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Sun Safety

Summer is a fun time of the year for the whole family. Kids, teens, and adults enjoy spending many hours doing outdoor activities. It is important to instill in your kids the importance of sun safety precautions in order to protect their skin from sun damage both in the short and long term. Remember that sun safety is important year round, not only in the summer.

Some sun exposure is good for all of us. It provides us the vitamin D needed to absorb calcium and increase bone strength. However, overexposure to sunlight puts us at risk for sun damage. Sunlight is composed of both UVA and UVB rays. One can be exposed to UV rays even on cool, cloudy, and overcast days. UVA rays make up the majority of our sun exposure. UVA rays contribute to skin aging, wrinkling, and skin cancer. UVB rays cause sunburns, cataracts, and skin cancer. No matter your skin type and color, it is important to use sunscreen to protect your skin from overexposure to UV rays. Tanning in any amount causes skin damage. Tanning beds use both UVA and UVB rays and should be avoided.

Follow these recommendations to minimize sun damage:

  • Use sunscreen that is broad spectrum. This will protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • For kids age 6 months and older use a SPF of at least 30. Apply liberally all over the body at least 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure, allowing for the sunscreen to properly absorb into the skin. Remember to reapply at least every 2 hours while outdoors. You may have to reapply earlier if you have been swimming or sweating excessively. If you have sensitive skin, try a sunscreen with titanium dioxide.
  • For babies less than 6 months of age, try to minimize time spent outdoors during the peak sun times of 10am-4pm. If you have to take them outdoors, keep them covered in lightweight clothing with a tight weave. Try to keep them under shade like a stroller canopy or umbrella. For babies over 2 months to less than 6 months of age, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 can be applied sparingly to exposed areas like the face and back of their hands. Since their skin is more sensitive, do a test patch on their inner wrist prior to use on other areas. Wash off the sunscreen once you bring them indoors.
  • Wear hats with a brim to protect your face
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses that have UV protection.
  • Minimize time spent outdoors during the peak sun hours of 10am to 4pm.
  • Check if medications you are taking might make you more vulnerable to getting sunburned. Certain antibiotics and acne medicines can make one’s skin more vulnerable to sun damage.
  • If you get sunburned, you can apply cool compresses and aloe vera to the skin to alleviate discomfort. Avoid further sun exposure until your skin has healed. We at PAMPA all hope you and your family have a wonderful, safe, and healthy summer!

Written on behalf of PAMPA
by Dr. Turlapaty





© 2011 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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