As the days get longer, we start heading outside for more entertainment and leisure activities under the warmth of the summer sun! To protect your skin, it’s common knowledge to apply sunscreen to your exposed areas. For older children and adults, it seems simple, but pediatric skin problems occur more frequently than one may think. That means we need to be extra careful with sunscreen application—especially with our kiddos!
What are the risks of unprotected sun exposure?
There are many risks (both common and uncommon) associated with prolonged and unprotected sun exposure:
- Suntans – An injury to the top layer of your skin.
- Sunburns – Too much sun exposure could lead to red, hot-to-touch skin.
- First Degree Burn – Only effects the outer layer of skin
- Second Degree Burn – Blisters could form and risk for infection increases
- Freckles – Monitor freckles for unexpected changes in shape/size or bleeding/itching.
- Skin Cancer – If there’s any suspicion of odd-looking moles or spots, see a doctor immediately.
What is the best way to protect my child from the sun?
Avoiding the sun entirely during the summer season is virtually impossible, but here’s a few tips to keeping yourself protected:
- Stay Inside. Avoid going out into the sun during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Lather Up! Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
- Get Shady. Wear hats, sunglasses, and clothes that cover up your exposed skin.
- Say No. Do not partake in tanning beds or sunlamp usage as it causes long-term damage.
How do I know if I chose the right sunscreen?
It’s important to introduce sunscreen to children as early as 6 months old. When you’re looking to purchase sunscreen for the family, double check that your selection has all of the following:
- First thing – make sure the bottle isn’t expired
- Look for “broad-spectrum protection” that protects against UVA and UVB rays
- Don’t be fooled by “water resistant” or “waterproof” labels
- No sunscreen is completely water or sweat proof, so it’s always safer to reapply every 2 hours (or more frequently if partaking in water activities)
- Choose a sunscreen with a protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 spf
Where else can I learn about how to best protect my child from sun damage?
To learn more about pediatric skin care and sun damage prevention, schedule your appointment today with Courtney Elliott, CPNP-PC who specializes in pediatric services!