Hello, my name is Elizabeth. I’m 30 years old, and I still sunburn and freckle like an eighth grader who doesn’t know better…
Truth: I went through about six shirts in my closet this morning trying to find something that would hide the fact that I got totally fried at the lake yesterday because, frankly, it’s embarrassing to be a grown woman and look like a freckled lobster.
Truth: Ninety percent of the time, I am very careful about my skin (trust me, I know the dangers of sunburns), but the other 10% of the time, I’m just an idiot and think “maybe today will be the one day EVER that I actually get a ‘healthy glow’ instead of a full out burn, and besides, I’m wearing a cover-up, my make-up is SPF 30, and we’ll only be on the boat for a couple of hours…” Yea, yesterday was one of the 10%… Once again, this morning, I resigned myself to the fact that I will always be either a.) very pale or b.) spray tanned*. There is no in-between.
Truth: Jeff has basically the same skin as me (how else could he love a ghost with freckles), and so, naturally, we passed on these superb genes to our offspring. Poor Sam might be even paler than the two of us!!!
BUT, the good news is that, while I might not be the best at protecting myself from the sun, I’ve gotten pretty darn great at taking care of Sam… Now, at the start of our fourth summer with our fair-skinned man (I think “fair skinned” is the politically correct term for pale, right?), we’ve basically gotten sun protection for him down to an art; and, even better, the poor booger is so darn used to it that he barely even complains about all the layers, sunscreen, and dorky hats we make him wear. 😉
Perhaps you are the parent to a fair-skinned young-in too? If so, consider this your unofficial guide to keeping them sunburn and fancy free this summer…
STEP 1: Gather the essentials.
STEP 2: Apply sunscreen ALL the time. Teach them to do it. Make it “fun.”
Much to my dismay (because, seriously, is there anything worse than putting sunscreen on a squirmy toddler?), Sam needs sunscreen on just to walk from the house to the car… Thankfully, we don’t have to totally coat him every day, but we do make a habit out of putting a light layer on every morning when he gets dressed. (HUGE thanks to our babysitter for being the one who has to do this most of the time.) He has gotten so used to it, that he actually doesn’t mind at all now… He just stands there and lets us grease him up like a pig. 😉 We also really love stick sunscreen (like what’s pictured above) because it doesn’t make nearly as much of a mess, and he can even do a pretty decent job applying it himself. (He LOVES to do it.)
STEP 3: ALWAYS make them wear a hat.
People comment all the time about the fact that Sam wears a hat and doesn’t take it off/complain/etc. The truth is, he really doesn’t know any different. He didn’t get hair until he was two (no lie) so we HAD to cover him up when he was little. Now, we’ve just continued the trend, and he is completely used to it. When it isn’t super sunny/hot or we aren’t going to be outside for long, a baseball cap works well (we have two and he knows he always needs one to play outside), and the iSun hat (pictured above) is ALWAYS our top choice for summer days outside.
STEP 4: Still put sunscreen UNDER clothes, hats, etc. (even if they are SPF).
I don’t have any major experience with Sam getting burned through this clothes, but I always do this just to be safe… Really, you never know when the SPF of an item is going to “wear out,” or he’s going to fall asleep on the boat with his shirt pulled up… We even put sunscreen in his hair – which is, actually, his favorite part because he looks like such a “rockstar” – under his hat.
STEP 5: Don’t trust an umbrella.
Unfortunately, I do have experience with Sam getting burned while being under an umbrella. Believe it or not, most of them don’t really provide that much protection from the sun (the expensive ones do; but, even still, I wouldn’t risk it); and, at the beach, sun can actually reflect off the sand and burn you from the ground up!! An umbrella can’t hurt, but make sure you are following all of the other steps too!
BONUS: A few of my other summer (but un-sun related) favorites for Sam:
Well, that about does it! Anyone else have tips for fair skinned toddlers? A favorite product? Please share!
*Would anyone be interested in a post about spray tanning? It’s a little weird, but I am basically an expert. 😉