Feature Archive

Summer Skin Care for Kids

Dark-colored, protective clothing, followed by sun blocks and sunscreens, are the best ways to protect your kids from sunburn.

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson

The sun's rays are risky for all of us, above all for infants, toddlers, children, and teens. Early exposure to too much sun and childhood sunburns can lead to skin cancer over time. By protecting your child's skin, especially in the summer, you can help prevent sunburn -- and greatly cut skin cancer risk later on.

In sunny Miami, where it's summertime most of the time, the sun lovers' safety rules are critical, says Elizabeth Alvarez Connelly, MD, professor of dermatology and pediatrics at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

She and her 1-year-old daughter put in lots of beach time. "I was so proud ? before she turned 6 months, she wore her hat at the beach ? the perfect dermatologist's daughter," Connelly tells WebMD. "Then at about 6 months, she learned how to take it off!"

That's risky, because sunburn is risky. Too much of the sun's ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays burn the skin, which over time can lead to basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer. Severe sunburn in a child younger than age 18 raises the risk of melanoma later in life. Sunburns can also age the skin over time, bringing on wrinkles, liver spots, and white splotches.