Sunny days have officially hit NJ, which mean all-day outdoor fun is just beginning. While we count the days until summer, it's the ideal time to start thinking everything you need to make summer a success. Whether that means a killer swimsuit collection, booked travel plans, camp sign ups, or an outdoor oasis, one thing is certain: There's nothing that can put a damper on summer fun like a harsh sunburn for you, and especially for your kids. To get the scoop on the ultimate sun protection, we chatted with Rebecca Whealen, MPAS, PA-C, Aesthetic Physician Assistant at The Hudson Med Spa in Englewood on all things sunny for you and the littles.
Make It Fun
Some kids may have a hard time standing there while you apply the sunscreen, so Whealan suggests turning this tedious task into an exciting one. Consider a sunscreen stick so kids can get in on the application action, while you help them fill in the gaps. "For younger kids, singing while applying sunscreen is a playful way to reinforce the habit," says Whealen. Other ways of making the process of applying sunscreen exciting include "using a 'FUNscreen' that incorporates colors and glitter," and Whealan specifically likes Bare Republic Neon Mineral Sunscreen Sticks or Sea Star Sparkle Sunscreen.
Do It, and Do It Right
Aside from experimenting with a FUNscreen for little ones, there are other ways to ensure your giving your child's skin the attention it deserves. While children younger than 6 months should avoid the sun altogether (think: shade and full-coverage clothes), older kids should be covered with a non-irritating, gentle SPF with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, according to Whealen. Make sure to apply it 15 minutes before heading outside, and reapply every 2 hours for optimal coverge. Travel-sized sunscreens are also a good option to stick in your child's camp or summer bag, or even to carry with you while you're on the go.
If you find yourself or your child in the position of recovering from a sunburn, there are steps to take to repair your skin. Whealen advises acting immediately. The first step she suggests is to give your child a cool bath or shower, or apply a cold washcloth to help calm the skin. "Sunburns tend to retain a lot of heat which can cause discomfort," says Whealen. After bathing, pat the skin dry and apply aloe vera or Aquaphor to damp skin to help retain moisture. Over the next few days as the skin is healing — and likely peeling — continue to moisturize and hydrate. "Pedialyte freezer pops are a great way to sneak in some extra water intake," says Whealen. Starting at 12, Whealen suggests a regular visit with a Dermatologist for a skin cancer check and general check-in.
Adult to Do List
Now that we have the kids covered, lets talk about YOU. You've likely had years of sun exposure under your belt, so how can you time travel to repair the damage? If you're looking at wrinkles, sun spots, an uneven complexion, loose skin, and more, invest in quality products. "Retinol helps combat wrinkles and improve complexion," says Whaelen. Other ingredients to look for are niacinimde (vitamin B3), which improve pigmentation changes, and hyaluronic acide, which restores volume and eslasticity to skin. Or, do yourself a favor a book a complimentary skin consult at the Hudson Med Spa to find the best treatment plan for your skincare needs.
Whealen's Top Skin Picks
Whealen name-dropped a number of skincare finds she gravitates to, and we'll let you in on her secret:
SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defence which is specifically formuated with active ingredients like vitamin B3 and mica to even and brighten skin tone.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic which has the highest concentration of vitamin C on the market (15 percent) to visibly brighten and smooth skin.
Skinceuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense which contains a subtle tint "and leaves my skin glowing and hydrated," says Whealen.