Sun Safety

  • Early sun protection is crucial; 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs by age 18.
  • Starting early will hopefully ingrain this as a positive behavior like car seat and seatbelt use.
  • Effective protection includes: sunscreen use; avoiding mid-day sun (10AM-4PM).
  • The ABC's of Melanoma

Seeking Shade and Using Sun-protective Clothing

  • Routine use of sunscreen in childhood may reduce lifetime risk of non-melanoma skin cancer by 80%.
  • Physical sun blocks( zinc oxide and titanium oxide ) effectively block both UVA and UVB radiation with minimal risk of irritation of sensitive skin and no risk of allergic reactions.
  • UVA and UVB wavelengths of light are both responsible for skin damage, premature aging and skin cancer risk.
  • Chemical sunscreens filter out UV light in UVA and UVB wavelengths:
    • Benzophenones (oxybenzone, sulisobenzone)-UVB and some UVA protection.
    • PABA (aminobenzoic acid, padimate P, glycerylPABA)-UVB protection.
    • Methoxycinnamate-UVB protection.
    • Avobenzone (parsol 1789)-UVB and significant UVA protection.
  • It is recommended to use a sunscreen product that provides both UVA AND UVB protection.
  • Allergic reactions are can be due to PABA, benzophenones and cinnamates; irritation and allergic reactions are more commonly due to the vehicle in which the sunscreen is suspended.
  • SPF (sun protection factor) refers to the amount of UVB protection, not UVA. SPF of 15-30 is recommended.
  • Apply sunscreen LIBERALLY for 30 minutes before going outside and re-apply every hour or two after swimming, perspiring or toweling off. Be sure to cover exposed areas of scalp, ears, tops of feet and neck.
  • For infants less than 6 months old, the use of shade, protective clothing, car window screens and zinc oxide sun block are the first line of defense. There is no evidence that sunscreens are harmful for infants, but their thin and delicate skin makes for the possibility of irritation and absorption of sun screen components.