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Johns Hopkins Health - Protect Your Kids' Skin All Year

Fall 2012
Issue No. 18

Protect Your Kids' Skin All Year

Date: October 24, 2012

health-insights-skin

When the shorter, cooler days of fall and winter arrive, it’s easy to be chilled into a false sense of security and forget about protecting your children’s skin from the sun. “Most of us think about sun exposure when it’s hot outside,” says Katherine Püttgen, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, the only medical institution in Maryland with board-certified pediatric dermatologists. But, Püttgen adds, sunlight’s skin-damaging ultraviolet radiation is constant year-round.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, affects about 425 people younger than 20 each year in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. Girls are especially at risk, given that they are more likely to use tanning salons, which can emit ultraviolet radiation 10 to 15 times higher than that of natural sunlight.

Püttgen urges parents to be especially cautious with infants and toddlers, who receive more sun exposure per unit area than adults. To protect your kids’ skin, be vigilant throughout the year.

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater before going outdoors.
  • Avoid sun exposure during peak hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear sun protective clothing and hats.
  • Do not use tanning salons.
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