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Sunscreen FAQ with Dr. Zoey Glick

By Buffalo Medical Group | July 15 2020 | Doctor Tips

We are experiencing the hottest WNY summer in more than 30 years — sunscreen usage is more important than ever

By Zoey Glick, MD
Adult & Pediatric Dermatologist

Why is sunscreen usage even more important for children? 

One of the first things I learned as a medical student, intern, and resident is that children are not little adults. Children have a larger body surface area compared to adults, a developing skin barrier until age one and are more likely to get dehydrated and sunburned than adults.

How often should we be reapplying sunscreen? 

As we continue to enjoy this beautiful summer, it is our job as dermatologists, parents and community members to encourage safe sun activity. I recommend my patients to use a physical blocker sunscreen (titanium and zinc based sunscreen) to all exposed areas of the skin when outside and to reapply every two hours (or more frequently if in the water). Spray sunscreens are notorious for uneven coverage.

What ingredients should I be looking for when purchasing sunscreen? 

The FDA has mandated that sunscreen have a label on the back that states what the active ingredients are in the product. In addition, the label will also tell you the length of water resistance provided by the product. The American Academy of Pediatrics has approved titanium and zinc sunscreens for use on children age six months and up. However, I tell parents that if they need to use sunscreen on limited areas that can’t be covered by shade, clothing or hats then a small amount of titanium and zinc sunscreen can be used on younger babies.

Is simply wearing sunscreen enough? 

It is always most effective in sun defense to consistently wear sunscreen, but it is also very important to wear hats and to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm. In addition, there is clothing now that has Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).  UPF clothing has sunscreen built in and this is a great way to keep kids and adults from getting sunburned without having to reapply sunscreen. Be sure to look on the clothing label.

What if I get severe sunburn?

Although we try to be as conscious as possible to avoid getting a sunburn, if you of your family member gets a severe sunburn please do not hesitate to seek medical attention. We are available to assist in any way possible to allow patients to enjoy these upcoming months as safely as possible.

Questions?

If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Glick, please call 716-656-4456. She sees adult and pediatric patients at the Orchard Park location of Buffalo Medical Group.