Your suncare safety checklist: Is your family at risk?
Written by VTN Editorial
We love our summers in Australia, but we’ve also become wise to the real dangers of the UV rays that beam down from our beloved blue skies.
Luckily, sun safety is increasingly becoming second nature – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t check in from time to time to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Because not only is the sun public-enemy-number-one when it comes to our complexion, it’s also one of the most common causes of skin cancer in Australia.
If you’re a parent, getting on top of a sun protection routine that works for your family is an absolute priority. Check out our sun protection guide below for best practice and best products in sun safety for yourself and your family, including helpful tips on how to explain sun safety to children.
Brush up on the basics
The slip-slop-slap slogan many of us grew up with has been extended and, whilst it may seem a little cheesy, it really can help you – and the kids – remember the steps.
Slip on covering clothing. Rash vests should be a standard part of your kids swimwear, and these days there is a great range of gorgeous swimsuit designs that safely cover adults as well. If you’re not heading in for dip, loose fitting cottons will keep you cooler than synthetics.
Slop on the sunscreen. Anything lower than SPF 30 won’t cut it. Read on for our product recommendations, and remember to reapply every two hours.
Slap on a hat. Wide brimmed or legionnaires are best. For the kids, a toggle around the chin will save you money and tears if the wind picks up.
Seek shade. Get to know where your local parks with shade cloths and trees are, and when headed to the beach, bring an umbrella or tent.
Slide on the sunglasses. Look for a lens category of at least 2 or 3. For tiny-tots, sunglasses with a soft elastic around the back helps to hold them in place.
Teaching kids about sun protection
It’s never too early to start on sun safety for kids. Although children might not understand the severity of sun exposure risk, it’s still important that we inform them as much as we can. These helpful resources use song to get the message across.
For young children, the how of sun safety is even more important than the why. Let’s look at some great ways to help children develop independent sun protection skills for life.
Make it fun
How can you make the 5 key steps more enticing? When applying sunscreen, why not start a tradition of painting dot and squiggle art before you rub it in?
Make clothing and sunglasses colourful and creative. If these accessories are your child’s favourite part of their wardrobe, soon you’ll be begging them to take them off at the dinner table!
The shadow game is a great way to teach kids about timing. Is their shadow shorter than they are, or barely there at all? Time to seek shelter and not head back into the sun until your shadow is taller than you! Be warned that damage can occur on cloudy and overcast weather days.
Is your kid into science or weather? Teach them about UV ratings. Make it their “job” to inform you of the day’s UV rating, and soon they’ll be the ones telling you when you can and can’t go play! Check the UV levels using the SunSmart app or the Bureau of Meteorology UV guide.
Make it routine
Sun safety should be as routine as brushing your teeth. Make it the next step in the bathroom to ensure regularity, or set up a sunscreen station by the door so it’s the last step before leaving the house.
Clip a small bottle of sunscreen to your child’s backpack so they have a visual reminder to reapply during the day.
Lead by example
We know we don’t have to explain why this one is important. If you’re a parent – you get it. But remember it pays off for you too! As you focus on best practice in order to protect your kids, you’ll be doing your own skin a world of good.
Sunscreen and sun care products
Speaking of skin, let’s dive a little deeper into sunscreen, an industry which has upped its game when it comes to quality and efficacy of its products.
You’ll have to wear it every day, so it pays to find a product you love. At VTN, we’re sold on the deeply moisturising INVISIBLE ZINC Sheer Defence Moisturiser. It’s SPF50, luxuriously lightweight, and comes in tinted or untinted. This hydrating Zinc Oxide formula is the multitasking product you need to slide into your daily routine.
Although hats, clothing and shade are the best protection for bubs, it’s important to make sure every bit of their silky skin is covered, which is where Lovekins Baby Sunscreen steps in. It’s natural, non toxic formula is designed to be soothing and suitable for sensitive young skin.
What to do after the sun goes down
When it comes to after sun care tips, hydration is key. Make sure you and the family drink plenty of water during the day.
If anyone has become burnt, the humble Aloe Vera plant is a recommended way of soothing, re-hydrating the skin and preventing peeling. You can grow the plant yourself and apply its gel straight to the skin, or buy Aloe Vera gel in stores or online. Store the gel in the fridge for a cooling effect.
Now count your Sun Protection Australia knowledge as achieved, and enjoy peace of mind feeling more confident that you are taking the right steps this summer to help protect your skin and the skin of your children.