Are you ready, folks? Summer is peeking through the window and it’s time to limber up, do your squats, and find your inner chill — you’re about to be engaged in a sunscreen battle with your children for the next four months.
You are now the Mistress against Melanoma, Chief Application Officer, and Killer of all Cannon Balls if your children “DON’T GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW OR WE’RE LEAVING!”
You are here to pull some arms and take names before hitting up the snack stand. There will be no popsicles unless you come in HARD against those developing raspberry cheeks. And, yes, absofrigginlutely, there will be a strong chance of sunscreen showers in intervals of 120 minutes because “I SAID SO.”
There is no outdoor trip too small, no park too shady, no beach overcast enough for you to not win this battle of wills. The stakes are high, the harmful UV rays ripe, and these tiny terrors can run through the house naked and screaming all they want, but you’re kinda faster and have the keys. Also, you’re not above a bribe.
Welcome to summer and the fresh H-E double hockey sticks of sun safety.
The statistics are humbling: Just two painful sunburns as a child may increase the likelihood of a skin cancer diagnosis later in life, while 350 Americans on average are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every hour. Given these statistics, applying sunscreen on your kids might be a nightmare…but it’s essential to your family’s skin safety.
With this in mind, we consulted with two experts (who also happen to be moms) — Naomi Furgiuele, Scientist with Neutrogena® and Beverly Hills Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Chipps — to confirm what we already know: Informed moms and the right sunscreen make all the difference.
Here’s seven things you need to know to grab this summer’s rays by the balls and let skin cancer know it’s not gonna happen on your watch. Not today, sun! Not today.
You’re Not a Regular Mom, You’re a Cool Mom
Seriously, your kids think you’re cool even if you’re convinced they don’t listen and are plotting to kill you with their demands. You can make sunscreen cool just by wearing it. As Dr. Chipps notes, “We know our children repeat our actions (both the good and the bad!), so it’s no surprise research shows children’s sunscreen use is linked to watching moms apply it on themselves.” So make sure your children see you lather up, spray it on, or swipe. And consistently see you, no cheating.
Is Sunscreen Safe? Asking for a Friend
In short: Yes, yes it is. I’ll defer to the experts without delay. “Moms need to know that all sunscreens, from mineral to chemical to lotions to sprays, are safe and necessary to fully protect our children from harmful UV rays. The biggest misconception I hear from patients and moms on the internet is that sunscreen isn’t safe. No one has proved that regular use of sunscreen is unsafe, but scientists have proved that UV rays cause cancer. Sunscreen protects against harmful UV radiation — so wear it!” says Dr. Chipps.
Halp! I’m Currently Experiencing Choice Overload in the Sunscreen Aisle
You are not alone. The choices are endless — lotion, stick, spray — and then there’s the SPF-level. Here’s two things you should know to cut through the BS: Select a high SPF and then whatever feels right. As Dr. Chipps notes, “I hear a lot about high SPF sunscreens from patients, so here’s my take on it: Because most people apply half as much sunscreen as they should, when in doubt, choose a higher SPF as a safety net to ensure the highest level of protection possible and reapply frequently. I use Neutrogena® Sheer Zinc™ Dry Touch Sunscreen every day, and my family loves Neutrogena® Beach Defense®.”
I’m Not Ruining Lives If I Pick Mineral Over Chemical Sunscreen, Right?
Absolutely not. Your anxiety might be through the roof as you scan the shelf or scroll through the screen, but rest assured selecting a mineral or chemical sunscreen is all about your preference. As Naomi points out, “If you’re not sure, hopefully this will help — both mineral and chemical sunscreens have been used for over 20 years safely and are FDA-approved. Mineral sunscreens are an excellent choice for babies or anyone with overly sensitive skin. Baby’s skin is 10x more sensitive than adult skin and needs to be treated with special care. Whatever sunscreen you choose is up to you, as both types are safe and help protect against skin cancer.”
Go Against Your Better Judgement and Let Your Kids Pick Their Sunscreen
Your kids will be so shocked that they get a say, but they’ll be more likely to get with the program and not run in every direction except toward you. Make sure you set a few guidelines within the selection process, but overall, let your kids think they’re spraying a force field around themselves or bathing in unicorn tears. As Naomi told us, “I let my kids pick the type of sunscreen that they like best and enjoy using. Whichever one they go with, if they like it, they’ll use it more often.”
Yeah, That’s Not Going to Work Because I Have a Threenager and She’s On To My Games
Then start a dance party. What can you not accomplish with a dance party? Maybe even a little singing? Dr. Chipps suggests toddlers “may enjoy singing a song as sunscreen is applied…head, shoulders, knees and toes, for instance.” Or “head, shoulders, knees, and ooh, watch this on the iPad.” You’re not above it. I know I’m not.
My Kids Are Already Wet or Sweaty. Do I Really Have to Do This All Over Again?
The sunscreen struggle is real. It’s at this point that I fail miserably — the reapplication phase. By the two-hour mark, I don’t even want to acknowledge those are my kids, let alone be responsible for thwarting the potential for skin cancer. But this is vital, the last rep of an intense hours-long workout. You, Master of Motherhood, reapply sunscreen like a cardio bawse. Reapplication is a must as Naomi points out: “Remember to reapply every two hours or right after swimming or strenuous activity. The protection in sunscreen begins to wear off after long periods of sun exposure and can rub off with normal activity.”
But we got this. Bring it on summer!
Join Neutrogena® by showing how you teach your children to #MimicMommy this summer by sharing photos of you and your family applying sunscreen on social, tagging @Neutrogena and using the hashtag.
This post was sponsored by Neutrogena®, the #1 dermatologist recommended suncare brand. Together, let’s create the first sun safe generation!