How to Protect Your Child’s Skin This Summer

Keeping your child’s skin healthy and protected during the summer can be a difficult task. The sun is not a friend to your child, especially not in the summer months because overexposure can harm your skin. But the sun’s harsh UV rays can be particularly detrimental to your child’s extremely sensitive skin. With the help of a few precautionary measures, you can keep your child’s skin safe this summer.

Sun Protection Factor

You may better recognize the term “sun protection factor” as SPF. On each bottle of sunscreen, you will see the letters “SPF” followed by a number (i.e. 10, 15, 25, 30). SPF measures how well a sunscreen protects skin from UVB rays. UV rays are the invisible ultraviolet radiation rays produced by the sun; there are two types of UV rays that reach us on earth. Both UVA and UVB rays penetrate the ozone layer and the human skin. The difference between UVA and UVB rays is that UVA rays are weaker but pass deeper into the human skin than UVB rays do. Both types of UV rays cause sunburn, early skin aging, and skin cancers, such as melanoma.

UVB rays can cause sunburn, damage skin, and contribute to skin cancer. SPF only measures how well a sunscreen protects from UVB rays. It does not measure how well a sunscreen will protect from the other skin damaging rays.

Most dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 because it blocks approximately 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. The higher number SPFs only block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays so it is not worth spending the extra money. Keep in mind that no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays; however, SPF 30 remains your most effective tool for protecting your child’s skin this summer.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect from both UVA and UVB rays. So you may want to think about purchasing broad-spectrum sunscreens to use on your young children’s sensitive skin. According to Dermalogica, a website developed by The International Dermal Institute, only sunscreens that pass the FDA’s Broad Spectrum test (providing proportional protection against UVA and UVB rays) constitute as “Broad Spectrum.”

Dress Properly

While using sunscreen is a great way to prevent sunburn, you should dress your young children in hats and long sleeves, as well. Wearing a hat will protect your child’s face from sunburn while long sleeved water t-shirts at the beach will prevent sunburn.

Safe Summer Fun in the Sun

You should reapply sunscreen very often when out in the sun with your children. Sunburn mainly occurs because most people do not apply enough sunscreen. They typically only apply 1/4 to 1/2 as much sunscreen as they should be applying. Since children have sensitive skin, you need to protect with the right amount of sunscreen and apply it as often as possible. Don’t worry about blowing through your supply of sunscreen. When it comes to your children, you should always be safer than sorry.

In general, you should apply sunscreen every two hours, or according to the time on the label. But you will need to reapply sunscreen more often when swimming or sweating. Furthermore, don’t let a cloudy day fool you into skipping sunscreen application because UV rays can still penetrate the clouds and burn your child’s skin.

The best way for you to protect your child’s skin is to take them to an annual appointment with a trusted dermatologist. If you live in the North Jersey area, Short Hills Dermatology is here for you. Contact Short Hills Dermatology to schedule your child’s annual dermatology appointment today.

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