Sunblock and Sunscreen Lotions

Archived Responses: 

Sunscreen that doesn't have that ''sunscreen'' smell

June 2006

Another recommendation I would appreciate is a good sunscreen that doesn't feel so greasy and does not have that ''sunscreen'' smell. She hates putting it on and it makes her face looks so oily. She also has ecezema so her skin is super sensitive and dry, so I also would love recommendations for any lotions as well. She is currently using Aveno Baby for ecezema but I would like to find an all over body lotion that can be used on her face as well.

As far as suncscreens go, my whole family uses the Neutrogena Dry Touch line. It dries to a very matte finish and you can't tell you're wearing suncreen at all. I use it on my face every day, in fact. For our kids, we sometimes use those stick suncreens made by Banana Boat and Coppertone. They can be a bit greasy, but it is very easy for them to do themselves, which they often prefer to mom or dad poking at their faces. my son has had bouts of eczema. He has had good luck with Aquaphor. I have never had to use it on his fact, though. Our doctor told us to be sure to apply immediately after bathing, even when he isn't having an outbreak, because it creates a good protective barrier for the skin. I don't know if you have addressed dietary issues, but cutting back the dairy and wheat made a big difference for my son in his eczema. Just another idea anon
Our daughter also has eczema. She's been using Eucerin lotion. We apply it all over her body including her face right after her bath. Also reapply it on her face in the morning or everytime we wash her face. She uses Avon bug guard sunblock gentle breeze. It doesn't smell like most sunblock. They have another scent called cool'n fabulous but we haven't tried that yet. a mother of 2
hello, we have been really happy with banana boat kids and regular sun lotions. they have up to spf 50 and aren't greasy feeling and most importantly, are fragrance free. we spend a lot of time waterside and love the stuff. target tends to have great prices on banana boat products burn and fragrance free
I use Eco Lani suncrenn in that it is non-toxic, chemical free, natural ingredients. I just can't bear to lather the stuff on my kid where I can't pronounce the ingredients! But it does have titanium dioxide which, although recommended in any good suncreen, is, as my kid says, ''yucky.'' I also have sensitive/exema prone skin and it doensn't irritate. I also use for myself and child cetaphil soap and lotion (you can get it at any drug store) which is fragrance-free and mild. good luck

Sunscreen for seriously rashy baby

June 2006

My 10 month old is very rashy and every sunscreen I've tried so far is a no-go. I've read what's on the website, and I've tried Banana Boat and also California Baby. I'm sure there's one out there that will work, but they're so expensive, I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on tubes of things I'll never use. What works for a very rashy baby, other than a hat and an umbrella? Jill

For KineSys sunscreen try they have tons of other great stuff and just opened a local showroom at the Kaiser center. they can consult with you over the phone as well- extremely knowledgable about everything they sell and more. kriz

Sunscreen that wont make my baby look like Casper?

May 2006

Im looking for a baby suncreen that works well and provides excellent protection but isnt the consistency and thickness of cream cheese. We are currently using earth's best organics brand but he looks crazy! clearly, protection is more important than aethetics, so please dont send a million emails emphasizing the importance of sunscreen. Im just wondering if there are any other brands that are less thick that work for your kid.

I used Banana Boat successfully with my kids when they were babies and it didn't seem too thick. kathryn
A wonderful chemical free and non-toxic sunscreen that is safe for children and adults is Ecolani Sunscreen. It is a great lotion! You can buy it at Berkeley Natural Grocery and Elephant Pharmacy. Her products were featured in the Berkeley Voice a few weeks ago. You can also purchase them online at an Ecolani fan
Try Kiehl's children's sunscreen. I think you can get it at Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus (but the price is reasonable) the Kiehl's store (in S.F.?), or online. It goes on very nicely Kiehl's fan
I use three of my favorite sunscreens for my whole family. My children love the Waterbabies Sunscreen (from Target) for the body & when we go to the pool for our bodies. And they use a Solar Defender from Spa de Esperanza for their face daily. It starts out white and turns to clear real quick. Plus it doesn't sting their eyes like waterbabies does. My husband and myself use Jan Marini SPF which we also purchase from Spa de Esperanza. That one smells good and doesn't make my skin shinny like most do. I go to Target in Albany (they have specials on waterbabies sunscreen) and Spa de Esperanza on Solano across from barneys and Lola's to get Solar Defender and Jan Marini Daily Face Protectant. Good Luck
I tried all of the pricey, ''organic'' baby sunscreens- California Baby, Mustela, etc. They were greasy, sticky, white, got in my baby's eyes when he rubbed his face. I don't like the spray-on suncreens either; really greasy, so he would look like a sugar- coated doughnut after playing in the sand at the park. Now I just use the REI brand 30 spf waterproof sunscreen that our family uses- no scent, no grease, no white, and it has really protected him! He has fair coloring, sensitive eczema-prone skin, and it has never bothered his skin. You can buy the sunscreens over 30 spf, but it doesn't matter after that number- they all protect the same as long as you reapply them often and after swimming. Give it a try! No more greasy gummy sunblock
I use Alba Botanic kids sunscreen on my son. It has the blocking ingredient(s) but rubs in well and doesn't make him look ghostly.

Sunscreen/bug repellent --sensitive skin

April 2006

My brown-skinned son is going on a camping trip soon. He also has sensitive skin that is prone to excema so I usually avoid products with scent and go for hypoallergenic/sensitive skin formulations. I have not been able to find a suitable sunscreen product for him. I need a spray because if you have dark skin you know that the creams tend to leave you with really noticeable layer of white gunk that can be embarassing to a kid. Also, I need to find a sensitive formulation in a bug- repellent. Preferably this would be a non-scented spray as well Is there such a thing that won't absolutely break my budget?? Thanks! sharlene

A couple of years ago I bought an Avon suncsreen and insect repellent all in one product. It was a cream, but did not leave any white streaks. They might make a spray. One of my kids used it at camp and it was really effective. Jan
Hi. I'm not sure if this would work for your child or not, but Lands End has children's clothing that is bug repellant. They also have clothing with SPF40 or so. Where your childs skin is so sensitive, this might be a nice alternative to a cream or spray. You can check them out online at Their stuff is a little pricey, but the quality is great. Spend our summers in Maine

No-tears sunscreen?

August 2005

I'm looking for a sunscreen I can put on my child's face that won't make her eyes burn...eventhough I don't put sunscreen on the back of her hands or near her eyes, it somehow gets in her eyes and causes her a great deal of distress. She always wears a sunhat but her little face still gets burned without sunscreen. cseely

I had the same problem with my son and sunscreen, and the solution for me was to change the application process, with the Coppertone Water Babies sunblock stick. We call it The Pink Stick, and it's easy to apply to squirmy kids' faces (my guy is now two), and seems to stay put once it's applied. I've found it at Target. Good Luck Donna
Try Alba sunscreen. They make one for kids. You can find them at longs or berkeley bowl. Their sunscreen is really great. Not sticky, and very absorbant. Feels more like a nice hand cream than a sunscreen, but is super protective, too. fair-skinned mama
On our very fair kids, we have used, with success, the Mustela sunscreen stick that you can get at Rockridge Kids, Cotton & Co. and many other places -- but NOT the California Baby brand, which is too sticky and easily broken. It's expensive, but it's zinc- or titanium-based, so not so smelly, it's tinted so you don't look quite so ghastly pale when it's on, and it doesn't sting the eyes. Mustela also make another lotion sunscreen product, which we use on arms and necks and so on. Wendy
I use a sunscreen stick on my daughter's face and it does not seem to bother her as much as the lotions do. There are a couple of good ones but the one I have is Hawaiian Tropic in a yellow tube. Bekki
We've had much success using the stick type sunscreen. There's a few brands--Banana Boat Faces Plus is what we use now. It looks like the size of a glue stick. My girls willingly apply this to their faces and I have kept them sunburn free since. We had a bad case of sunburn when one of my girls was a baby so I am especially careful now. My other daughter had a bad reaction to sunscreen applied to her face at one time. She has had no problem with the ''stick'' since it doesn't smear into the eyes, goes on dry. Kathy
We've been using Little Forest Baby Sunscreen just about every day for the last four years and it's never gotten in my kids' eyes. It's really thick and doesn't run. I chose it because the active ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide - which form a physical sunblock vs. the chemical sunscreens.

It smells good, too!

You can find it at ABC Diaper Service on Second in Berkeley. Best to call first for availability. Shirley

Avoid all sun blocks that contain these active ingredients:

Octylmethoxy Cinnamate, Octly Salicylate, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Octisalate, Avobenzone

These chemicals are very irritating to the eyes and also taste absolutely terrible if they get into your child's mouth. Instead use sun blocks with these active ingredients only:

Tatanium Oxide or Zinc Oxide

The inactive ingredients may vary. Some of these sun blocks will say ''chemical- free'' on them, or they may say for ''sensitive skin'' on them. You still need to READ the ingredients list carefully. I've come across sun blocks that say they are for sensitive skin but still contain some of those harsh chemicals. Sometimes even the inert ingredients can irritate some childrens eyes or skin.

My favorite is probably the most expensive, but if you only use it on your child's face, it will last a long time

It is called Dr Haushka's sun block for children. All the ingredients are natural and chemical-free. The best thing about it is that it is also very water resistant and doesn't wash off right away. No silicon derivatives are in it! Just plant based oils. it costs around $20 a bottle which is high, but it is the best I've found. California Baby also makes a good chemical-free block cost is around $15 Another good brand is Alba Botanica ''Sun'' - look for the ''chemical-free'' one.

You can buy Dr. Haushka, California Baby, and Alba Botanica at Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley and at Pharmica in Berkeley on Solano ave. Also Whole Foods may carry some of those, or Natural Grocery in El Cerrito, or any other health food market or natural pharmacy.

If you want regular brand names that you can get at places like Longs, try Neutrogena. They make a chemical-free block as well. I heard that Banana Boat also started making a ''chemical-free'' block, but I never tried that one. All of these more popular brands tend to have way more synthetic chemicals in their inert ingredients. But if that is not a concern of yours then I would just buy the one that is most convenient. Just remember - The active ingredient should only read: Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide, or both. Laurey

Sunscreen for 6-month-old's senstive skin

June 2005

Does anyone have any recommendations for sunscreen for a 6 month old with sensitive skin? I tried California Baby and her poor little face got all red and blotchy (but not her arms and legs, oddly enough). Thanks! Peri

My 3 year old son also has very sensitive skin, with severe eczema and a ton of allergies. We use Banana Boat's Baby Magic sunscreen on him (recommended in a Parenting magazine article) and he's never had any problems. On the rare times when we've used another brand, we've noticed he gets a rash, so now make sure we carry his sunscreen everywhere we go. anon
I too tried the expensive, natural California Baby sunscreen and was disappointed. My son also got blotchy red skin where it had been exposed to sun and a little sweat, plus, the sunscreen stayed greasy on his skin. The best sunscreen I have ever found after trying many, many brands when I was doing lots of cycling in the hot summer sun is the REI Bonding Base Sunblock. You can only buy it at REI. It is in a white bottle with green lid and little sun on the front. It blocks both UVA and UVB, is waterproof and is PABA and fragrance free. It absorbs right in, isn't greasy or sticky, and lasts a very long time. Although it does not have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that experts recommend, I have never been burnt while using it in extreme conditions. I tried it on my son as a last resort, and it has worked so well! He has very sensitive skin (the Dr. calls it ''rose-petal'' skin) and mild excema and we are always battling dryness with him. But this is the only sunscreen that did not irritate his skin anywhere. There is another sunscreen that I am going to try this summer that has been used all over the world for decades but is still not approved in this country (?)and studies have found it to be twice as protective as any of our sunscreens. You can buy it over the internet for about $10 for 4 oz. The ingredient is called Mexoryl SX or Mexoryl XL and some brand names are Anthelios XL and Capital Soleil- I think at least 1 is made by L'Oreal. The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter (6/05) recommended them due to the fact that mexoryl does not break down in sun, and is very mild and non-irritating, and is twice as effective as anything else. Love the Sun, not the Burn
Since you said her arms and legs were fine, I think her face may simply be more sensitive, as is very common (I have no trouble with sunscreen on any part of my body, but my face feels like it's on fire if I put sunscreen on it).

A second issue with a baby or toddler is that they tend to touch and rub their faces a lot, and my kids would invariably end up screaming, with sunscreen in their eyes.

Since they were little, we've depended on sunhats. There are many out there that are great (Flaphappy, and similar, cheaper ones are available at Target), and ones with strings to tie or strong velcro are best for the little ones who pull hats off Hannah's on Solano often has a good selection of ''gently used'' ones. Happy sunning! HR

Concerned about the safety of sunblocks

May 2005

Last week during a play date, a friend looked at the list of ingredients in the sunblock I was applying to my 2 year old son and said, ''oh, I don't think you're supposed to use that.'' The sunblock's active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Padimate O, and a quick Google search confirmed that Padimate O may indeed be carcinogenic. But that same Google search seemed to imply that every active ingredient in sunblocks might be harmful in one way or another -- even zinc oxide. So I'm curious to hear how other parents have weighed the risks and benefits of different products. I checked the web site, but didn't see any information on this issue. Is there actually a safe sunscreen? What will you be putting on your kids this summer, and why? Unscreened

I will be looking forward to the responses you get on this post as I too am very concerned about what goes on my child's skin. I have done some research on this, and it seems that you definitely don't want to have a sunscreen with any bug repellant mixed in like DEET. Unfortunately, there is no natural sunscreen so the best advice I could find was to go with the most effective ''active ingredients'' which are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and/or parsol. With the idea being, the benifits outweigh the risks. Because that does not sit comfotably with me, I try to put my child in protective clothing that won't be too hot like light weight long sleeve shirts, cotton pants and sunhats and only put the sunscreen on her face and neck thereby minimizing exposure (to the sunscreen!). When that is not possible, just common sense like trying to be in the shade and not staying out too long. I also get my child's sunscreen at Whole Foods - I have found it to be the most ''natural'' Thanks for bringing up this important topic - looking forward to the other contributions. venus
I posted about this exact issue almost a year ago and couldn't find any product that was proven safe and effective. I'm not sure that anyone has done the requisite studies, but a woman in my moms group offered this piece of her advice from her pediatrician - there are thousands of reported cases of skin cancer every year caused by excessive sun exposure, but there has yet to be a single reported case caused by sunblock. So I err on the side of organic, herbal-based sunblock specifically formulated for young children (we use Aubrey Organics Green Tea SP25, but I'm sure there are lots of other good choices). Good luck! Jean C
Wide-brimmed hat (unremovable by child, via velcro, tie-on, etc), wet suit to cover most of the parts, and no sunscreen. anon
I use the highest SPF ''kids'' sunblock I can find (though I have heard that 30 is adequate and 45 isn't really better than 30). The benefits of slathering my kids (3, 5 & 5 mo.) with strong sunscreen will outweigh the risks, in my opinion. My kids' uncle has already had melanoma, in his 40's, and my husband has had a ''suspicious'' mole removed.

We're not taking any chances with the sun, which I think can be deadlier than anything found in commercial sunscreens. My infant has been wearing sunscreen since it's been warm enough to, and I would have done it sooner (from 3 months on) if the weather had been warmer...JMHO Sunproofin' Mom of 3

If you are using an opaque white diaper rash cream, you are probably already using zinc oxide on your child. It is possible to find sunblock with a ''mechanical'' rather than ''chemical'' blocking agent at a really upscale or natural type drugstore, but it is shockingly expensive.

FYI the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose recommendations I consider even if I don't always agree or follow them, recently changed its position to OK sunblock for kids under 1 year. David

i just found this information on sunscreens, from ''the green guide'' ( which i think gives really great information on all kinds of issues) : they also have interesting things to say about the new sunscreen ingredient from europe (not yet approved here) as well as titanium dioxide. Laura
In response to the poster who asked about the safety of common ingredients in sunblock, I found the following article very informative about titanium dioxide:

I've also noticed that the EU has much stricter consumer product testing, so you might consider going with brands that are made for that market. -wary too

Sunscreen for Adult Sensitive Skin

May 2005

My skin seems to be becoming more sensitive as I age. Recenltly, I've started breaking out in a rash when I wear sunscreen on my face. This is not good, as I am very fair and need protection from the sun. Can anyone recommend a sunscreen for mature adult skin? shy one

We just finished designing the web site for this company, and I have to say, I think he is selling a great product. I'm not just saying this because he was a client, but because I got to know a lot about his products while developing the site. The company owner started SolarSavvy Gear after his own experience with skin cancer, so he really knows what he's talking about. You can get information about his sunscreen product (100% natural, no dangerous chemicals) here: Rachel
I also have sensitive fair skin and have been very happy with Eucherin Sensitive SPF 30. I have only found it at, but it's the only one that hasn't made me break out. Jennie
I really like Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen available at the Elephant Pharmacy (among other places). Dr. Hauschka is expensive compared to standard brands (~$25) but my skin is sensitive so it's worth it to me. A little also seems to go a long way. I get the SPF 20 Sunscreen cream that is water resistant because it has both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for broad protection and have been using it on my face almost daily. Elephant Pharmacy gave me a sample to try so I could make sure I didn't get a reaction. Dr. Hauschka also makes an SPF 15 with just the titanium dioxide (and one for kids) which I haven't tried. If you search google for ''Dr Hauschka'' you can find their website with other information about the company and the ingredients of the product. I'd recommend asking for a sample from Elephant and trying them it before you buy. This saved me from buying another product that made me itch. Kris
Try Oil of Olay ''Complete.'' It's SPF 15, non-greasy. I use it every day. I also use it on my toddler. The special children's sunscreen from Walgreens made her eyes sting. JM
My skin condition has worsened as an adult as well, in large part due to food allergies that have appeared in the last couple of years. I have found that the the Coopertone Water Babies and the Neutrogena sun block work okay for me, although they initially sting for a few minutes when I put them on. anonymous
My dermatologist recommends SolBar sun screen, which I buy online at since it's not easy to find in stores. It's very gentle & causes no problems for me or either of my daughters. Sensitive Too

Non-irritating sunscreen for daughter

Jan 2005

My family just returned from a week in Cabo and although it was a delightful time, my daughter's skin is a mess. She is red and scaly all over - not from the sun but from the sunscreen. Does anyone have a recommendation for sunscreen that is very waterproof, a high SPF and really, really hypoallergenic. I have tried all of the supermarket/drugstore brands for children and babies and all of them irritate her. Lisa

I suggest that you try the Neutrogena line of sunscreens. They are non-irritating and contain parsol, which my doctor recommends. There is a ''dry'' version that is not oily or sticky, which my children prefer. Lori
I like the brand Aubrey fom the health food stores or Elephant Pharmacy. Many but not all from the ''natural'' brands are much gentler, particularly if you get one of the brands made in Europe where the standards are much stricter about which chemicals are acceptable for human use (I can't remember the name but there's an expensive German brand that is very non- allergenic also at Elephant.)

Also, I have read that SPFs above 15 SPF have many, many times more chemicals that irritate the skin and do not in fact last much longer than the 15 so it is really best to use 15 and re- apply more often. Chris

I like the products made by Pharmaceutical Specialities, Inc. They have the cleanest personal care products that I have been able to find. Here is the web address:
Try SolBar sunscreen. Our dermatologist recommended it for my daughter who has very sensitive skin. You can't usually find it in stores, but you can order it on the web. We prefer the cream rather than the liquid. Melinda

Using sunblock on mixed race kids

June 2004

My children are half caucasian and half african american. I am desparate to know if it is recommended that children of mixed race use sun block. My white family is sure that my kids need it. My husband insists that god gave them melonan (sp?) to protect them from burning. They don't burn in the sun just get a dark tan. But I don't want to be the cause of them developing skin cancer or sun damage. Any advice would be appreciated.

yes, you should use sunblock, i use sunblock. ignore dad and block out the UV rays that cause melanoma. mom
I have a multi-racial family and my neice who is half African American use sunblock but she saysn it's just to not get any darker. she suns to the shade she likes and then uses sunblock. can she get sunburned? I think yes but it takes a lot more sun - like when we used to spend weeks river running in utah when I was little. the risk of skin cancer is quite small for dark-skinned people but as with any thing in medicine, there are no absolutes.
My mixed race sister-in-law who didn't use sunscreen and grew up in Santa Cruz had a basal cell cancer on her face in her 30s. I'd say use sunscreen. cautious
There are some important differences between blacks and whites, but skin cancer does not discriminate.

I am a mixed race kid and yes, you need to use sunblock. It is true that the risk of skin cancer is somewhat lower (similarly, fair-skinned whites have a higher risk than olive-skinned whites), because of the increased melanin, but we are not immune. Please protect your beautiful babies' skin.

Here is a real difference (and it comes with one piece of unsolicited advice): Hair. If you have a girl (and you are white), please please get some instruction on how to comb the child's hair (try Denise at Ringlets Salon on Broadway in Oakland). Mixed race hair is not white hair. Generally speaking, it cannot be washed every day. It must be conditioned more heavily. It must be combed in most cases (with a wide-tooth comb), not brushed (which can break the curly cuticle and make your kid look like Don King). And you cannot let it go, even for a day like you can with the more smooth cuticle of white hair. If you've grown up with it, you get it. If you're new to the black hair thing, there's no shame in getting some help. This is true even if you want to a) keep the hair in a natural state, or b) dread the hair. Believe me, your daughter's hair will be healthier, she will be spared relentless teasing and you will be spared tremendous frustration, if you learn from the beginning how to care for black hair. tsan

My son is half Jewish, half (East) Indian. We totally use sunblock on him and I slather it on in the sun too. My dad (I'm the Indian one) is very dark and he burns easily in the sun. It's not that darker people can't burn, it just takes longer or it doesn't necessarily turn red. Our pediatrician recommended Water Babies, which we used on our 3-month old when we went out to the pool on our recent vacation to San Diego. Baby was fine and we felt better knowing we were protecting him. The pediatrician also recommended shady areas and a hat (hats are keys, especially for dark-haired people). So, use sunblock. At the very least, how does it hurt??
You sould use sunscreen but only on their ears, face, and back (possiby neck) as these are the most sensitive places. Children of african american decent still can get skin cancer. Karen
Absolutely use sunscreen! Melanin does not protect you from developing melanoma. Even Bob Marley had melanoma...and he later died from cancer. Black skin can also burn, so protect your kids.
Your children absolutely, definitely MUST be protected from the sun. It is a myth that African-Americans don't have to wear sunscreen -- we get melanoma/skin cancer just like Caucasians and, in fact, are more likely to die from melanoma when we get it. Additionally, going out in the sun without protection causes prematuring aging of the skin. I am biracial (black/white) and wear sunscreen every single day. When I am out in the sun exercising, I wear a hat. Here are a couple of websites that address this issue:
or just enter ''African-American'' and ''sun protection'' in your browser and you will find lots of information on this topic. haven't tanned since the 80's
Absolutely use sunblock!! I am not biracial but am a light skinned African American. Thinking that ''black folks don't burn'', when I was fifteen, I sat out in the sun all day at the beach (had never burned before - notice I said BEFORE!). I woke up the next morning with a completely swollen face - sun poisoning! Ever since, I have learned to be careful and use sunblock (and it seems since I had sun poisoning my entire body is much more likely to sunburn). It is true that many African Americans DON'T use sunblock (and many don't seem to burn), but I wouldn't risk it - especially if your child is rather light skinned. Karen H.
Hi! I am a mixed race kid all grown up and never had sunscreen as a kid and so far so good. Of course, in this day and age everyone should use it. My kids are 1/4 dark and I use SPF 30 on them. For myself though, I find that too strong and use SPF 15. They say that sun is stronger than ever..... HL
I believe there are 2 types of damage from the sun. UV A rays cause Aging; and UV B rays cause a Burn. Your children may not burn, but they still need protection from UV A. Be sure to read the label on the sunscreen, that it contains the chemicals that protect from both types of UV light jewel
My children are also mixed, I am Black and my husband is very fair skinned with blue eyes and burns easily (melanin- challenged). I always put sun block on my children, especially when we go to Hawaii or if they are spending a lot of time in the sun. I often use it myself. I know black people who burn in the sun very easily so they carry sun block with them everywhere. It is a reasonable precaution. Tora
Of course a call to your pediatrician would clear up your question in about 2 minutes and be more reliable than a personal opinion like mine, but I believe the story is that EVERYONE needs sunblock, no matter the color of the skin. I just recently read something about it again (there are always articles in various parenting magazines every springtime) saying that whether you burn first or not, a tan is simply evidence of sun damage, and that even dark skinned people ''burn,'' even if it doesn't look red like on fair skinned people. It may or may not be true that the rates of skin cancer are lower among darker skinned people, I don't know the statistics, but I would not take the risk of increasing your kids chance of developing skin cancer (or other related problems) later in their lives by ignoring this relatively easy protection now. sunblock believer
I used to work at the American Cancer Society and we had an annual campaign specifically targeting non-whites about skin cancer and the necessity for sun protection. It is a misconception that people with darker skin don't need to use sunblock. The damage is still happening--it just may be harder to see! Even if your child isn't getting seriously burned (although that is not the only way skin is damaged by sun) protecting your child from the sun won't hurt, so why not be on the safe side? scared of skin cancer
Everyone needs sunblock every day especially on their face and hands (areas that will be exposed 365 days a year for a lifetime). There are two interesting weblinks from the American Academy of Dermatology. The first one deals with the rise in Melanoma in African Americans and the second lists answers to common questions about who should use sunblock, when, where to apply, etc. Don't think that just because a person is not getting a sunburn that they are not at risk for melanoma. Please look at these sites, show them to your husband and put sunblock on your kids.
hope this helps. patricia
I don't have any advice, but I got a good chuckle from your question, because my husband and I have the same exact on-going disagreement about our mixed-race daughter when it comes to sunblock. Looking forward to the answers. kris
I always put sunblock on my mixed-race kids so that they do not burn. I am a relatively light-skinned african-american, and I burn. I don't burn as easily as my fair-skinned friends, but it does happen if I am in the sun for long periods of time without protection.
It is a myth that people that aren't ''white'' don't need sunblock. True, the effects of the sun are harsher on people that don't have as much melanin, but they can still be affected by being exposed to the sun for too long. My children aren't biracial, but they have light complexions and I am very adamant about them using sunblock. I am slightly darker and use it because I peel if I don't. Think of it this way, it certainly can't hurt if they use it. lenamari
Yes, of course you want to protect your children's skin by using sun block. They do have more melanin in their skin but need sunblock too! If you need to know for sure and need a professional's advice simply ask your children's doctor. Use Sunblock on My Mixed Kids
Even my darkest African-American friends use sunscreen. The suns rays are damaging period. No offense to your friend but the comment about melanin is hogwash. Although you may not see the sunburn on darker skin, it can happen. And with mixed race children, there is usually less melanin so they are more at risk. It may take longer to burn with dark skin, but it still can and will happen if not given the porper protection. Rebecca
I also have a mixed race child. He is rather fair skinned, like his mother (lots of Irish in us) so I do use sunscreen on him. I have noticed that he is developing a nice tan from being at the park, and out in the yard, but I feel better safe than sorry. Lori
Whether your children are red, white, or pink (a combination of the two!), sunblock is always a good idea. Every skin type, regardless of race or skin tone can benefit from sunblock. ;-) See: al/sun_care/safe_sun/index.asp#2
Black Mother of 2 Black Children ;-)
I always use sun-block on my mixed race children. Even dark-skinned African-Americans should be using sun-block. I've been burned (and even pealed) even though I'm pretty brown! tia
Hi- The short answer is yes, they should wear sunscreen. My son is bi-racial as are my brother and sister. Even though dark(er) kids don't burn the way my plain white self does, that doesn't mean they don't and can't burn. My sister and brother had many a burn growing up, complete with peeling, and they are a very dark mix naturally. It doesn't matter what color the skin is, the damage is done beneath it. Melanin gives people their own personal hue, as it does hair color and eye pigment, but it is not your own personal SPF. I would encourage you and your family to wear sunscreen every day. SPF Mama
I am Af Am and my children are biracial (Black/White). I put sunblock on them most of the time especially if it is particularly hot or sunny outside. I am somewhat fair skinned and I still burn ocassionally although my sunburns are more of a tolerable dull soreness usually on the shoulders. I'd rather not have my kids go through any damage no matter how mild it may seem. Also, even though people of color do have more melanin in their skin we can still suffer sun damage (burns, skin cancer, etc). Protect your kids. a mom
I have definately heard that the sun block on mixed race and even african american skin. The sun is so strong these days. My daughter is mixed race, and although I don't fret about her the way people with very white children do, I put sun block on. There is so much skin damage these days and from what i've heard, it's affecting all races.
I'm a mixed race doctor. All races can get melanoma and other forms of sun damage. You, your husband and your children should all use sunblock. Dr. E
I'm sorry but I had to chuckle at your note. I am a fair skinned african american who grew up loving sun and thinking 'black people don't burn'. I'm here to tell you, they do - and it can get very painful. My two kids are also fair skinned and every time I take them out in the sun, they wear sun block. While our tolerance to sun might be greater, we're still open to all the harmful effects of overexposure as whites. Good luck, DL
My daughter is white/Black biracial. She must use sunscreen as well as SPF chapstick. Her father and half-brother, both dark shades of brown, do too. They all ''burn.'' While they do not turn red, their skin gets dry, very irritated, and can peel and crack after a day in the sun. It is a myth that sunscreen is not needed. LC

Unscented sunblock

April 2004

Hi - anyone know of any truly unscented sunblock which is minimum SPF 30? My daughter has always been extremely sensitive to smells and gags/spits up at all sorts of odors that for most would be relatively benign. Thanks! lori

My dermatologist recommended Sol Bar, which seems to me to have no scent at all. Melinda
California Baby Sunscreen is *really* unscented, but look out because there is a scented version and an unscented version, so you gotta read the label. Also, be aware that it is more expensive than other sunscreens, but I think worth it- my fair skinned charge has never had a sunburn and when he rubbed his hands into the sunscreen and into his eyes one time, I freaked out but he didnt even flinch. So: no smell, no eye irritation, no sunburn. I'd say bite the bullet and head to Elephant Pharmacy (thats where we bought ours). Griffin's Governess

Daughter, age 5, refuses sunblock

March 2004

Our blond-haired, fair-skinned daughter absolutely refuses to put on sunblock. She is 5 1/2 years old. While I know we should have continued putting on sunblock year-round, I admit we stopped in the winter and now that the weather is so nice, we're back into sunblock mode and I want to be really vigilant about it. I always wear sunblock, my husband needs a gentle reminder, and my daughter refuses. I insisted that she couldn't go out of the house without sunblock. She ended up refusing all weekend and stayed in the house all weekend as a result, driving my husband and me nuts (though we ended up taking turns going out alone today so we wouldn't go stir crazy). We've talked to her about how important sunblock is and why. Obviously we can't keep her home from school if she refuses sunblock on school days. I'm really not sure what to do. At this point I'm going to revoke privileges for refusal during the week. Any advice on how to get her to get with the program with wearing sunblock daily would be much appreciated. At my wit's end

This may sound harsh, but there are some times in parenting when I have had to use physical force to get something essential done. This includes giving a child medicine, taking out a splinter, putting on a bike helmet, putting a child in a carseat -- you get the picture. When it has to do with the child's health and well- being, there is no possibility of negotiation, and the child has to know that you mean business. The sunscreen ALWAYS has to go on, no arguments, no pussy-footing. She can put it on herself (under your supervision to ensure proper coverage), you can put it on with her assistance or acquiescence, or one of you will hold her down and the other will put it on. To send her the message that this is a choice she can make (I'll skip the sunscreen and stay inside) is not useful, as it is not really true. Even leaving aside the question of what you will do when she starts school, you and your husband have to be able to live a normal life, too -- you shouldn't be held hostage to her willfulness; it sends the message that she can be selfish and that's OK. I don't use physical force to discipline my child, but I will use it when it's necessary for his health and safety and I need him to understand that there is no other choice. safety first
Is it the type you use she doesn't like or sunblock period? I know there were some my daughter found very repellant, some because of the smell and others because of the feel. We had the best luck with oil-free spray-on types, which we came to prefer as well. If she hates sunblock period, I have no clue. Good luck.
My kids refused sunblock because it was cold and sticky to apply. Then I tried warming it to body temperature before applying, and this helped a lot. I warmed it by carrying the tube under my arm for 15 minutes before applying. The same techinque works well for eyedrops, too. Good luck Lisa
You are the boss! If she refused to wear a seatbelt, would you let her bully you into never going anywhere by car? It's time to put your foot down. Letitia
Hi! Is there something in particular that your daughter doesn't like about sunscreen? My boys complained about it being cold... then I started to microwave it (for about 10 seconds) before putting it on which seemed to help. If it's just a control issue, maybe a chart with stickers would help? That might be a more positive approach than taking things away (to start with, anyway). Good Luck! Linda
Well, the trick is to make the sunscreen seem fun, i think. What if the two of you picked out another kind--one with bright colors on the bottle or something, a ''big-girl'' formula,etc. Another form might go over better, too. Have you considered a spray on? (Spray on hands first for face). That could make the application process more fun for her. Carolyn
Unless the sunblock irritates her skin or she doesn't like the way it smells or something physical related to the sunblock, this situation is probably a general power struggle. Try making her feel more involved in the decision making, like letting her go to the store to pick out her own sunblock. Good Luck. I never remember until we're frying
Maybe she doesn't like the sunblock you are using. Try unscented or no tears baby sunblock. Another idea is to use long sleeves, long pants and a hat instead of sunblock. Still another is to go out early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun is not so strong, or to go out for short periods of time.
It sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing by modeling the behavior of using sunblock, insisting that no sunblock = no outdoors time, and explaining the importance of sunblock. Staying consistent here should finally produce results. Although I haven't had to fight this battle with my fair skinned kids, I have seen my sister fight the battle. I can also tell you that when my nephew is under my care, he doesn't fight sunblock because ''I can't make my Aunt mad.'' Perhaps assigning the task to someone else will help? Does your daughter fight her teachers when they apply sunblock? Finally, consider UV protective clothing (available from many catalogs and sports stores), and check out this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics:^TAB~Web%20Site^MNU~East%20Bay%20Pediatrics^PST^1709791~Search%20Results^MAP^ZZZ9AVFOQ7C=ZZZ9AVFOQ7C=1709791=1=Protecting%20Your%20Child%20from%20the%20Sun=sunblock=1709791=0.6867487

(Sorry for the ridiculously long URL.) Supportive Mom

I just want to applaud your invoking and enforcing consequences around your daughter's not participating in the outside world if she refuses to be sunscreened. I have seen melanoma sufferers, up close and personal, some of whom were saved by a radical and disfiguring excision, and others, including three friends, who died from melanoma.

There is no question but that melanoma can be traced, largely, to a bad childhood sunburn/chronic and unprotected sun exposure; twas the scenario in all of the profiles of melanoma that I knew of.

While staying in your house is not much fun for you know that, eventually, your consistency and persistence will pay off, and your daughter will submit.

I liken insistence on sunscreen (and sunglasses, too, frankly; I've seen a lot of macular degeneration in my life) to the same insistence about our children (and us) wearing seatbelts. I wouldn't dream of driving without my children belted in, and I would not let my children out into the world without sunglasses, sunscreen (physical block is more effective than chemical block, which breaks down after 10 minutes exposure to UV, anyway), and a hat.

Hang in there and keep insisting. UV-Shunnin' Mama

Sounds to me like a girl who doesn't really want to go outside! I have one of those. In that case depriving her of it doesn't put her out in the least and it punishes you. Rule #1 when inventing consequences: make sure you can live with them yourself! I suggest you give her the option of wearing a long-sleeve shirt, pants, gloves and a widebrimmed hat when you go out, or sunscreen. I think she'll tire of the getup after not too long and accept the sunscreen. Either way, you are all outside and she is protected from the sun. Sounds like a power struggle so make sure not to make the clothes sound like a punishment for refusing to wear sunblock. Instead, she simply has two, and only two, choices: she can wear clothing that protects her from the sun, or she can wear sunblock. If she refuses both you have to calmly enforce one or the other option. She is not going to keep the family inside, nor is she going to go out unprotected. She can chose herself, but if she doesn't, you will chose for her. Be very matter-of-fact. You can even commiserate and say you understand that she doesn't like either of the options, but it is your job as a parent to make sure she takes care of her body until she is old enough to do it for herself. Good luck! susan

Sunscreen OK for infants?

Aug 2004

I've heard conflicting advice about using sunscreen on babies. Our pediatrician recommended avoiding it until one year (some say 6 months). I've also heard that sunscreen isn't actually harmful but ''they'' tell you not to use it because they don't want people to think direct sun exposure is okay. Does anyone have any actual hard data on this? Also, for parents who have chosen to use sunscreen, is there a brand/product you recommend that is less toxic/full of junk? Thanks! wanting to be safe in the sun

I've used Water Babies on both of my kids from 6 months (if not younger)on with no problems. Only one that I would shy away from is Mustela's - it stains clothing! anna
Some European countries have much stricter regulations on the chemicals that are used in sunscreens so I think the very best and most non-toxic brand is called ''Lavera'' from Germany have seen in Elephant Pharmacy and Whole Foods. It is very expensive but I would use that one for sure on under one year olds, then there are other natural brands that are probably fine for babies; I think the concern is no direct sun until pigmentation is more mature but also, chemicals in sunscreen are absorbed through the skin. Chris
Try any wholefoods store or 'healthfood' store. I buy products at Rainbow grocery collective in SF but i know in other towns or across the country any 'healthfood' store will carry several lines of baby suncare lotion. I would call one locally and see what they stock or recommend. It is also important to cover your baby for the majority of the sun intensive hours and get them to wear a sunhat if they tolerate one. goodluck
we asked our pediatrician the same question (I have very white skin). he said he has seen infants brought in for sunburn, but never for a reaction to sunscreen. we used the medela or california baby products, and i keep a stick in the diaper bag. we also have a uv suit. Julia

Lotion with SPF for 11 month old

March 2004

Hello, I'm looking for a lotion with SPF for my 11 month old. She goes to daycare and they often go on outings. I've noticed that her cheeks are redder than usual probably due to the sun exposure. I want to put sunscreen on her but don't want her smelling like it all day. Does anyone know a baby-friendly lotion with SPF that I can give my daughter?

We have successfully used the Banana Boat lotions for babies with good results. You may want to test a small area first and check with your physician. We also have used the sunscreen shirts but the kids weren't too into to those when playing in the water. They seemed to make them colder. kl
Use a sunscreen with zinc or titanium dioxide as the only active ingredient to avoid chemicals. These and that parasol 1789 (avobenzone) are the only ingredients that provide adequate protection. Of course, clothing and hats are helpful too.

2-year-old breaks out in rash from sunscreen

June 2004

Hi! I took my 2 year old daughter to Waterworld this weekend and applied sunscreen on her before we went in the water and out in the sun but the next day she broke out with a rash on her face and still sun-burnt on her little shoulders. Can anyone recommend a sunscreen for sensitive skin? Thanks!! Jane

My two-year-old son has sensitive skin, so whenever we are at the beach instead of sunscreen, he wears either a SPF wetsuit (we bought his at Costco) or a pair of regular swim trunks and a white long sleeve SPF t-shirt (his is from One Step Ahead). Both are extremely lightweight and offer a UPF of 50+, which is the highest sun-block rating available. He is always very comfortable, and never gets too hot. tatiana
We looove Durascreen. My daughter, also 2, has relatively sensitive skin (I have to use ''Free & Clear'' varieties of laundry detergent) and is pretty fair skinned. You can order Durascreen in a lotion and a in stick for the face, both are SPF 30, waterproof and seem to last all day (there have been a few times that I have forgotten to reapply for afternoon park excursions, with no adverse results). The only drawback? Expensive, but I'll never use anything else on her. Lisa
Despite the widespread cautions to use sunscreen, the following offers another point of view. The points made include the importance of getting natural vitamin D from the sun, going slowly to build up tolerance to the increasingly stronger rays, eating an antioxidant-rich diet, and avoiding harmful chemicals found in common sunscreens. Nori

Sunscreen for child's sensitive skin

July 2003

My son is allergic to the hypoallergenic sunscreen we use (Banana Boat Kids). He breaks out with a rash all over his face. I'd love to hear what the allergic folks have had success with. Any suggestions? Thanks!

I use Trader Joe's Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 or 50. It has Titanium Dioxide in it. I have used it for my child since he was a toddler and it never irritated his skin and it does a great job. He is very fair and also has trouble with rashes. Trader Joes sunscreen is also very reasonably priced ($3.59). donna
Our favorite sunscreen for our very sensitive daughter is SolBarPF Cream, SPF 50. It is paba free, unscented, and goes on easily. Make sure you get the 50, not the 30 SPF. I bought it recently at Long's off Piedmont Ave.

We have also had good luck with all unscented sunscreens from Neutrogena, but the SolBar seems to really work best at preventing sunburn while being easy on the skin. anon

What will help your son depends on what he is sensitive to in the sunscreen. I react to almost all of them, except of course PABA, which is almost impossible to find. The reaction is worse when I am exposed to the sun. Anyway, there are a couple alternatives I have found that work:

1. He may be ok with a lower spf.

2. Neutrogena sensitive skin: active ingredient: titanium dioxide spf 17. This works for me and I am extremely sensitive to the other stuff.

3. Low spf sunscreens where the active ingredient is only something called ''homosalate.'' This is generally up to spf 4 or 6.

In general, you will need to learn the active ingredients and which bother him. Unfortunately there are all kinds of names and mixes. It is also likely that he will have to use lower spf stuff, and that means that he has to get smart about not staying in the sun too long, wearing a hat, etc. Probably the best idea anyway. Perhaps there is a way to get sunscreens made to order, if someone knows that, let us know! sunny

Several children at my family child care have sensitive skin and are allergic to regular childrens' sunscreen. We've noticed a dramtic improvement by using the Trader Joe's SPF 30 sensitive sunscreen. The two little guys I'm thinking of who had such trouble with Banana Boat have switched to this and have not had any skin issues since. Hope this helps! Jessica
Try Neutrogena. They have a sun block that is for very sensative skin. The main ingredient in this formula is titanium dioxide. It does not contain ingredients found in regular hypoallergenic sunscreen. We use it especially when we are on vacation and have to put a lot of sunscreen on everyday. Both me and my daghter discovered that we break out in rashes from the regular stuff due to over exposure to the chemicals. We found the Neutrogena to be a big relief. I recommended it to a friend of mine who's daughter is terribly allergic to regular ''hypoallergenic'' sunscreen. She told me that the Nutrogena is working out great, and she has tried everything. Check the label and read the ingredients. Make sure it is the Titanium Dioxide formula. Laurey
Try a sunscreen with only physical UV blocks - zinc or titanium dioxide. These work on the surface of the skin. They reflect UVA and UVB and are better for people with allergies. The chemical sunscreens like PABA, etc. combine with elements in the skin to form a barrier and are therefore more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Neutrogena makes a ''sensitive skin'' formulation with titanium dioxide. Congratulations on making sunscreen a part of your child's life. You are doing a great thing. Good Luck
I have very sensitive skin. I tried many brands (Banana Boat -- like you) and other more specialty, boutique brands and have been surpised to find that the Hawaiian Tropic Baby Faces 50 is the most gentle and non-reactive with my skin. Both my three year old son and I use it. Good luck! Jennifer
My son's face gets all red when I use regular baby sunscreens from the drugstore, but he does fine with California Baby brand from Whole Foods. It's expensive, though -- about $13 for a little tube. Kathryn
We have found that Coppertone Sensitive Skin works very well. It is in a white bottle with blue cap and they sell it at Target. Nancy
My daughter also got a rash with Banana Boat. My dermatologist recommended Pre-Sun, and we all use that. It's not easy to find (try Long's) so I stock up when I spot it. Ann
I am allergic to Clinique sunscreen, which is hypoallergenic, but have no problem with Coppertone! anon
Sun Precautions carries a wide variety of sunblocks for various uses. There are several that are for extremely sensative skin that contain only titanium dioxide or zinc oxide or both. And they have one that is waterproof. Sun Precautions main selling item is SPF clothing. They have cloths for kids too. So if you get tired of sunblock you can cover your child up in clothing that will protect them better than regular cloths. The styles and choices are not that great, but it is well worth a look. The prices are a bit high too, but that is because of the special fabric they use. Here is their website: Laurey
My kids had an allergic reaction to Banana Boat sunscreen as well. We now use Neutrogina for sensitive skin and they are fine. Good luck!

Waterproof sunscreen/no eye stinging

March 2003

It's that time of year again when I again search for the perfect high SPF waterproof sunscreen for my face. I have used Avon, Waterbabies, Coppertone, etc. and each causes my eyes to sting horribly after I swim (or even sweat). Any suggestions would be appreciated, either products or a different way of applying. Thanks! no more watery eyes

My (very white skinned) child would not let put sunscreen on her face when we went skiing or biking because it would run, with sweat or snow from skiing or swimming, into her eyes and sting. And because it was waterproof, very hard to get out of the eyes. Then I tried Bullfrog stick! It comes in a large stick similar to chapstick. It does not run! Now she even puts it on herself and rubs it around. There are other brands of sunscreen sticks around now but Bullfrog is the best if you can find it. freckled face
try SkinCeuticals. You can buy online or in some spas--various levels of SPF--it's a bit expensive but really good. absey
You might try the sunscreen sold by Paula's Choice (online only; website addres: Her products tend not to include coloring or fragrance ingredients that can sting; she also uses titanium dioxide and other physical blockers instead of the chemical blockers that I personally have a hard time with. Karen
I use a brand called ProSport that I originally found in a Hawaiian surf shop. I love it so much that I found it online and now order it by the case. It is not greasy and it pretty much lasts all day. It also does not run into the eyes. It also says it's suitable for children 6 months and over and for people with sensitive skin. (I have very sensitive skin and sunburn very easily, but not with this stuff). I started using it on my daughter after Baby Banana Boat did run into her eyes. For what its worth, the Ironman Triathalon also uses it as it's sunscreen of choice. I normally don't sounds like a commercial about skincare products or other products for that matter, but I have had a lot of success with this stuff. You can find it at their website at Hannah

Sunscreen for baby during car rides?

Jan 2003

Do you think I should put sunscreen on my baby's face to protect from sunlight while in the car? Although I have a back window sunshade, the sun shines in above the top of the shade. When we're driving away from the sun, the light sometimes beams in so brightly that baby's poor little face is totally illuminated. I use the stroller's very protective sun canopy (it adjusts and covers very well) as soon as we step out of the vehicle. I put sunblock on him at the playground, but I'm cautious (paranoid?) about putting sunscreen on him every day, even though we use a natural one. The Whole Foods skin care dept. person cautioned me against using sunblock, even natural kinds on a child under two because of the absorption of ingredients through the skin while their bodies are so small. What do you do/have done? Sunscreen every day, including just for car rides and dashing indoors, or sunscreen only while outside in direct sunlight? --Confused first time mom

I don't believe UV rays can get through glass, so your baby should be fine in the car. For outside, a good hat is your first line of protection. You don't say how old your baby is, but I agree with the folks at Whole Foods: I don't like to use any sunblock on kids under 1 because of the absorption problem you mentioned, and I certainly wouldn't use any on a baby under 6 months under any circumstances. Instead, keep your darling out of the sun, and cover him/her up with a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves. Judith
This may seem like an overly obvious response to your posting but I couldn't tell from what you wrote whether or not you have the windows down or a sun roof open in your car. Only if sunlight is hitting your baby's skin directly and not through glass -- i.e., the sun is coming in through an open window or the sun roof -- is your baby exposed to the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. Shut the sun roof and windows and you won't have to use sunscreen. If it's hot and you don't have air conditioning, just make sure your baby is not near an open window that the sun is shining through.

Also, your baby needs SOME exposure to direct sunlight because that is what produces Vitamin D in our bodies (including our babies' bodies). So I would definitely not put sunscreen on your baby just for dashing in and out of doors. I don't know what pediatricians recommend, but I would imagine you don't need to use a sunscreen until/unless you think you will exceed 10 minutes exposure to constant, direct sunlight at midday. KB

When my kids were infants I put a hat on them when in the car on sunny days. suzanne
Glass blocks most UV rays, so you don't need to put sunblock on your child for car rides. Anonymous
Hello, I have done a lot of research re: UVB lights and sun radiation because we have a family history of melanoma.

Only very small amount of sun radiation can go through glass, so sunscreen would not be needed during car rides.

Outside of car rides, the effect of sun radiation over human lifetime is cumulative. This means that it does not matter that you never get a severe sunburn (as a single event) - every little sun exposure adds to all previous sun exposures in your life and at some point (individual for everyone) your body just had enough and it starts growing cancerous cells (without you knowing of it obviously).

Baby skin is extremely susceptible to sun burn. It is generally recommended by the American Assn of Peds that babies always wear long pants and long sleeves. You must use sunscreen on any open area of skin, and SPF must be at least 30 (15 is NOT enough!).

Obviously, the lighter the natural color of your skin is the more susceptible you are. You can ask your doctor or pediatrician for a whole list of criteria (having freckles, for instance) to determine the general degree of your susceptibility.

You should not rely on just clothes for sun protection either. An average clothes' SPF is around 8! This is not enough at all, and this is average. Light summer clothes hardly protect you at all.

Another important thing to remember - sun radiation gets through to you in any whether - sunshine or not.

A lot of my info comes from warnings by medical doctors specializing in skin cancer prevention.

Every sunscreen must be reapplied to your skin every two hours, despite what manufacturer may claim, per U.S. Dept of Consumer Affairs.

My final note: Once you start taking this issue seriously, it is very easy to teach your children to respect the sun rules. My children would not come out of the house without sunscreen all over their bodies - They just stop at the door and come back for sunscreen - They know it's more important than not being late to school. My older daughter reapplies sunscreen to herself before coming out to every recess at school, and the teachers do it for my younger one.

I may seem paranoid, but I have seen people (as young as 3) live with and die of cancer. Maria

I'd like to correct some misconceptions people have about exposure to ultraviolet rays through car windows. The excerpt below is from the University of Florida College of Health and Human Performance.

Web Site -

A portion of sunlight consists of invisible ultraviolet radiation that is divided, by wavelength, into UVC, UVB and UVA rays. Each of these wavelengths can cause skin cancer and skin damage. But neither UVC rays (and most of which are absorbed by the earth's ozone layer) nor UVB rays (the rays that actually cause sunburn) pass through glass.

Only UVA rays penetrate glass -- and these rays are particularly damaging. They can be 1,000 more intense than UVB rays, invading deeply into the underlying tissue. Besides leading to cancer, UVA rays are the primary cause of photo skin aging -- wrinkles, dryness, and age spots.

In addition, children are especially vulnerable to the UVA rays streaming through auto windows. They frequently sit in the back of the car, where the intensity of these rays is highest. And they already spend more time in the sun than adults -- receiving about 50% to 80% of their lifetime ultraviolet exposure by age 18. Infants are even more at risk, because their melanin (the skin pigment that provides a small amount of sun protection) is not fully developed. In addition, people with certain medical conditions, such as lupus erythematosus, are particularly sensitive to UVA rays.

Auto Protection. Automobiles are not completely at the mercy of UVA rays. The plastic interleaf of windshields (which keeps them from shattering in an accident) absorbs nearly all UVA radiation. But there is little to stop UVA radiation from coming through the side and rear windows of the car. The lightly tinted factory auto glass available for side and rear windows absorbs only a very modest amount of this light. (Federal regulations allow auto manufacturers to only slightly tent their window glass, except for a narrow strip on the top of the windshields, because of concern that tinted windows can reduce the visual acuity, especially for older drivers).

To protect yourself and your passengers from UVA radiation, there is a wide variety of tinted as well as clear protective auto window films available from professional applicators or do- it-yourself kits. For example, Llumar UVShield, a new, transparent, micro thin, film, which carries the Seal of Recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation, is said to protect car occupants from virtually all UVA radiation. In sun- intense climates like Florida, these relatively inexpensive films are an excellent investment in good health. For a review of various products see Auto Trim and Restyling News: Julie