Sun Protection for Tender Young Skin

Amy Rees
August 13, 2008

It's a sign of progress, we think. 

The summertimes of our childhood were replete with evenings tending to that deep pink, almost purple of the terrible sunburns that we got on a regular basis.  Ouch.  The feeling of that stingingly tender skin is still all too vivid.  And the summertimes of our now are replete with regular application of sunscreen and annual dermatology screens to make sure nothing scary is growing out of those burns of yore.

But we endeavor vigilantly to protect our kiddos from our carelessly sunburned fate.  Kids these days think a sunburn is a scary imaginary thing like the monster that might live in the closet, and careful precautions are taken to avoid encounters with any such thing! 

It's maddeningly tough to make sense of all the sunblock labeling out there -- although a new system to update the old SPF numbering and the wildly varying claims out there now may be on the wayNew concerns about how sunscreen is used and what's in it are surfacing almost daily.  (Tons of questions are answered (and raised anew) here.) 

It seems, though, that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the best blockers out there, so we are devotees of our favorite sunscreen or this zinc oxide-based one (or both -- you can't have too many).

And of course the best way to block out the sun is to cover up, and the brilliant sun protective swimsuits, rash guards (both tops only and full sets), and swim shorts from DaRiMi Kidz and their SunBusters line are the best we know.  This line blocks out 99% of all harmful UV rays, provides a sun protection factor of 50+, is comfortable both wet and dry, and is tough, quick-drying and chlorine-resistant. 

Slathering sunscreen on everybody in the family, putting yourself under a wide-brimmed hat and covering up as much as you can sets the best example.  Sunscreen, like all things, doesn't work so well in the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach, alas. 

And remember this advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Keep babies younger than six months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, umbrella, or the stroller canopy.
  • For kids older than six months, use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet, and hands and even the backs of the knees. Rub it in well.
  • Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going outdoors. It needs time to absorb into the skin.
  • Use sunscreen any time you or your child might sunburn. Remember that you can get sunburn even on cloudy days. Also, UV rays can bounce back from water, sand, snow, and concrete so make sure you're protected.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Sunscreen wears off after swimming, sweating, or just from soaking into the skin.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    good tips

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    California Baby makes a stick for faces, it really is easier to use than trying to blot from your hand.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    Don't forget the sunglasses. Our pediatrician said it's also important to protect little eyes from the sun.

    over a year ago


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