Sunscreen a must for everyone exposed to rays

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - Summer time means a trip to the pool or beach, but fun in the sun can have consequences on tender skin.

Little ones with smart parents already know this and take precautions.

"Before we put our swimsuits on, we actually put on a 70 cream," said Hannah Ostrowski, mother to 21-month-old Emery. "And then when she gets her swimsuit on and before we get in the water we always put a spray over her as well."

Leslie Tielking is also a concerned mom who keeps her brood slathered in sun block.

"I put the Coppertone baby sunscreen every 30 minutes (…) It works great: none of them are sunburned."

Dr. Melissa Young-King said sunscreen is a must.

"The sunscreen to give to them could be anywhere from 15 to 30 SPF and that doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive brand is the best brand," said Young-King. "Actually consumer reports has shown that the best brands actually come from Walgreens and Target."

A little research indicated that anything above SPF 30 has no real added benefit, but does contain more chemicals if it isn't a "physical" sun block. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of the sun's rays and 60 blocks 98 percent.

So what about dark skin? Do dark skinned people not need sun protection?

"That's a myth and a fallacy, the ethnic background of a person or their skin tone - olive tone or greater - does not matter," said Young-King. "The EPA shows that any exposure can be detrimental to any skin tone color."

She said every skin color can have sun related maladies. If your child is active look for "waterproof" or "water resistant" on the label. Also, look for physical blockers like "zinc oxide" and "titanium dioxide".

Most pediatricians do not recommend sun block for babies under 6 months of age because they maintain children this young should not be out in the full sun.

The bottom line as it pertains to sunscreen, reapply and reapply often.

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