By now, you’re probably aware of the dangers of being out in the sun without proper protection. The immediate consequence of not protecting your skin is sunburn. In the long term, unprotected sun exposure can lead to sun spots (aka age spots) or worse – melanoma (skin cancer).
Being a Florida mom, I’m very concerned about protecting my kids from skin damage since we’re exposed to the sun year round. (Hello? It ain’t called the Sunshine State for nothing!) Over the years, I’ve researched this topic pretty well. But, until yesterday, I never really knew what to do if my kids did get sunburned.
Yes, I let my guard down.
In case you didn’t know, I’m the mom rigorously applying sunblock in the winter and on cloudy days. As I said, I’ve done my research and, as a result, I always apply sunscreen when our family is going to be outdoors for longer than a few minutes. My husband always rolls his eyes about it (I guess he didn’t grow up that way).
So when the UV index read 4 out of 10 yesterday, and it was mostly cloudy with chances of rain, I only applied the minimum – on the back of the neck, tops of shoulders, nose, cheeks, areas that the sun would hit hardest. Plus, we only had a short time to spend at the beach and I didn’t want to waste 30 minutes applying sunscreen to everybody. For my toddler, however, I applied sunscreen everywhere, but I missed her back and chest. My oldest son didn’t get any sunscreen. Nope, I followed none of my normal procedures and…
…we all got burnt as a result (just 1st degree, thank God).
Nice job, mom, I thought. Seems I forgot to take into account the fact that sand and water reflect the sun, probably doubling or tripling our exposure. Oops. I guess it had been a long time since we’d been to the beach.
Having never dealt with this before, I wondered what I needed to know about caring for my kids burnt skin. I knew that once the skin had already been damaged from the sun, it couldn’t be reversed. However, here’s what I didn’t know and discovered during my research.
Keep them hydrated.
Your skin needs water to keep you healthy. When you’re sunburned and your skin is dry, it makes you more vulnerable to germs and other contaminants that can enter your body. One of the best ways to rehydrate your skin is through drinking plenty of water. My youngest rarely accepts anything to drink accept milk, but after a few hours in the sun, she drank down several ounces of water very, very fast. Even she knew she needed it!
Apply water based lotions.
The bottle of aloe lotion I had said not to apply on children under 2 years old, so I had to come up with another solution for her. I figured hydrating her skin was essential and thought that baby oil would do the trick. Well, it turns out that baby oil should never be used on sunburned skin because it could actually aggravate the condition more! The best type of lotion to use is one that is water based and you’ll know if it is when you read the ingredient label: water should be the first ingredient.
Stay out of the sun until the sunburn heals.
Your skin can no longer protect itself from the sun’s harmful rays until it’s fully healed. By keeping out of the sun, you’ll speed up your skins healing. Thankfully, my family’s sunburns were very mind and most of the pink patches of skin were no longer pink the following morning. However, it can take several days for even mild burns to heal. If your kids must be exposed to some sun during the healing process, be sure to apply sunscreen (stay tuned for an upcoming post about choosing the right sunscreen) and reapply every 2 hours or as directed on the label.
For more great information about how to treat sunburns, I encourage you to visit SunburnTreatmentHQ.com.
What are some ways that you’ve treated your kids sunburned skin?