Sunscreen Smart

As May is upon us now, and school is winding down, summertime fun can start! Don’t forget to apply that sunscreen! As a mom, that just poses a new problem. Which sunscreen? There are 50,000 in the stores and which should I choose? For me? For the kids? And what about the many moles I’ve been given over the years with my genetics? When does one look weird enough to go get it checked out?

 

Let’s go thru the weird mole issue first. There’s a simple little rule set we can go thru to see if we need to go see a doctor:

  1. Asymmetric – can you cut the mole in half and it’s the same? If not, then it’s suspicious
  2. Borders – are they defined? Can you make a nice line on around it?
  3. Color – is it one color? If there is red, blue, black, white – it needs to be checked
  4. Diameter – is it getting larger? If so, then it needs to be checked
  5. Elevation – is it getting thicker? If something was flat, and now you can feel it, it needs to be checked.

So these are the clues to melanoma. We should all be aware and take a look at our skin (and our family’s skin) to be sure we are making sure everything is copasetic. Please, PLEASE see your family physician or dermatologist if you are concerned (or have a predisposition to skin cancer).

 

Now, let’s tackle the sunscreen dilemma of which one of the 50,000,000 to choose (yes, they seem to grow in number as I look at the shelves at the store). You should look for several things actually and it pares down the number exponentially.

     A – Lotions NOT sprays – sprays can be spotty coverage and leave you unprotected

     B – Consider whether the ingredients have any hormonal effects if they are absorbed or ingested (such as oxybenzone or octinoxate)

     C – Consider if the ingredients will cause allergic reactions (such as methylisothiazolinone)

     D - Make sure it covers UVA and UVB (broad-spectrum)

     E – At LEAST 30 spf – and reapply. The higher the spf, DOESN’T mean to apply less

frequently, and the bang for your buck or protection doesn’t go up that drastically with the higher spf. (Nothing covers 100%)

     F – Make sure it is water-proof

 

A couple of helpful websites to look at are www.ewg.org, and www.aad.org. Have a fun and safe summer!

Author
Dr. Raye-Anne Ayo

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