Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Skin Care Tips for Kids

The folks at have some great tips for taking care of kids in the summer heat and I thought I'd share them with you...

#1 Sun Protection
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 (I personally go for 30 or more for the kids when they are going to be outside for any extended period of time).

You should look for products that provide "broad spectrum" coverage to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

To be most effective, you should use this sunscreen routine with your child--daily application 30 minutes before going outside and reapplication every 2 hours (or sooner if swimming, toweling off, or sweating).

Creating a routine will establish good habits for the future. For even more protection, don't forget a wide brim hat, sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection, and sun protective clothing (Tater refuses to swim without his swim shirt, which is rated with SPF 50 - not that he knows that, but still a good habit!)

#2 Hydration
In my personal experience, kids never notice they are thirsty until they are offered a drink. So, during the hot days of summer, offer drinks on a frequent basis. Give them a water bottle to keep outside (Sprout just got a contraption that allows a water bottle to hang around her neck, like a lanyard, which she thinks is very cool).

Remind them to take drinks on a regular basis and make sure to take breaks in the shade (or the A/C!) We also try to avoid being outside too much during peak sun exposure hours (10AM-2PM). Popsicles and ice pops are also excellent, slightly sneaky ways to get some liquids into busy kids!

#3 Soothe Irritated Skin:
Summer fun is also a minefield of potential skin irritants. From overexposure to the sun (see #1!), chlorinated pools, the salty and grubby ocean, insect bites (poor Sprout is a smorgasboard for mosquitos, apparently the sweetest-tasting child in Pennsylvania!), and those scary nasties poison ivy, oak and sumac.

One of the best ways to minimize the impact of these is to make sure to bathe the kids every evening. In the winter, I have recommended against too-frequent bathing to preserve skin's natural moisture in the dry air. In summer, the opposite is true. Daily bathing is necessary to get all of the sunscreen, dirt, chemicals, etc off. Soothe skin after bath with a nice light lotion (Stuff for Sprouts' Lotion for Crunchy Kids in Beach is especially summery!)

If an allergic reaction does occurs, ask the pediatrician about an oral antihistamine and/or a topical skin care product such as a steroid cream or calamine. If the rash is extensive, looks infected, or is not getting better, call your doctor right away.

So, be careful out there and have fun. I can't believe June is almost over. The summer is just flying by!

You can also check over at for more great health tips for kids!

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