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Fun in the Sun

As the kids return to school, we hope many are still able to enjoy these last long summer days with trips to the pool and playing outside. As part of our summer wellness topics, we want to remind our patients of the importance of proper skin safety during all these hot, sunny days.

The importance of sunscreen is well established. We recommend routine use of sunscreen starting at age 6 months. Infant sunscreen is specifically formulated to be less irritating to their sensitive skin. Use under age 6 months is likely safe and could be discussed with our providers.

For our teens who are making their own choices, some reminders of why sunscreen is so important might help encourage its use. Skin damage from UVA and UVB rays is the primary contributor to both skin cancer development and the aging process of the skin. Appeal to your teen’s vanity that they will want the beautiful skin they have now when they are 40 or 50! The intense rays that come from tanning beds are particularly harmful. We at PAMPA certainly discourage all tanning bed use.

Individuals at increased risk of the sun’s damaging rays include: children under age 2 years, those with a family history of skin cancers, people with a large mole or dark birthmark (called a melanocytic nevus) and those with a fair complexion.

The array of choices in sunscreen can be overwhelming. Products with the newer ingredients, such as micronized titanium dioxide and avobenzone, do provide greater protection against UVA rays. But the general rule of thumb is use an adequate SPF of 30-50 that protects against UVA and UVB rays, apply it liberally, and reapply often. Sunscreens are much more effective when applied in a thick film and applied a half-hour before sun exposure giving time for the required reaction with your skin. And you need to reapply after swimming, sweating excessively, or every 2 hours – whichever happens first. The FDA has more detailed sunscreen information at the below link:

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm258416.htm

In the most intense sun of the day, generally from 10am-2pm, don’t forget to encourage your child to stay in the shade and wear sun protective clothing and a hat.

Some sun can certainly be good for us and helps our body make vitamin D. Luckily, vitamin D is also readily available in dairy products and other supplemented foods. Please speak to your provider if you have any concerns about your child’s intake of this important nutrient. Stay cool and happy summer from all of us at PAMPA!





© 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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