What patients and families need to know
Tips for Keeping Your Child's Skin Healthy in the Summer
Friday, June 16, 2017
Now that school is out and summer is here, your children are likely to spend a lot more time outdoors. However, with more time outdoors comes more time in the sun, and studies show a correlation between childhood sun exposure and the risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. Here are some tips to keep your kids (and yourself) safe from harmful UV rays:
- Wear protective clothing like lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, wide brimmed hats and sunglasses to provide an extra sun blocking layer
- Avoid midday sun exposure
- Reapply sunscreen every one or two hours and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating
- Apply sunscreen even when it’s cloudy
- Don’t forget the ears and back of the neck
What Sunscreen Should I Buy?
There are many choices when it comes to buying the best type of sunscreen. We recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which will protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens that contain titanium and zinc oxide only are a good choice for young children or children with sensitive skin.
Many people prefer to use spray sunscreen because it’s quicker and easier to apply to a squirming child. While it’s effective, it only works where sprayed and can actually be harmful if inhaled. If you choose to use a spray sunscreen it’s best to:
- Spray it while outdoors
- Avoid spraying the face
- Apply it to your hands and rub it on
When Can Babies Wear Sunscreen?
Babies older than 6 months should be wearing sunscreen. We understand it’s impossible to keep your child indoors for the first 6 months, so if you go outside, make sure he or she is in the shade, under an umbrella or stroller canopy and wearing clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Also, remember that babies don’t sweat like an adult, so always make sure they are hydrated.
Once your child is a teenager, it’s much harder to dictate how they protect themselves from the sun, so start to shield them as early in life as possible.
About the Expert
Interim Chief, Dermatology
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