Peds Derm Corner- Sunscreen (May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month!) May 1, 2017 By Ana Peds Derm Corner- Sunscreen Each month, Dr Swanson posts information about a common pediatric dermatology issue to educate patients and parents. This month, the topic is sunscreen. What sunscreens are the best? Sunscreens can continue several different ingredients to provide protection against the sun. These ingredients are divided into two general categories: chemical sunscreens and physical blockers. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed by the skin and alter the skin to make it less susceptible to sunburn. Physical blockers include Zinc and Titanium and they function by staying on the surface of the skin and reflecting the damaging sun rays. Physical blocking sunscreens with Zinc and Titanium tend to be safer and cause less potential irritation. They also tend to be more effective. Therefore, almost any sunscreen product that uses zinc and/or titanium is usually a good product. The brands that I recommend most include Neutrogena Sensitive Skin (also goes by Neutrogena Pure Baby), COTZ Total Block, Blue Lizard, Elta MD, and Vanicream. COTZ Total Block and Blue Lizard can be difficult to find in stores, but can be ordered online. Elta MD has a line of several sunscreens that we sell in the office. How often should I reapply sunscreen? For best results, we recommend reapplying every two hours. We also recommend applying more frequently after swimming, toweling off, or sweating. There is no sunscreen that is completely waterproof so reapplying is important. What else can I do besides sunscreen? Hats and sun protective clothing can be used and the options for these things have grown substantially over the years. I recommend the following websites for hats and sun protective clothing: www.coolibar.com www.solumbra.com www.sundayafternoons.com If you have any other questions regarding sunscreen and how it is affecting your child, please schedule an appointment with Dr Swanson, our pediatric dermatologist. What is a pediatric dermatologist? A pediatric dermatologist is someone that has undergone extensive training to deal with the specific skin conditions and issues that affect children. Pediatric dermatologists have typically completed medical school, a general dermatology residency, and a pediatric dermatology fellowship. While all dermatologists receive some experience dealing with children with skin problems, a pediatric dermatologist has chosen to subspecialize and receive more extensive education and training with the pediatric population.