A Southern California Mom’s Guide to Sunscreen: Why It’s Important To Prioritize Yourself


The clouds have parted and the sun is out again. We may not be able to hit the beaches like we normally would, but that doesn’t mean we are spending all of our time indoors. As moms, we spend so much time and energy protecting our kids from the sun, but what about us? Like with most things in motherhood, we give and give until there is not much left for us (sound familiar?). But when it comes to sun protection, there are a few important reasons why we should prioritize ourselves!

Skin Cancer

It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime (source: American Academy of Dermatology). It’s well-known that unprotected sun exposure can lead to various forms of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Living in Southern California, we have more exposure to the sun than other areas of the world—so it’s important that we be mindful of this. 

So, in general, who is most at risk of developing skin cancer?

  • Anyone who has had natural or artificial exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation, including the use of tanning beds under age 45
  • History of blistering sunburns as a child or young adolescent
  • Fair-skinned individuals, and/or those with red or blond hair
  • Personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Persons with greater than 50 moles

It is recommended that you see a dermatology provider or your primary care provider for annual skin checks. These may be recommended more frequently based on your individual history. Please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

One of the best things you can do to prevent skin cancer is to utilize sunscreen and other sun protection measures such as clothing, hats, sunglasses, and shelter from the sun. 

Note: this infographic is not meant to replace assessment and diagnosis of hyperpigmented areas; please consult a healthcare provider if you have a spot you are concerned about. 


Scary stuff aside, the sun has some other undesirable effects as well. Sun exposure can lead to accelerated photo-aging. Signs of photoaging include:

  • Wrinkles
  • Dark spots
  • Loose Skin
  • Spider Veins

While it may be too late for us to prevent all of these from happening completely, an easy way to help prevent future signs of photo-aging is to make sure to use sunscreen. Some research shows that the regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen can reverse signs of photo-aging. Build this into your daily skincare routine by using a moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater. This should be used in addition to any makeup with SPF. 

Setting A Good Example For The Kids

Additionally, modeling safe sun should be a parenting priority. We are raising our kids in one of the most beautiful areas of the world! And while there are so many things we need to be mindful of as parents, it’s especially important for us in San Diego that we raise them to be good stewards of the sun as well. If children grow up knowing that sunscreen and sun protection is a necessary part of the daily routine, they will be more likely to carry that forward with them. The importance will further be driven home if they see Mom and/or Dad making it a priority to use sunscreen and other sun protection measures. Consider letting the kids be a part of the sunscreen application process. Sunscreen sprays or sticks can help! Just make sure to apply completely. 

Sunscreen Recommendations:

  1. San Diego-based COOLA® Suncare has many great options for organic and mineral sunscreens.
  2. Sun Bum, which has an office in Encinitas, also has a great line of sunscreen for the whole family. 
  3. Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel Lotion SPF 50
  4. Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 30


American Academy of Dermatology skin cancer stats


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