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Fun in the Sun

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Dr. Kellie Reed of Sanova Dermatology shares her summer skin-care tips.

By Rachel Nguyen, Photos by Lauren Halpern

Temperatures are rising as the summer sunshine returns to Central Texas. But before school lets out and your child trades a backpack for a beach bag, it’s time for a refresher on the importance of sunscreen for you and your family.

Sun exposure can increase the risk for developing skin damage and skin cancer, thus, properly using sunscreen and protective clothing makes it much easier to enjoy lounging by the pool without the worry of detrimental long-term effects. Austin Woman recently sat down with dermatologist Dr. Kellie Reed to hear her thoughts about summer skin care.  

Summer skin-care basics
  • Start the season with new sunscreen, as products can lose potency as time passes.
  • Choose sun protection of SPF 30 or higher for everyday use. (Reed recommends jumping straight to SPF 50-plus, particularly if you will be active.)
  • Look for the words “broad-spectrum UVA/UVB” on the label when purchasing sunscreen.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours (more often if you’re sweating or swimming).
  • Sunscreens containing a mineral block such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide provide the best sun protection.
  • Chemical sunscreens (those with ingredients ending in -salate or -benzone) must be applied 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure to be effective.  
Newborns and babies

Newborns and children younger than 6 months of age should avoid sun exposure altogether. If outside, seek the shade and use sunglasses and a wide-brimmed sun hat, and make sure your child doesn’t overheat. You can begin adding sunscreen with physical blockers to your baby’s outdoor bag once she reaches the six-month mark. Reed’s favorite sunscreen brands for young children include Neutrogena, Blue Lizard and Kiss My Face.

Children

As your child ages, make sunscreen part of a summertime routine. Allow older kids to apply their own sunscreen prior to heading out. In addition to giving the sunscreen time to be absorbed by the skin, applying early avoids the inevitable struggle that comes when a child’s urge to dash to the pool outweighs the chore of applying sunscreen. For younger kids, application time might include a silly song or dance, or the opportunity to pick from their favorite sun-protection gear. Reed’s picks include Super Sparkle Screen sunscreen and any that contain physical blockers, such as Goddess Garden.

Teenagers

Just like other safety measures, such as wearing a seatbelt in the car, the use of sunscreen is important daily. Teenagers can better understand the damaging effects of the sun, so start the conversation about wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer before the summer fun begins. Reed’s top picks for teenagers include EltaMD and Cerave, which are also good for those with acne-prone skin.

For mom

Like children, moms need to make skin care a part of their routine. Sunscreen should be worn every day, with extra applications during extended periods of sun exposure. Additionally, adults can take a few extra steps during the summer to maintain healthy skin, such as starting the day with vitamin-infused serum, carrying a sunscreen stick or powder (Reed loves this mineral powder when you’re on the go.), and maintaining adequate hydration.

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