The Skin You're In

Skincare tips to keep you and your kiddies protected all summer long



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On an ordinary day in New Jersey, Patricia Krentcil and six-year-old daughter Anna left their home to visit the local tanning salon. The next day, the young girl went to school with what appeared to be sunburn on the majority of her body. When asked where she had gotten these marks, Anna replied that she went “tanning with mommy.” As details of this story spewed into all major news stations Patricia Krentcil, a 44-year-old New Jersey mother, became headline news. In a day and age where cancer has become an epidemic, it is no surprise that a story of such absurdity became the talk of the nation.

The importance of safe skincare and the effects of sun exposure are by no means new topics of discussion. For years, doctors have preached the seriousness of staying hydrated while outdoors, wearing protective hats and clothes even while on the beach and always applying sunscreen no matter what shade your skin is. Despite its positive attributes, sunlight can be damaging even for those who “never burn.” This said, who doesn’t live for the days of grabbing a chair, ice cold drink and soaking up some Vitamin D.

Besides working miracles for your complexion, sunscreen prevents against wrinkles, blotches and above all getting scorched. "The FDA is delaying the deadline for product manufactuers to label sunscreens more clearly for consumers until later this year." says dermatologist Mitchell Ross, MD at The Greenwich Medical Skincare & Laser Spa in Old Greenwich, CT. Don't know what you should be looking for? We have the top sunscreens and tips you’ll need this summer season to keep you and your family sun-kissed and safe.

1. Broad-spectrum: When selecting a brand read the label to ensure that it protects against both types of UV rays. While UVA rays do not burn our skin as UVB rays do, they are responsible for the breaking down of collagen and aging the skin. Finally the fountain of youth has been revealed! My personal favorite is Avon Anew Solar Advance Sunscreen Body Lotion SPF 30; $34

2. Know Your Skin: Have a history of breaking out from sunscreen and lotions? Stick to the oil-free brands which won't clog your pores or lead to zits. We recommend trying: Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Airbrushing Loose Powder SPF 30; $14. Feel like your skin is always sensitive and dry even with lotion? Read the fine print and look for sunscreens with 5 to 10 percent zinc oxide. It acts as a physical protector by deflecting UV less thus making your skin less apt to be irritated. Try Aveeno Natural Protection Sunblock Lotion, SPF 30; $10

3. The Higher the Better: For those of us who have to remember a million things before 9 am, applying the right amount of sun screen everyday falls lower and lower on our to do list. According to a study by the American Academy of Dermatology, women should on average use a daily SPF of at least 30 even if just heading to the office or running out for a few errands. Taking a weekend trip to the beach? Make sure to apply at least 50 SPF when planning on being in the sun for extended periods and remember to reapply often especially after taking a dip in the crisp and cool water! I recommend trying Origins A Perfect World UV Face Protector, SPF 35; $28

4. Without Water: If you're not going to be swimming Dr. Ross recommends applying sunscreen to the most crucial areas and then brush on a mineral makeup like Jane Iredale's Pure Pressed Powder, SPF 20 over the area. This will give you double the protection and leave your skin with a natural glow!

5. Burned Out: So despite your best efforts to stay protected you still ended up with a burn! "Unfortunately you cannot reverse the damage done to your skin, but to relieve the pain use cool cloths on sunburned areas." says Dr. Ross. "Apply soothing lotions that contain aloe vera and a 1 percent hydrocortisone ointment to help with the swelling. Since your body is in a state of shock be sure to relax in a cool quiet room and drink lots of fluids to combat any dehydration." Kids need a ride somewhere? Tell them it's doctors orders to lay down.

Tips for parents!

New York Times blogger Yvetta Fedorova recently revealed a study conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital which found that that as children move into adolescence the proportion who “often or always” used sunscreen declined from 50 percent to only 25 percent! Want to keep your kids engaged and educated on sun tips? Look into one of these programs that are aimed to make sun protection practices stick.

SunWise

Created for schools by the Environmental Protection Agency, this interactive program provides instructional material for teachers to incorporate sun protection messages into diverse subject matters such as social studies, math, and even physical education.

Pool Cool

Developed by Karen Glanz, a professor of epidemiology and nursing at the University Pennslyvania, this program is aimed to educate lifeguards and parents about the use of sunscreen, shirts and hats to reduce sun exposure. Did you know that a t-shirt only has an SPF of about 7 or 8? This means that even with a shirt on children should still apply sunscreen to their whole body to stay as safe as possible. We say pools and beaches should provide free sunscreen for all!                

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