Join me as I discuss getting ready to enjoy the warmer and sunny months with skin protection for you little one. I will discuss Sunscreen, SPF clothing and good “Sun Tips” to have a safe outdoor season.
Hi, and welcome back to first breaths to first steps. I’m Bev Garrison. It’s been a little while since I put out a podcast, but I thought today as the weather is getting warmer, that I put out something on sun safety. Just as a background, I have been a pediatric physician assistant for 25 years. I have three kids and I reside in Denver, Colorado. We have over 300 days of sunshine here. We’re at higher elevation and definitely more risk for skin issues with sun.
So why is it so important to look at protecting our skin and our baby’s skin? Definitely sun can damage our skin, our eyes, suppress our immune system and even cause dreaded skin cancer. About one fourth of our lifetime sun occurs during childhood because we’re outside so much. I think it’s a super important topic for us to take into consideration, especially as the weather is getting warmer.
Baby skin is more delicate, has underdeveloped melanin, and so skin can burn more easily. Even dark complected babies can burn, so you want to make sure that we’re protecting all skin tones and types. Babies can’t tell if they’re getting too hot or burning and therefore. We rely on educated parents to keep sun protection in the forefront of their mind. Skin cancers are becoming more and more common in younger people. Some burns in childhood have been linked to higher risk of developing skin cancer later on in life.
There’s two types of rays that are harmful UVA and UVB. UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and cancer like melanoma. But these are the type of reasons that pass easily into our ozone layer and cause a majority of our sun exposure. UVB rays caused some burn cataracts. Contribute to skin cancer as well and adversely affect our immune system. Melanoma is thought to be associated with severe UVB burns before the age of 20.
How does sun affect our skin? The UV rays interact with melanin, a chemical found in our skin. Damage occurs when the exposure to UV rays is greater than what protection is offered and provided by our own melanin. What are some things that we need to think about as far as skin protection?
First thing is avoiding direct sun exposure. Up until the age of six months of age, not only because of their inability to control their temperature. But also for the risk of heat stroke. If it’s unavoidable, definitely use SPF and just make sure that they get a bath that day. Sunscreen when greater than six months of age on sunny and cloudy days is definitely recommended.
Reapplying every two hours while outside, sometimes down to one and a half hours is recommended. Or after swimming or excessive sweating. It’s worth knowing. Peek sunshine hours in your area. Typically, these are outlined as 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but may change depending on your location, as well as elevation. A good rule of thumb to go by is that if, when you’re outside, And the sun is shining your shadow is shorter than you. That’s the most intense time of the day and you should probably seek shade at that point in time with your baby.
What type of sunscreen should you use? Well, there are two tapes. The first type is mineral or sometimes called inorganic or physical. It sits on top of the skin tends to have a whitish. Type hue to it. And it’s difficult to rub in. That’s because it’s making a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. The second type of sunscreen is called chemical or organic sunscreen. It protects by absorbing the rays of the sun, like a sponge. It can take 20 to 30 minutes to activate and start working. So you want to make sure that you’re pre- planning to get your sunscreen on your baby.
Sunscreens come in many different forms, including creams, gels, sprays, and sticks. Creams are best for dry skin. Sticks or good to stay in place, especially at facial areas around the eyes. Gels are good for areas with hair like the scalp. Sprays are convenient and tend to be a very popular choice, but it can be difficult to know how much you’ve applied. Fumes can be inhaled by kids causing irritation in their lungs. And it can be flammable. In some of the dermatology literature it’s recommended to go over the skin with four passes if you’re using spray, which seems not cost-effective, you’re going to go through that can fairly quickly. And also just to make sure that you rub in the product after you spray. For solid coverage
I typically recommend whatever’s cheap. White and doesn’t have a scent. Preservative free avoiding PABA, which can cause the skin allergies and avoiding oxybenzone, which it may have a hormonal effects in kids is something to keep in mind.
SPF which stands for sun protector factor. I recommend at least an SPF of 30 or greater. And they’re really not sure if there’s added benefit to using anything that’s greater than 50 SPF. You want to make sure the sunscreen that you choose is quote unquote, broad spectrum protecting against UVA and UVB rays.
Think about applying one ounce. Throughout your whole body and face on exposed skin, children may use less, but most people don’t use enough. Remember to also consider using a lip balm with at least an SPS. 30 as well. If you’re using spray. It’s recommended to have four passes of that spray over the same area of skin and rub it in. If you’re using spray towards the face. Obviously not spraying, directly onto the face, spray on your hands and then apply to your child.
I mentioned before applying to expose skin, not forgetting ears, tops of feet, backs of hands, shoulders, and the neck. If you’re swimming or in water conditions. You want to aim to use something that’s labeled as water resistant. Sunscreen can no longer be called waterproof, but most of them, if they’re labeled water resistant, we’ll have protection for 40 to 80 minutes. So you should take that into consideration when re- applying.
The type of sunscreen that you are using should contain at least one of the following ingredients. Titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide. Or Avobenzone. Check the expiration date of sunscreen. If you’re not sure it should be thrown out. If you’ve had it for three years or longer. The best sunscreen at the end of the day is the one that you and your family will use every time.
A few good brands that I like to mention. First one is a Aveeno kids, continuous protection. It is a mineral type of. Sunscreen it’s hypoallergenic. And water resistant for 80 minutes. The second one is neutrogena sheer zinc, dry touch. It has a SPF of 50. It is a mineral based. Sunscreen. So it will leave kind of that white film has ink oxide in it, and it is hypoallergenic. The third that I think is a great option because it’s simple to put on is BOBob kids, SPF 30 mineral powder. It actually has powder at the bottom of the container and a brush that’s built in. So it’s super easy to apply. It is a mineral based sunscreen. There’s no smell. It’s translucent and not goopy. So if kids are sensitive to that feeling of sunscreen, Sometimes this is a nice option. The fourth type of sunscreen that I’d like to talk about is Neutrogena pure and free liquid. It is an SPF 50 and it’s really lightweight. It’s specifically made for the face. It’s non-comedogenic therefore it won’t. Claudia pores and cause pimples or acne. So if you’re worried about that for, older kids that’s a good option. Babyganics SPF 50 sunscreen lotion. It’s non-irritating it’s also a mineral type formula of sunscreen. And it has a seed oil blend to it that helps to nourish the skin. So especially if your skin is dry. That’s a good option for your baby. There are some other really creative products. Some that have sparkles in it. An example of that is Seastar sparkle, SPF 50. It looks pretty. It’s kind of fun. So sometimes it can be enticing for that child that’s hesitant about putting sunscreen on. Another one that I wanted to talk about is for older kids. So not necessarily babies, but those that are acne prone. There’s one that’s put out by proactive. It’s a daily oil control sunscreen, SPF 30, and that can sometimes be helpful, especially if you have skin in a teenager, that’s got that tendency to kind of break out. One of the other forms of sunscreen is when it comes in a stick. This is typically used a lot on the face because it stays in place. And it doesn’t tend to melt or get into the eyes. So one of those examples that I like is baby bum, mineral sunscreen. face stick. It is an SPF of 50 and it is fragrance-free.
The other option besides using some type of product on the skin is considering SPF clothing. Even if you’re not looking at. Material that specifically made with SPF protection, you should look at fabric with a tighter weave that will give some sort of coverage. But think about a hat. Something with a three inch brim. If, especially you have that child that doesn’t really want to put sunscreen on and especially their face or their sensitive. That hat can be helpful. Some of them will also come with a flap at the back. To help protect the neck. Sunglasses, at least with 99% UV protection, a hundred percent is even better. One day in the sun can cause burning to that clear coating ever your eye or the cornea and cause problems. The clothing can be one of the best forms of protection. It’s another alternative other than putting sunscreen on. And it’s less surface area that you have to cover as a parent. And so it’s kind of nice to eliminate some of that area. And making sure that you’re getting stuff on repeatedly by just wearing SPF clothing.
There’s no real difference between adults and screen and. Child labeled sunscreen. A lot of times the child label specific sunscreen typically tends to be hypoallergenic. Without dyes without scents. Just because their skin tends to be a little bit more sensitive.
What do you do if you do get a sunburn? Definitely. If your child is less than a year of age, it’s recommended that you call your healthcare provider pediatrician, physician assistant. If your child is older, but they’re complaining about pain. There’s blistering or child has a fever after some burn. Those are all good reasons to call the pediatrician. You want to avoid popping any sort of blisters. You want to keep that roof to the blister intact. Anytime you open blisters like that, it can increase the risk of infections. You want to make sure that you’re not. Trying to open those up. Soothing, those burns definitely increasing fluids. A hundred percent fruit juice can help to replace lost fluids, Pedialyte, or any sort of electrolytes type replacement can also help.
Cool water soaking baths not cold, but cool or wet compresses can help the skin feel better. If your infant gets a burn and they’re less than six months of age, you can give a cetaminophen and call your health care provider to get the proper dose. If your child is greater than six months, you could consider. Ibuprofen. To also help with that burn . I’d be Ibuprofen as nice because it is an anti-inflammatory. And after burns, there is inflammation. It can also help with fever. If there is a fever. You want to avoid the sun? If you’ve been burned until your skin is fully healed. You could also try some pure aloe Vera gel to the sunburned areas to help soothe. Moisturization cream. can help with itching. As well as soothing, you want to check with your pediatrician, but in kids over two years old, sometimes they will use 1% hydrocortisone, which is over the counter. That can help with itching. At the time when your skin is burned, you want to make sure that you’re avoiding petroleum based products because they don’t allow you to sweat and release heat. You want to make sure that you’re not locking that into their skin. Avoid first aid products with benzocaine. They can sometimes cause irritation or skin allergies.
So prevention wise, what are things that we can do that. will help us not be sunburned. First thing is be really well hydrated. Zero to six months. Babies don’t need any extra water, but they may need to breastfeed or bottle feed a little bit more frequently during the day.
Definitely sunscreen application, as we’ve talked about. Using a carrier or a stroller with wide sunshades so that you’re getting good coverage from the sun. Seeking shade when possible, especially those younger kids, less than six months. And avoiding that time of day when the rays of the sun or the strongest.
Again, typically quoted is 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but that may vary depending on where you live geographically. As well as what time of year it is. So double check that for your area. The other thing to think about is make sure any medications that your child is taking. Aren’t. A possible cause of sun sensitivity. Examples of that would be certainly antibiotics. Anti-inflammatories. Antifungal medication. Blood pressure medication and the older population, acne medication in our teenagers or chemotherapies. All of those can cause. Sun sensitivity and make your skin a little bit more vulnerable. Again, no sunscreen is a hundred percent UV protection. So if you’re on those medications, it may just be best to avoid intense sun.
In summary, no sunscreen. As I said before, gives you a hundred percent of UV radiation protection. Older children and adults should plan to use about one ounce of sunscreen for their entire body. In a sitting every one and a half to two hours. And remember if you were swimming. Or doing an activity where there’s a lot of sweating, you may want to apply more frequently. Consider protective clothing and limiting time. In the sun at the highest risk times of day. And SPF of at least 30 or greater .Again, we’re not sure if there’s any benefit for SPF greater than 50. There are sunscreen specifically for sensitive or delicate baby skin. So you can look at those. They tend to be more. Hyperallergenic and apply generously. Don’t be afraid. I think probably one of the biggest problems is we just don’t use enough.
Hopefully you found the information in this podcast. Helpful. If you’re interested in working with me. One-on-one to help you coach your baby from first breaths to first steps, you can contact me at BEVGARRISON.COM until next time 📍 be well.