Baby Your Skin – Sun-Safe Tips for Kids of All Ages

Andrea M. Dominey, M.D., FAAD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Everyone loves summer! Warm weather, longer days, and plenty of fun in the sun. Part of having a safe summer is protecting yourself and the ones you love from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. 

Protecting Skin From Ultraviolet Rays Can Help Reduce the Risk of Developing Skin Cancer

Why bother? Well, let’s face it, not only is a sunburn painful, but, one or more blistering sunburns has been estimated to increase the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by fifty percent. Current lifetime risk of melanoma in Caucasians is 1 in 38 and melanoma is one of the leading causes of cancer and cancer death in young adults. Regular use of sunscreen with SPF 15+ can reduce melanoma by fifty percent.

How To Protect Children’s Skin While Enjoying the Outdoors

For infants younger than six months old the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends seeking shade and protecting their skin by dressing them in sun-protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats. Sunscreen use is also recommended in conjunction with shade, clothing, and hats for children over the age of six months. Older children should also wear sunglasses to minimize sun damage to the eyes.

If possible, play in the shade instead of direct sunlight and play before 10am or after 4pm to avoid the times of day when sun rays are the strongest. Wear ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rated swim shirts or rash guards. Appropriate use of sunscreen includes generous application. For an adult use 1 tablespoon for the face and 1oz for the body. Frequent application is important and should be done at least every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Avoid use of sprays as it is difficult to assure adequate application and children may accidentally inhale the product. Talk to your teens about tanning. There is no such thing as a safe tan. The best strategy for a tanned appearance is to use a self tanning product.

Consistent Use Of a Good Sunscreen Is Essential

With so many brands of sunscreen on the market it can be difficult to choose. We usually recommend the use of chemical free sunscreens that are also called physical sunblocks. They are made from zinc oxide or zinc oxide in combination with titanium dioxide. Some examples include Aveeno® Baby Continuous Protection® Sensitive Skin Lotion SPF50, Badger® Baby Mineral Sunscreen Cream SPF30, Blue Lizard® Australian Baby Sunscreen SPF30+, Neutrogena® Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen SPF50, and Tom’s of Maine® Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF30. Additionally, it is wise to also use a lip balm with SPF. Some examples  are Vanicream™ Lip Protectant/Sunscreen, Kiss My Face® Lip Balm SPF30, EOS® Sunscreen Lip Balm, Badger® Clear Zinc Lip Balm Sunscreen, and Beautycounter Protect Lip Balm

And for all of you adults out there, making sure the kids are protected, don’t forget to protect your own skin as well. We have a variety of options from trusted medical-grade brands like EltaMD® and SkinCeuticals® available for purchase at our locations. Feel free to browse our selection at the Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery Online Store and pick up your order on your next visit. 

So grab your hats, UPF-rated clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, umbrellas, and enjoy some fun in the sun with the kids! 

Dr. Dominey sees patients for Medical Dermatology at our Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Valley locations. Visit us online to request an appointment or call us at 509.456.7414.