Protecting your children from the harmful rays of the sun should be a top priority this summer. One of the ways to prevent sunburns and the potential for developing skin cancer is applying sunscreen. According to Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, MD, a Kansas City dermatologist, “Regardless of age, always choose a sunscreen that’s broad-spectrum, meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF 30 at minimum.” And if your children will be participating in water activities, it is important to look for a sunscreen that is water-resistant. However, make sure you reapply regularly for the best results.

According to dermatologists, the best type of sunscreen is mineral based formulas. “I prefer zinc oxide-based products, as unlike chemicals, they block out the full UV spectrum,” says Kenneth Mark, MD, a dermatologist and Mohs skin cancer surgeon in New York City.  Additionally, spray sunscreens aren’t recommended due to the difficulty in regulating the amount applied.

The importance of applying and reapplying sunscreen whenever your children are exposed to the sun cannot be overstated. “Other steps you should take to keep your kids sun-safe are avoiding taking them out during peak UV hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and putting them in protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses when they are outside, says Hadley King, MD.”

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