Time to revisit sun protection for the entire family

Emily Perschbacher
Chicago Tribune

As adults and kids gear up for beach vacations, outdoor play and dining alfresco, it’s a good time to revisit sun protection for the whole family.

The Skin Cancer Foundation, on its website, recommends nine simple ways to protect your skin, including using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day and seeking shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In addition to these standard sun-safety guidelines, Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist based in New York, offers a few of her own skin care tips.

Sunscreen for everyone

Fairer skin may burn more easily, but a July 2016 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that skin cancer is deadlier in people of color, in part because of late-stage diagnoses.

“People say that they have natural sunscreen because of their pigment,” Jaliman said. “They do have more ‘sunscreen,’ but they still need more.”

She recommends people of color also apply sunscreen daily and ask for a mole and skin check from their doctors, even if it’s not offered.

Sun-protective clothing

“Sun-protective clothing is fabulous because you don’t have to keep reapplying it,” Jaliman said.

Benefits include no greasy lotions, and it provides an easy way to protect your skin without having to think too much about it.

“There are some products you can use on your regular clothing too,” she added. “Sunguard makes something that adds protection to your regular clothing, and it’s good for a certain amount of washes.”

Zinc-based sunscreen

Parents of young children may worry about applying sunscreens filled with chemicals to their children’s skin. Jaliman suggests looking for a sunscreen that uses a high concentration of zinc oxide instead of harmful chemicals.

“Zinc is what they use in diaper rash creams, so we know it’s safe,” Jaliman said.

She recommends Elta MD UV Pure. “I wouldn’t use chemical sunscreens on kids. I even use zinc myself,” she said.

Protective makeup

While spending the day outside in a beach city or relaxing poolside or on a boat, ladies might not think to reapply sunscreen over their already-done makeup. But Jaliman says: “If you’re sweating, you need to reapply every two hours.”

She suggests a product like Color Science’s Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen that offers UVA/UVB protection and acts as a finishing powder alone or over makeup.