With the hot weather and long days, everyone is spending more time outdoors in the sun. Protecting your child’s skin from harmful UV rays is an important way to maintain their skin health for years to come! Wearing clothes to protect your skin from the sun is one of the great ways to decrease skin damage; this method is especially helpful in young children. The AAP recommends wearing clothes specifically formulated with lightweight sun protection factor (SPF) or ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). If this type of clothing isn’t available, lightweight clothing with tightly woven fabric is helpful as well. Wearing a hat with a large brim can help protect the sensitive skin of the face from sun damage, and sunglasses with 99% UV protection may protect the eyes. Sun protection is needed throughout daylight hours, but UV exposure is usually highest between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm; during this time it is especially important to cover up, seek shade, and wear sunscreen!
When selecting sunscreen options, the AAP recommends a sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as ingredients. When spending time outdoors, sunscreen should be applied generously and often; reapply every couple of hours and after swimming to provide consistent protection. In young babies and toddlers, a stick sunscreen may be easier and less messy to apply, while in older children and teenagers, a cream or lotion works very well. Creams or lotions are preferable to spray-on sunscreen, but if a spray is chosen be careful not to allow children or babies to inhale the spray. Overall, any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, so apply what you have and go have fun. And remember, sunscreen is an important part of protection and prevention for all skin tones!
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (June 23, 2022). What’s the best way to protect kids’ skin from sunburn? https://www.healthychildren.org/English/tips-tools/ask-the-pediatrician/Pages/whats-the-best-way-to-protect-kids-skin-from-sunburn.aspx