HOUSTON – A pediatric from Texas Children's Hospital explained the top mistakes dermatologists say parents make when applying sunscreen to their kids.
SKIN DAMAGE STARTS IN CHILDHOOD
Dr. Megan Craddock said the majority of sun exposure over our lifetime is during childhood. So sun damage can start now and lay dormant until later in life no matter if you have dark skin that tans or fair, sensitive skin.
"Unfortunately, it just builds up and follows us as we get older," Craddock said.
WHAT GETS NEGLECTED
Hair part - use spray sunscreen to get the scalp.
"I feel like kids really have cute sandals on and maybe they have some shorts and they'll do the legs but people don't really do the top part of the feet," Craddock said.
REAPPLY MORE OFTEN WHEN SWIMMING/SWEATING
The general rule is to reapply sunscreen every two hours but Craddock said it needs to be more frequently if you're swimming -- whether or not it's a waterproof SPF.
"If you're swimming or... sweating a lot, you might even need to reapply every 40 to 80 minutes," she said.
LET KIDS CHOOSE THE SUNSCREEN
Since it can be a battle to get any SPF on some kids, Craddock said the trick is to find one they like. She said a stick or spray is fine if they can't stand creams. Remember to apply these more frequently and use protective clothing.
"Wide brim hats and things like that can also be nice things to do in addition to sunscreen," she said.
HIGHER SPF PROVIDING FALSE SENSE OF SAFETY?
Craddock said to use an SPF between 30-50. She said there's no proof anything higher will give you any more benefit. In fact, she worries it gives a false sense of safety.
APPLY SUNSCREEN BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
It's best to apply before you leave the house since you want sunscreen to dry 15-20 minutes before you're outside.
Also, sprays are recommended for application indoors so it doesn't blow away in the wind.