I feel much better today.
Rachael woke up yesterday looking pale again so I’m am assured that it was not a sunburn. Still planning to be careful but I think for at least a little bit, rather than go to the pool, the kids can stay in the front yard under the big shade tree and play under the sprinkler. I’m sure their babysitter is going to be super thrilled at the news.
Sunscreen is in the news lately, did you know? As you may recall, I’m not so great at keeping up with the news. But as we were waiting in the melanoma clinic last week, I saw on the front page of a newspaper in the waiting room an article about the FDA and some new sunscreen regulations. Then, during the course of that doctor’s visit, the dermatologist that Rachael saw asked what kind we use and then spent a good amount of time discussing it with me and recommending a different kind. And then Dr. Hughes brought it up when we met with him and suddenly after nearly two years of skin cancer, it seems to actually matter not just that we use sunscreen but what kind we use.
So, I thought I’d do a little research myself and you’re welcome because the articles and videos I have watched and read could NOT be more boring. And I’m actually interested. Here is what the FDA put out last week if you need help with your insomnia (the videos are especially monotone) but these are the points I found important:
- You need to find a sunscreen that specifically says “Broad Spectrum”. Don’t buy it if it just says “UVA/UVB as there is not a lot of regulation (until now) on exactly how much of each it is blocking. So look for the words “Broad Spectrum”.
- This isn’t in the article but the dermatologists at M.D. Anderson’s melanoma clinic advised that I use a sunscreen with the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two ingredients act as actual physical sun blockers or reflectors.
- The words “water proof” are a lie and are going away. No sunscreen is water or sweat proof and manufacturers are now going to be required to say “water resistant” and tell consumers how long they maintain their resistance. If they do not say “water resistant” then they are not.
- There are no added benefits to using sunscreen with an SPF of more than 50 but if it is not at least 15, they will not longer be able to falsely advertise themselves as SPF. Goodbye you joke of product Coppertone SPF 4!
- I asked the doctors what they think of the spray sunscreens. My kids much prefer this because it’s so much easier to apply but the docs say no. It is extremely unreliable what percentage of actual UV protection is coming out of the can. Stick with the lotions. I know. I feel your pain.
- Sunscreen helps but to give an extra bit of protection, consider using SPF clothing and a hat.
Here are my recommendations:
Coolibar (click on the name and you’ll go their site) has the products recommended by the good doctors at M.D. Anderson. Now, I’m not saying this is any kind of official endorsement or anything but when we got on the internet during Rachael’s appointment, this is the site we visited. I just ordered five bottles of Blue Lizard (again, click on the name) to get us through summer. This has the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that they said is so important. We’ve used several of the sunscreens listed on their page and I recommend trying a few and seeing what you like best. I think they offered something like a “sample pack” once when I called to place an order. You could try that. Coolibar is also where we get our hats, swimsuits and some clothing for Rachael. I LOVE this company!
In the meantime, a good one to get us through is Neutrogena. You can find it in grocery stores which makes it appealing. Just go for the lotions rather than the sprays and don’t bother spending the extra money on SPF 100 when 30 or 50 will be fine. It doesn’t seem to have the zinc oxide or titanium oxide the doctors like, but it is broad spectrum which means it is going to protect you from both the UVA and UVB rays.
Pale skin has such a translucent beauty to it. You know, Rachael is already getting compliments on her skin from people who don’t know her history. Moisturized, protected skin is so lovely. Of course, I am completely biased….
Update: I hear a lot of people talk about how they didn’t need sunscreen because they were in the shade or it was cloudy. We used to feel the same way but one of the cool features of the Blue Lizard sunscreen is that the bottle itself turns purple when it is exposed to UV rays. We have experimented with this and are astonished to see the amount of UV rays that gets through shade such as umbrellas or trees and clouds provide NO protection it seems. I know wearing it everyday is a pain and to be honest, we don’t. But Rachael does and when we are all going to be outside for awhile, even when shaded or cloudy then we do put it on.