CoxHealth - Sunscreen and Bug Spray Tips

By KOLR10 News

Published 07/21 2014 09:05AM

Updated 07/21 2014 09:11AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --The sun can feel great in summertime temperatures but it can be dangerous to the skin.
Dr. Kayce Morton with CoxHealth is here to help us know what products are best to protect us and the people we love.

Shannon Miller - KOLR10: What do we need to look for when we're staring down that long asile of sunscreen products?

Dr. Morton:  You need to use at least 15 SPF, but 30 is a standard.

Shannon:  I didn't know this, but SPF is short for "some protection for" and the  number behind it is how long you'll be protected before you need to re-apply?

Dr. Morton:  Correct.  It's the amount of time for the SPF that gives you a certain amount of coverage.
But regardless of how much SPF you have, you should always re-apply every 80 minutes. 

Shannon:  We want to make sure that we're doing it the right way. These sunscreen sprays are out on the market, but how do we make sure we're applying it correctly and get enough on our skin?

Dr. Morton:  The sprays can be a little more difficult, because if the wind is blowing or the child is moving, then you may not get adequate coverage.  There are also concerns about inhaling it.  You want to make sure it's not in an enclosed space.

Shannon:  We were talking earlier about how the FDA is not paying as much attention or as much oversight when it comes to sunscreens and sprays.  As a parent, what kinds of things do you look for when you're purchasing something?

Dr. Morton:  Make sure you look at the label.  The new guidelines say "broad spectrum" so you want to make sure that covers your sunscreen.  Also check for some anti-aging and sunburn prevention. Your SPF, which you want 15 - 30.  And you want to make sure it has some water resistance for 40-80 minutes, and then re-apply.

Shannon:  Heaven forbid your child gets a bad sunburn.  You really have to pay attention to the burns your child gets because sometimes the burns they get early in life can really affect them later on.  What's the best way to treat a bad burn?

Dr. Morton:  Tylenol or Motrin for pain as well as something topical like aloe vera.  Keep them out of the sun - don't have them be re-exposed directly.

Shannon:  Let's talk about bug sprays.  What can you look for that is safe for a toddler?

Dr. Morton:  Less than two years of age one of the questions is can you use something with DEET in it.  Your usual range is 10-30%.  Under two, you want to make sure you're only using it on exposed areas, not the whole body.  Avoid the fumes, so don't be in an enclosed area.   And you don't want to apply it frequently because the chemicals can be absorbed into the skin.  Be sure you wash it off when you go inside and you're doing with the outdoors.

Shannon:  And you can use baby powder on your skin to keep bugs away?

Dr. Morton:  Baby powder is more for ticks.  Chemicals used for ticks, you really don't want on your skin.  So baby powder can be a natural option to keep ticks off of you.  

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