feline sunscreen protection is trickier Avoid products with Octyl Salicylate, Homosalate and Ethylhexyl Salicylate (common sunscreen ingredients). Products containing Titanium Dioxide as an active ingredient are OK to use on ear tips and noses. This ingredient works by physically blocking the sun's harmful rays, so it is not absorbed (much) by the skin. (This is in contrast to sunblocks that work to chemically block the sun's ray.) The Epi-Pet spokeswoman said that this compound is toxic if ingested, so caution is advised.
Sunscreens contain ingredients that are absorbed through the skin and are regulated by the FDA. All ingredients should be listed on the container. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) has not been rated for animals, and because of this, SPS of animal-specific products should be labeled as "comparable to" their human counterparts, according to FDA requirements.

 I hope this is informative to someone out there. I am very adamant about putting sunscreen on myself and my family. Especially Stratton because unfortunately he got his momma's skin color. 

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