Rainbow Pediatrics
Fayetteville Office
1327 Robeson St.
Fayetteville, NC 28305
(910) 486-5437
Fayetteville Office
341 S. McPherson Church Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28303
(910) 920-4428
Hope Mills Office
4469 S. Main St.
Hope Mills, NC 28348
(910) 426-5430
Raeford Office
142 Paraclete Dr.
Raeford, NC 28376
(910) 904-0404

Put Sunscreen on Your Kids, But Choose the Sunscreen Wisely

As parents, we always want to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. One of the most important ways to protect our kids from the sun’s harmful effects is using sunscreen. Sunscreen helps protect the skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer. However, not all sunscreens are as safe as you may think.  

Sunscreen Dangers and How to Choose Sunscreen for Your Child

When choosing a safe sunscreen for children, it is vital to look for products containing minimal chemicals. Sunscreens containing natural minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered the safest options for kids. These ingredients sit on top of the skin and reflect the sun’s rays, providing broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. These natural minerals are less likely to cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, making them suitable for children with sensitive skin.

Some sunscreens contain chemicals that can harm children’s skin and health and can harm the environment. Oxybenzone and octinoxate have been shown to cause skin allergies and hormonal disruptions, and they have also been found to be toxic to coral reefs. These chemicals can damage coral reefs by disrupting the growth and development of coral and other marine life. When we swim in the ocean with sunscreen containing these chemicals, they can wash off and harm marine life. Choosing a sunscreen with minimal chemicals or natural ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is better for kids and the environment. You can also look for the Reed Safe label on the bottle. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) annually publishes its safest sunscreens based on many criteria. Here is the 2024 list of top-rated baby and kid sunscreens. If possible, choose sunscreens that are on this list. Some are hard to find in local stores, so you may need to order a specific brand online, but it is well worth the effort. 

How to Safely Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is only effective if it is applied correctly and repeatedly. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours or more frequently if your child is swimming or sweating. Cover all exposed skin, including the face, ears, and neck. Remember to apply sunscreen to the tops of the feet and hands. Get your kids to wear a hat to protect the top of their heads when in the sun. Many older adults get cancer on the tops of their heads because they didn’t protect it from the sun, and we want to help your child avoid this. 

Sunscreen is essential to protect our children’s skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Get your kids in the habit of wearing sunscreen and educate them on the harmful effects of the sun. Teaching kids when they are young is much easier than teaching them when they are teens who want to look tan. And if you have a teen, make sure they know that a tan is a sign of skin damage and will impact how they look as adults. Many teens want beautiful skin. Help them realize that what they do today impacts their skin tomorrow. Knowing that getting a tan at 15 will affect the number of wrinkles they have at 40 is an essential lesson for everyone. If you have questions about sunscreen or notice any suspicious moles or spots on your child, schedule an appointment with their pediatric provider.