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. 😉
Yes on the spray tanning post! I was doing some shopping online last night thought to myself, “Did E ever do a post on summer clothes?” I thought that because you always find cute things at places like Old Navy and Target while I never seem to 🙂 I despise shopping with 2 kids under 3 but online shopping is almost just as bad! Too many choices and its gets overwhelming. A nice round up of things your loving would be fun!
Ok. I have one more week of school and then I’m totally in summer mode! I will definitely do a favorite summer items post AND one on spray tanning – I’ve had A LOT of good (and bad) spray tans, so I feel like I’m qualified to share a little about that! 🙂 I totally agree about online shopping being overwhelming!!
Nikki Miller says
We were on a boat this weekend as well. We went with Babyganics lotion for the first layer and the spray and stick for reapplication. I am also a HUGE fan of hats and chaff shirts.
I also put sunglasses on the girls. I like this brand… http://www.babiators.com/
I might have to try layering the two sunscreens as well. We also have the Babyganics lotion which works well too! Sam has Baby Gap sunglasses, but I’m totally going to look into biators. Adorable!
This fair-skinned gal would love a post on spray tans. I’m always looking for ways to get some color. I need sunscreen all the time – my friends tease me, but I was the only one who didn’t get burned when we sat on a restaurant’s patio for a few hours on Saturday. 🙂
We have that same hat, but in pink! I love it, and my daughter will sometimes leave it on 🙂 I’m fair-skinned, and so is DD, and I am super concerned about her getting burned. We’ve been pretty luckily so far, I usually use a long sleeved rash guard and hat, but sometimes she rips her hat off and I have to make sure to really put a lot of sunscreen in her hair so her scalp doesn’t get burned. Shockingly, she loves sunscreen—she thinks it’s lotion and she LOVES getting massages, so we let her think that 🙂
Yes to the spray tan advice and I like the summer clothes picks too!
Amanda K. says
I have pretty dark skin, but David is really fair. It’s been a culture shock for me! (Though, I just came around to the sunscreen club because of all the skin damage.)
Thanks for the tips — especially because, like you I have to deal with the bald head! (Even though David is getting more hair, his hair is so light I still worry about burns.)
This year he’s had two skin reactions to sunscreen. Just a rash, but still. I plan to ask his doctor about it, but from Googling I see that it’s pretty common. Just another hurdle to keeping toddler skin safe I suppose.