May 29, 2013

Sunscreen Safety

If you remember (or if you are new to my blog) back in May of 2011, I had a bump removed from my nose. It was basal cell carcinoma skin cancer and it was a pretty scary situation for me. (So so glad it turned out not to be melanoma). What I didn't share was three weeks after giving birth to Logan, I was in the dermatologists office getting two more moles on my back biopsied and removed. Yikes.
Granted I am fair skinned, burn easily and have a toooooon of moles however, because of these facts, I have been wearing sunscreen all my life. While some of my friends slathered on SPF 4 or tanning oil, I was rocking the 30 or higher. Lucky for me, I married someone with darker skin and who almost never burns and I've been hoping Logan's skin is a little more like his dads skin than mine.

Since we are well into spring and gearing up for summer (our pool opened today, too bad it is rainy and cold) I thought I would write a little bit about sunscreen safety for the whole family.

According to the research I have done, it is best NOT to put sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months. It is ideal to place them in the shade, under a stroller canopy, or a wide brimmed hat with sunglasses. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that it is okay to place a small amount of sunscreen on your infant if the sun can not be avoided.
From what I understand, a babies skin is much thinner than adults so it will absorb any ingredients of the sunscreen more easily. They also have a higher surface area to body weight so anything they absorb will be more than if on a larger kid or adult.

If your baby is 6 months or older, it is advised to apply sunscreen liberally but avoid the sun when it is harshest from 10am-2pm. Also it's still best to cover the baby in hats and clothing.

Logan will be 6 months in a few weeks so we have been doing our research on what kind of sunscreen to buy. (We also got him swim clothes, swim diaper and long sleeve cover up that have SPF in them.) Since his skin is so thin I wanted to make sure that the sunscreen I was putting on him was the safest I could find. The EWG, which stands for Environmental Working Group has a wonderful website that breaks down the ingredients in different sunscreen brands and gives it a number based on how safe it is deemed to be. You can check out the Environmental Working Groups 2013 Guide to Sunscreens. After hearing about Johnson and Johnson products in the news recently, I made sure to pick out my favorites before going shopping.

We ended up getting a solid stick of Babyganics from Babies R Us (rated a 1) and will be buying Episencial's SPF 35 (also a 1) from the store at my mom's group here in NH. 

I also went through our sunscreen from last year. The consensus is that sunscreen has a shelf life of 3 years after it is manufactured. Most bottles should have an expiration date. I couldn't find much information on bottles that have previously been opened so I am planning on tossing our old and buying new for this summer. I was a little shocked at the ratings of what I had in our cabinets so I think I will be picking out some new bottles for myself as well. I figure I will be holding Logan as much in the summer as I do now so whatever I am wearing will probably end up on him and possibly in his mouth (since he loves to chew on my fingers and shoulder).

As with anything parenting related, it's really up to the parents to decide what they are comfortable with as far as their baby is concerned. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to do, as I am not an expert- just learning as I go! I consult with our pediatrican on anything I have concerns with and Geoff and myself make the final decision. This is something that I am concerned with, due to my history and felt like any information I learned might be helpful to someone else!

Anyways, hope everyone gets to enjoy some nice, warm weather for the long weekend! Stay safe and wear that sunscreen.


Becky said...

Great information! I am storing all your baby info away for when I need it myself ;)

Tori said...

Hi! I'm a new reader who found your blog from a comment you left on another blog. I went back and read from your wedding recaps to current. Loved reading your recaps (who doesn't love weddings?) and your adventures in other countries. Your son is adorable! I'm looking forward to being a regular reader!

Fly The Friendly Skies said...

Becky- Glad to hear it. :) I have lots of information whenever you need it!

Fly The Friendly Skies said...

Welcome! Glad you found and are enjoying the blog. :) Thanks for saying hello, I love learning about my readers.