As summer approaches, every family is planning out new adventures. Family vacations, hiking trails, water parks, or even just weekly trips to the neighborhood pool are just some of the exciting activities on the schedule for this summer. Throughout all of it, health is always our top concern at Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital, and to help you prepare for your summer fun, we wanted to talk about one of the most important things you can do to help your children stay safe and healthy this summer…
Using good sunscreen!
What makes sunscreen “good?”
The best sunscreens out there are ones with high SPF and broad-spectrum coverage. These two factors can make or break a brand of sunscreen, so you want to make sure you know what they mean. Knowing what to look for on ingredients lists and understanding what kind of UV rays pose a risk are important when you’re shopping for a new bottle of sunscreen.
In general, an SPF 15 is the lowest SPF you will want to consider. SPF 15 can get most people by, but if you are fair skinned, burn easily, have a condition which makes your body more sensitive to the sun, or a family history of skin cancer, then you need to look at SPF 30 or higher. While many people will just find the highest SPF number and think that is the best sunscreen on the shelf, that is not always the case.
This is because SPF only protects against one kind of UV ray.
UVA and UVB
There are two general kinds of UV rays that can harm the skin. UVB rays are the ones we can observe most obviously during the summer, because UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburns, and can superficially damage the skin very quickly. Obviously, these rays can be harmful, which is why SPF, just like in sunscreen, helps to block UVB rays.
But SPF doesn’t block UVA rays.
UVA rays won’t give you a sunburn so quickly, but they are the kind of sun rays that can affect the deeper layers of your skin. UVA rays tend to be what give us suntans, but they can also pose a serious risk for skin cancer later in life. UVA rays can cause aging and wrinkling of the skin, and some studies say that UVA rays might be the cause of initiating skin cancer. They need to be guarded against just as much as the UVB rays do.
So how do you guard against UVA rays?
Since there is no rating system to evaluate how well a specific brand of sunscreen guards against UVA, you need to check the ingredients list. Look for the following ingredients to ensure that your sunscreen is broad-spectrum, and shielding you against both types of UV rays:
- Stabilized avobenzone
- Titanuim dioxide
- Zinc oxide
If some of these ingredients are in your sunscreen, then you’ll have better protection from UVA and UVB rays this summer.
What about Heat Exhaustion?
Unfortunately, there is no sunscreen that can keep your body from getting hot. Even if you protect yourself from sunburn, your body can still get overheated when out in the sun for long periods of time. That is why Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital encourages everyone to drink water frequently this summer, and make sure to take breaks from your summer activities in the shade. Heat exhaustion can be a serious condition, and if you or a loved one begin to feel faint when outside, seek immediate medical attention.
This summer, we are here to help your family have as much summer fun as possible. We hope that this guide to sunscreen will help you stay safe and healthy while you and your family has a blast creating new memories this summer.
Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital is here to help if you or a loved one begins to experience signs of severe heat exhaustion or sunburn. We encourage everyone to stay hydrated and be careful of sun risks this summer. Our experienced physicians are available 24/7 to provide concierge-level care to adults and children alike.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Phoenix ER & Medical Hospital or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.