Summer is the time for family adventures. Hiking, biking, swimming, boating: all of these have one thing in common. They take place outside in the sun. While you can get sunburned at any time of the year, the summer is prime sunburn time.
What can you do to soothe sunburn, or to avoid the problem before it even happens?
If you want more information on this issue and access local discounts, tips, and encouragement, join Twin Cities Kids Club for access.
Before the Sun Burns Happen
Obviously, the best time to apply sunscreen and use other protective measures is before the damage is done. Preventing the damage leaves your family free to play outside another day without having to take more extreme measures to avoid further damage from the sun.
Among the ways to prevent sunburns are:
- Protective Clothing
- Natural Sunscreens
Protective Clothing Against Sun Burns
One of the simplest measures against sun burns is wearing clothing that is designed to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Clothing for the whole family rated at UPF 50 and above can be found as swimwear. There are also shirts and other items designed to be worn outside during activities that might expose your family to the sun.
These pieces of clothing offer a natural barrier between the skin and the sun. One downside of these items is the price associated with these pieces. Your family may also be reluctant to wear long sleeves outside in the summer, in particular when swimming.
In particular, your kids may rebel at the feeling of swimming and playing in the water, wearing full-length swim shirts. A compromise might be having them wear short sleeve protective swim shirts, or hats with a protective factor.
One less expensive option is wearing extremely lightweight clothing as a shield against the sun. These can be found at less expense and less bulk than some protective clothing.
Applying sunscreen can seem like a bother, but is an important part of ensuring your children’s long-term health. The CDC states that even a few sunburns can increase your children’s risk of skin cancer later in life.
Even one or two burns per summer can lead to damage that results in problems later on. Skin cancer, as well as premature aging, can result from too much sun.
Many kids resist the process of applying sunscreen. The feel and smell may be off-putting for them, as well as the time away from the fun if applying sunscreen at your destination. Parents can avoid some of the struggles if they use sunscreen before heading to the pool or outside activity.
Sunscreen works best when applied around 30 minutes before venturing outside, to give it time to bind with your skin. Applying sunscreen once at the beach can mean it is less effective.
Sunscreen that is not bonded with skin may wash off, even if it is considered waterproof, and sand or sweat can interfere with its effectiveness. Applying sunscreen earlier can increase the chances of it working better.
Some children tolerate the spray form of sunscreen better than the lotion. Spraying can also be quicker than alternatives. Some children may prefer this type of application because of sensory issues. The quickness and lighter touch may make it appealing.
However, it can be hard to know if enough is being applied, and if it does not soak in, it can be washed or rubbed off. Kids can also end up with spray in their eyes or mouth if they do not close them before application.
Other Measures to Protect Against Sun Burns
One good way to avoid sunburn is to lessen your exposure to the sun. Look for naturally shady locations to set up the family for some fun outside. If there is no shade, bring or use artificial shade on location.
Pop up canopies can provide needed shade at the beach or when playing outside. Beach umbrellas can add much-needed shade when playing in the water, even if you were anticipating a day in the sun.
Taking a break from the sun to find shade and something cool to drink can give your family time to assess how they are feeling, as well as to apply more sunscreen if needed.
One further way to avoid the damaging effect of the sun recommended by the CDC is to wear sunglasses. Eyes can end up red and raw from too much exposure to the sun. The sun’s rays can also lead to cataracts later in life.
Soothing the Sun Burn After it Happens
It happens to the best of us sometimes. Maybe the effect of sunscreen wore off earlier than you were expecting. Maybe you were
Parents Magazine lists aloe vera as one of the best ways to soothe sunburn. Aloe has the effect of helping skin to repair more quickly than it normally would. It also has a soothing feeling on raw and burned skin. Spreading aloe vera in its natural state or in a gel that contains real aloe can eliminate some of the pain of sunburn and speed recovery.
Other natural remedies include:
- Witch Hazel
- Honey (not for babies under one due to botulism risks)
After getting a sunburn on your torso, covering the affected area in thin, soft layers can also protect the area from further damage. The second round of sunburn would only make things much worse. The skin may also be sensitive to the feeling of touching rough clothing, furniture, or bedding.
Cover the affected area with lotion, aloe, or your other favorite remedy, and then wear soft clothing that completely covers the sunburn when trying to sleep. If you experience a great deal of pain, you may need to sleep in different positions than you normally would.
Plan for Next Time
If your family ends up badly burned, that is a good time to make a plan for your next adventure. What sun care will you put to use to avoid sun burns on your next beach trip?
If you want more information on planning family adventures both outside in the sun, and inside, join Twin Cities Kids Club. There you will find access to local discounts as well as tips and encouragement.