Subscribe to receive exclusive news, workouts, giveaways and more!

Sunscreen 101

Time and time again research proves that sunscreen is an important line of defense for skin health, especially when it comes to skin cancer prevention. In fact, a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine also confirmed what we dermatologists already know: Sunscreen is the best anti-aging cream. These are just a couple reasons why sun protection is important when you're trying to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

For some women, increased estrogen levels can cause skin discoloration (like melasma), especially after sun exposure. Wearing sunscreen regularly can help minimize such increased pigmentation. So when you're pregnant choose a sunscreen that suits your skin type but avoid an active ingredient called oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a potential concern for everyone, not just pregnant women. Research has suggested that it may be an endocrine disruptor, which means it can result in hormonal effects or changes in the body.

Since there are so many sunscreen choices, it's very easy to find a safe and effective option without oxybenzone. When it comes to sun protection for babies and children, I always say children should make sunscreen application a part of their everyday routine, like brushing their teeth. My kids know they have to wear sunscreen everyday and since we've developed that habit, sunscreen application gets easier every time. As I dermatologist I see the negative affects of sun damage daily. One blistering sunburn during childhood greatly increases melanoma risk, and early sun damage can also lead to premature aging and other forms of skin cancer. So what should you apply on your kids? For babies and children, especially those with delicate or sensitive skin, I recommend a SPF 30 mineral (chemical-free) sunscreen with active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide because they have a lower incidence of allergic reactions and are less irritating to the skin. These ingredients are also safe and provide broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

That said, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under six months should stay out of the sun and not use sunscreen because the FDA has not approved sunscreen ingredient use on infants. But as a dermatologist who lives in sunny Southern California, I often recommend using a chemical-free sunscreen when sun avoidance is impossible. When my girls were infants and I knew they would be exposed to the sun, I would use Dr. Robin's All Natural Chemical Free sunscreen on them because my feeling is, it's better to be protected than risk sunburn.

When choosing a sunscreen for your children, read the label and look for sun protection that has as few ingredients as possible. Many products contain all sorts of unnecessary inactive ingredients, like plant extracts, essential oils, perfumes, fragrances, and preservatives like parabens -- all of which can be irritating to babies and children who naturally have delicate and sensitive skin. While many parents find sprays convenient, I generally suggest avoiding them especially for very small children due to the inhalation concern and therefore, increased systemic absorption. Remember, the key to sun safety and summer fun is to stay protected. So when it comes to sunscreen, at Dr. Robin we always say: don't be

Add your comments