How to Protect Kids and Teens From the Sun

May 16, 2017

With the temperatures warming and the end of school nearing, outdoor activities will be plentiful. Many of our staff members have children, so we thought we’d do a quick poll to see how they protect their young children’s delicate skin — and how they get teenagers to actually wear sunscreen!

Here’s a list of skin sun protection tips and tricks, from our staff to your home.

  • Keep sunscreen in the ice chest, and when you get a drink, re-apply. As an added bonus, the cool sunscreen feels great on a hot day!
  • Carry a breathable throw to add more shade to the stroller, especially for toddlers’ legs. Our physician assistant Eryn McIntyre loves this one from Sunny Sleevez, made of lightweight ‘swimsuit’ material.
  • Powdered sunscreen is quick and easy to put on little kids, and great for teenage girls who can apply over makeup. Plus it’s lightweight, so it’s easy to keep in your purse for re-application on the go. We like the Colorscience brand.
  • We make a big deal out of picking sun hats with our kids each summer. The more we talk up wearing one when we are going to be out on the lake or near the water, the more excited the kids are to wear it — and keep it on!
  • For water play or windy situations, we found that hats made for surfing have great neoprene straps and ear protection. We haven’t found a great kids version, but the ones for adults fit our five-year-old just fine. The DaKine hat is a good example.
  • You can pack your child’s sunscreen in her backpack at school with instructions for her teachers to apply when she goes outside to the playground.
  • For teenage daughters, offer good quality self-tanning lotion — or even a spray tan! — for those events, like prom, when they feel they need a tan to feel beautiful and confident.
  • Invest in cool, long-sleeved beach coverups, cute wraps and rash-guard suits for the beach. Our Honolulu family tells us that only silly mainlanders wear bikinis. Native islanders wear swimsuits with coverage! Coolibar is a great source.
  • Purchase multiple sunscreens, allowing each child or teenager to pick out the kind they like so that they’re happy to use it. You can try gel for teenage boys, lightweight for teenage girls, chemical-free for sensitive skin, colored sunscreen sticks for younger kids to apply on their own, and so on. As long as it’s broad spectrum and SPF 30+, the best sunscreen is the one that they’ll actually use!

This summer, help your whole family maintain healthy skin for life. And if you have any great family skin protection tips that we missed, let us know in the comments!

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