Sunshine is vital to our existence. It provides us with important vitamins and gives us a little color to make us look healthier. But as with anything, too much of a good thing isn’t always a good thing, especially for babies and children.

Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing sunscreen or sunblock we’re all a bit under educated about which is the right choice – or if there is even a difference in the two. Let’s take a look at some facts – and myths – about sunscreen and see if we can’t help sort it all out.

First of all, if you’re not sure of what SPF means –simply put it’s the Sun Protection Factor and it lets you know how much protection you are getting from the sun. So – if you purchase a sunscreen with an SPF-15 and you normally start to burn after fifteen minutes, you’re going to be able stay in the sun for fifteen times longer – or three hours and forty five minutes. However, even with that amount of protection, you should re-apply more often than that especially if you are swimming or sweating a lot.

Now that being said – if a sunscreen with an SPF-15 protects you for fifteen times more, an SPF-30 doesn’t double that amount and products with extremely high SPF numbers are nothing more than a misleading marketing ploy. A product with an SPF range of 15-60 is more than sufficient.

And speaking of misleading marketing ploys: sunscreens and sunblock that are “made for children” tend to be more expensive – you can purchase the adult version (as long as it falls within the 15-60 range) is perfectly fine to use.

Finally, as you take the kids and head to the beach or lounge by the pool, keep these facts in mind:

  • Sunscreen/sunblock is even necessary on cloudy days as 80% of the suns UV rays can penetrate clouds.
  • Sun can damage any skin type so even if you already have a tan or dark skin, you still need sunscreen.
  • Waterproof does not mean water resistant. Re-apply your product every two hours or if you’ve been in the water, after you dry off.
  • Sunscreen does NOT prevent cancer. Yes, the product can reduce your exposure to the sun’s harmful rays but it will not prevent cancer.
  • The sun’s rays are most damaging between the hours of 10:00 and 4:00 – do your best to limit your exposure during those times.

Be smart when it comes to exposing yourself and your children to the sun and remember a little really does go a long way.