Sunscreen Safety for Kids

Summertime leads to lots of fun outdoors in the hot, summer sun. How do we protect the delicate skin of our little ones? How old does your child have to be to use sunscreen? What is SPF and what numbers really work best? Plus, are there eco-friendly alternatives that are better for your baby and the environment?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Sunscreen Safety for Kids

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.


[Theme Music]

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Summer time leads to lots and lots of time playing outside in the summer sun. We need to protect our children’s skin from the harsh rays of the sun. But navigating through which type, SPF, UVA/UVB, water proof or water resistant, it can all be confusing. I am Dr. Caroline Piggott, Dermatologists specializing in Pediatrics at Scripps Clinic here to help to better understand the sunscreen and their use and this is Parent Savers, Episode 16.

[Theme Music/Intro]

KC Wilt : Welcome to Parent Savers, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I am your host KC Wilt. You can now take Parent Savers with you wherever you go. Our Apps are now available in the Amazon Android market and the iTunes apps store. There are great features like the ability to Starr your favorite episodes as well as get instant access to our most recent episodes and social networking sites. Another way to get great parenting information is to subscribe to our Parent Savers Newsletter featuring exclusive behind the scenes, contents from our show, special giveaways, discounts and more. So, visit our website for more info. I am a new parent myself. My son Carson is 20 months old and I am joined by three new parents here in the studio.

Danelle Dutoit : Hi, I am Danelle Dutoit, I am 32 years old and I have 2 sons.

Owen Hemsath : Hi, I am Owen Hemsath. I have 3 boys. I have a 5 year old, a 14 month old and my new son Benjamin was born earlier this month. And I am a Videographer in Ocean Side, California.

Nick Jones : I am Nick Jones and I am 30 years old. And I have one son Westin and he is 15 months old and I work in Marketing.

[Theme Music]

[Featured Segments: Ask the Experts, “Clogged Duct or Infection?”]

KC Wilt : Before we start today’s show, here is a question for one of our experts.

Megan : Hi, my name is Megan. I am from Chicago, Illinois and my question is in regards to breast infection. I had the pain on my breast a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t know if it was an actual infection or if it was a clogged duct. So, I am just wondering how to tell the difference between an infection and a clogged duct. Thanks.

Robin Kaplan : Hi, Megan this is Robin Kaplan from the San Diego Breastfeeding Center. I am also the host of the Boob Group radio show and I am, I am here to answer your question about how to know the difference between a clogged duct and an infection. Actually, there are many different ways that distinguishes between a clog duct and an infection. They both kind of start out the same way where a clog duct will feel almost like a small pea and those are parts of your breasts. I find that a lot of women have them either up near their arm pit or actually underneath their breasts or you can find them on the top or even close to the nipple. But essentially, the clog duct typically can resolve in about 24 hours if you think some nice, warm compresses and gentle massage while you are breastfeeding just get rid of that part of the area. In addition to actual infections it’s just Mastitis is that Mastits starts often as the clogged duct but it continues beyond that. So, you will get a red patch on your breasts that will hard to touch, really uncomfortable and you will feel like actually, really, really tired not just postpartum tired but actually really exhausted and you will be running a fever over a 101 degrees. And the way to get of Mastitis because essentially , what Mastitis is the traffic jam in your breast. You have a blockage that’s not being able to be repaired and so the milk behind the blockage is actually becoming infected. So, the way to get rid of that infection, lot of OB’s and midwives more often put you on some sort of antibiotics to get rid of that infection. I typically start with something a little bit more mild such as using a castor oil compress and that not actually ingesting the castor oil but putting on a face cloth and like putting on a warm, hot like a, heating bag on top of it, 20 minutes at a time to see if that can kind of resolve it. Castor oil is fantastic because it breaks up blockages even when it is used tropically and also you can take things such as IV pros to reduce swelling. But really trying, there are some herbs also that can help get rid of infections too.You would wanna work with someone who knows about that like acupuncturist, herbalists and many lactation consultants will recommend that as well. And then, if it’s not resolved then antibiotics are often needed because it will help get rid of that infection and help you to start feel much better, regardless of the fact that whether it’s a clogged duct or actual Mastitis, you definitely want to nurse the baby or pump if that’s the case it’s too uncomfortable to nurse to help to move the milk because the only way to get rid of that infection or clogged duct is actually remove the milk that’s kind of plugged up there. So, it’s not that the milk is infected. You can actually feed the baby and it’s actually really beneficial. I hope that answers your question and thank you so much for calling the Parent Savers.

KC Wilt : If you have questions for one of our experts, simply call the Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775 and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming episode.

[Theme Music]

KC Wilt : Today on Parent Savers, we have Dr. Caroline Piggott, Dermatologists specialized in Pediatrics here to talk with us about sunscreen. So doctor, what age should we use sunscreen on our little ones?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : You know, the issue of when to start using sunscreen is a great question and actually the perfect answer to this question is a little controversial even in academic literature. I consider the premier academic pediatric society in the U.S should be the American academy of pediatrics and I find this to be an excellent resource on this subject. What they recommend in that for children under the age of 6 months really the policy should be keep them out of the sun period. Beyond the age of 6 months sunscreen is really safe and considered safe by this academy that common components of sunscreen and flavor of the chemical types of sunscreen UV blockers is oxidants and nuts and lots of different sunscreens available commercially. And this is one of the few ingredients in sunscreen that really protects our skin, baby skin from both types of harmful sun rays called UVA and UVB and it is FDA proved for babies that are aged 6 months. Other sunscreens have very similar approval. There is Zinc Oxide, Titanium, Dioxide contained in sunscreens that are great. Just a general tip, for big children over the age of 6 months I recommend that you apply sunscreen all over the body, not just on the face, not just on the hands. You never know when the sleeves are gonna be pulled up and things like that. It’s really important now that to be careful not to get anything in the eyes. For example, if your baby accidentally rubs sunscreen into his or her eyes, I would say it’s best to wipe them, both their eyes and their hands clean with something like lukewarm water with a damp cloth.

KC Wilt : So, if I am in a hot climate and I am always outside and my baby is just a few months old, I know covered up stay and sometimes that’s not a reality. Do you think it’s better, I mean, I have heard philosophies saying, “well, it’s better to put sunscreen on them under than 6 months rather than get them burnt.” So, do you agree with that?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : I completely agree with that. The reason it’s not approved is it just hasn’t been tested it doesn’t mean that there is any evidence to show it’s unsafe. So, rather than get a blistering sunburn, I would put on sunscreen for sure. Blistering sun burns in childhood makes you the risk to get skin cancer like Melanoma and the tradeoff, I just don’t think it’s worth of it. So, if there is no way around it, absolutely put sunscreen on your baby under 6 months.

Owen Hemsath : What, what is this sunscreen actually protecting against this UVA, you know, when I was saying Oovah beforehand, but what are we talking about?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : So, basically the goal of sunscreen and basic is to protect you against the harmful rays of the sun. The most damaging kinds of visible light are UVA like you said and UVB and what that stands for is Ultra Violet A and Ultra Violet B. There are certain wave length of sunlight that are the most damaging. And the reason we want to protect ourselves against this is like, I mentioned to prevent the risk of skin cancer and also the sun’s rays resulting wrinkles at a later age so, you are doing work in that to change the patterns of your skin when you are older.

KC Wilt : Your babies will thank you when they get older.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, exactly and each blistering sun burn that a child gets increases their risk, multiple fault.
Owen Hemsath : Okay, I am part Mexican and my kids, my wife is Mexican so we go off Latina I hope sure she doesn’t may be, I am sorry she is Columbiana. But we are Latina and our kids are Latina so, I never wore sunscreen as a kid, I never got burnt or I don’t have skin cancer you know, it’s,

KC Wilt : Yes, yeah.

Owen Hemsath : Well, you know, and then having that risk, having that ,you know, that really voracious burn, you know, what I mean? And then you have got this sunscreen that are full of chemicals that you are dozing your baby so, is it different for everybody you know?

KC Wilt : Based on skin tone or melanoma?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, you know, there is different types of skin cancer. There is non-melanoma skin cancer which are things like Basal cells and Squamous cells. Those are the most common types. And then there is Melanoma which is little less common than those but the deadly to your life comparatively. And so, to answer your question, even people who have, what we call the darker skin tones or Africans, Americans for example, can get Melanoma. So, it is less likely I agree, you know, the latter you are the higher the risk but nobody is without a risk, there is not a person.

Owen Hemsath : And so the harmful rays that cause those things,are they causing and are they putting things into your skin or they causing mutations on the cellular level?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Basically, every day you get sun you get a little bit more damage and there really is a cellular level, the more you get the higher the risk, basically.

Owen Hemsath : And so, the sunscreens do they have deterrents in them?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Right, so there is different ingredients depending on the sunscreen. Some of them contain chemicals and some of them have actually have more of a physical blocking effect. And those are the Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide type sunscreens.

Owen Hemsath : Okay.

Danelle Dutoit : And what is SPF and what number should we look at using on our children?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : SPF- stands for sun protection factor and there is this complicated way of figuring out SPF and scientists do that on each sunscreen. Basically, what they do is they take human subjects and they have them indoors that they expose them to the amount of light that would be somewhere to being outside say at noon. And the half of the subjects will wear sunscreen and half of them will be with no sunscreen and what they do is, compare the amount of redness from one group to the other and there is sort of this complicated formula. But at the end they come up with the sun protection factor or SPF and in this measure, it’s actually measuring only UVB protection and not UVA so, just as seeing an SPF alone doesn’t protect you from all types of harmful radiation. You know, a lot of fancy calculations are involved but a good guide is SPF of 15 for example, will filter somewhere around 92% of UVB, the higher you go the more the higher the percentage is.

Danelle Dutoit : Is there, is there sunscreen that filters the UVA’s, did you already say that?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : No, there are definitely is and so what you should look at on your sunscreen label is does it say UVA and UVB protection, understand that there is no use in getting a sunscreen that doesn’t protect you against both. And that sort of where the terminology of broad spectrum comes into play.

KC Wilt : So, if it is broad spectrum, it’s both of them?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : So, that brings into the topic of the FDA. In the past when sunscreens had labels like broad spectrum it was a little ambiguous. What exactly was involved in that and there wasn’t really in the official role. Well, FDA is currently working on a new role of which is supposed to come out in the next few months which means if it says broad spectrum on a label once it comes into effect it means both are protected against so, both UVA and UVB. And once those rules are in play, you cannot claim broad spectrum without those.

Owen Hemsath : Now, is there you say, you know, like an SPF 15 blocks, 92% is that kind of stuff going to be on the label?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Not details like that but it will have the SPF indicated and generally, the general rule is the higher the better.

Owen Hemsath : So, may be do a Google search if the parent wanting to know the details you kind of Google search that?
Dr. Caroline Piggott : Exactly, it’s easily available on the internet.

Nick Jones : So, for sticking on kind of this label topic and need being in marketing, stuff like water proof and sweat proof are these buzz words, should we trust that or, you know, what do we need to know about that?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Great question so, in the past everyone thought it would be better, one would be better than the other. For example, water proof was actually better than water resistant. But, the regulations were really unclear. So, this is another subject that the FDA is trying to tackle and in the near future the word water proof is not even gonna be allowed because nothing is 100% water proof. So, instead of this there is gonna be a label saying whether or not the sunscreen remains effective for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating and that’s gonna be on the label. Sunscreens that are not water resistant are gonna have to include the direction for the consumer to use water resistant sunscreen in swimming or sweating because that product doesn’t have it.

Nick Jones : So, basically do you recommend you know, once they get out of the pool I dry them off, I put more sunscreen on them is that what we are doing here?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Exactly, nothing is water proof so, the minute your child gets out of the pool I would reapply a thick layer.
Owen Hemsath : I don’t think westerns are fools, no I am kidding. [Laughs]

Nick Jones : We need annunciate pool.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, as a general guide, if you are in the sun whether or not you are in the water you need to reapply every two hours. It doesn’t matter what environment you are, you are in but certainly a quick dip in the pool, I would reapply.
Owen Hemsath : Now, see that’s where the buzz were that dings for me it’s like of course they want you to put on more sunscreen because they want you to buy more sunscreen you know, what I mean? So, if you are not in the pool, if you are not sweating I mean obviously you are in the sun, you are at sea world or whatever the case may be the animal park you know, you really need to be applying that much because I worry, I worry immensely about amount the chemicals that I am putting on my child’s skin and he doesn’t have the immune system that I have?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Doctors and the product makers as well recommend the two hour rule especially because most people under apply sunscreen and for people who have worried about the chemicals again go to the physical blockers like the Zinc Oxide, the Titanium Dioxide and they don’t contain all those extra chemicals.

Owen Hemsath : So, the Zinc Oxide and the Titanium Dioxide because you know, what scared me the most was like we don’t use deodorant with a illuminum in it. You know what I mean?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Okay.

Owen Hemsath : So, that sort of thing so when I hear Zinc and Titanium and I am like “those are in my car and they want those on my skin so you know,”

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Well, believe it or not those are actually the ingredients in diaper paste so, when your baby was a new born and have a little rash on his tushy you put bug paste on it. And that’s actually the same ingredients that are in those physical blockers and so,

KC Wilt : And Zinc actually from all the chemicals, it’s prior of the don’t call me on it, but prior to the better of my research. There is a month of the year that cancer takes friends or something like that and there is a bunch of Dermatologists that allow free skin screening, it’s promoted by a make-up company like, don’t know, it’s one of the make-up companies. So, my husband and I didn’t have very good health insurance so we went to one while back and we called up and we did our free screening of all the moles and everything else. And the doctor said “your zinc is going to prevent you from cancer not necessarily sunscreen” because my husband is a surfer who works in the sun all the time. And so, we have now from that moment on, our sunscreen has to have zinc in it. And ironically, I go to the local drug store, I look at all the sunscreens, 2 of the 20 have zinc in it and the doctor then tells me you know, he said “zinc is what prevents the cancer.”

Owen Hemsath : Is that the cost, are they little bit more expensive?

KC Wilt : No, actually it isn’t, it’s the same cost in fact some of them, one of them has a brand name like one of the, not the brand name, I am sorry, the store brand name. So, it was the generic, the cheap bottle of the drug store company and had zinc in it and that was you know, the cheapest of them all. But you had to look for it and it was a pain and finding the Australian companies though they all have zinc in it because, they are smarter.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : No, you know why? They have the highest incidents of skin cancer like Melanoma in the world and actually Australia on that topic is very interesting in the schools in Australia now, require that they have for their children when they are on the site playing; a shaded area like it’s required that there is a safe shaded area for their children to play.

Owen Hemsath : That’s all very foreign to me we were on the sun, we turned dark brown, my kids turned dark brown, you know, it wasn’t until I got, I don’t wear sunscreen at all, you know, my wife always used to spray it on me you know, when I walk by “Shhhh” you know, she sprays it on me. But it’s interesting that it’s that I hear about these things Melanoma, I was a surfer, I was in sun too long, I just don’t relate to it because I just don’t hear it.

KC Wilt : Is it because the Ozone layer is getting thinner and thinner we have to be more, more careful?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : I think that’s certainly plays a role but, I see a lot of older patients as well in my practice and you know, they are in their 70’s and 80’s, they tell me about when they were young they used to rub oil on to get a tan. And now unfortunately, especially being in Southern California there is so much skin cancer, it’s actually frightening.

Owen Hemsath : Is there a hereditary link with skin cancer?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Correct, especially in Melanoma, there is both the sort of genetic factor and environmental factor so, the sun plays the role but certainly in people who have a family history of Melanoma especially, they are definitely at higher risk.

Owen Hemsath : So, what would say to someone like me is that I am asking about no, it’s not the case, it’s not the case for me, what would you say to me? What would you tell my wife so to speak, you know, to tell that information that would convince a dark skin or olive skin person, “look even if you are not burning you need to be protecting yourself with sunscreen?”

Dr. Caroline Piggott : It’s just statistics, everyone has a risk. There is no one who has no risk of skin cancer and also you are lot younger than that age of which skin cancer often presents. Just because you know, you are in your 20’s and 30’s now, it doesn’t mean that you are not gonna get any cancer, you know, in your 60’s and 70’s.

KC Wilt : Well, earliest I guess aged gracefully you look 60 years and you are still 25 years with not a lot of skin damage?
Dr. Caroline Piggott : Exactly, I have teenagers coming into the office all the time and they don’t wanna wear sunscreen and they think it’s not cool, you know, “I’m never gonna get skin cancer.” And then one thing that I bring up it also prevents solar ageing what we call it or wrinkles.

KC Wilt : Well, you know, what I do? First for my wrinkles to start going I just get a little bit more sun and I just,

Danelle Dutoit : And are there different types of sunscreen like physical and chemical and then which should we be looking at for?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yes, it depends you know, a lot of people just don’t like the chemical ones so, they go straight to the physical. Basically, what it means is, the physical sunscreen reflect the sun’s rays. It’s almost like you have protective clothing on so, the sun comes in and then it reflects it of versus the chemicals which basically absorbs in that mechanism protects your skin against the sun’s rays. It’s sort of more like the traditional sunscreens that we have been using for the last few decades are chemical but a lot of the sunscreen companies are moving towards the physical blockers. Both are good. I recommend both to my patients and some sunscreens contain both so…

Owen Hemsath : What about the, we all have a friend who, you know, comes out to the pool with a long sleeves shirt on. Are your clothes gonna act as a sun guard or is the sun gonna penetrate those clothes and you are still at risk to some degree of course?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Again, nothing is perfect, the tighter the weave in the fabric actually the more protection you get.
Owen Hemsath : And the hotter you are gonna be.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Exactly.

Owen Hemsath : Some of the fabrics like Bon Jones they are really not gonna be that effective.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, in Southern California, I think good recommendation is you know, considered a rash guard or if you are out surfing, wear a full length wet suite. Those can be more protective but then don’t forget to protect your face and hands.

Owen Hemsath : Sure.

KC Wilt : I have one more quick question before we wrap this up, we talked about SPF a little bit earlier. I have heard rumors that anything over 15 there is no extra protection, is the 15, is the 50 better than the 15?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : That’s a great question. So, I always tell patients at least 15 but honestly, the higher the better and the FDA is actually changing their regulations. So, you know, you see on the market right now a sunscreen that can go as high as a 100. Once the new rules come into effect nothing is gonna be able to say anything more than 50 or may be 50 plus.

KC Wilt : And is this 50 actually reliable?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Reliable? Correct, yes.

Owen Hemsath : 50?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : 50 is stronger than 15 and I tell patients if you are gonna afford the higher ones, do it.
KC Wilt : When we come back we will talk more about the new FDA regulations. What have they changed and what it means to you? We will be back shortly.

[Theme Music]

KC Wilt : We are back with Dr. Caroline Piggott talking about sunscreens so, they are new regulations with FDA on sunscreen labeling, what will we see changing?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : So, I already mentioned some of the changes. A significant one is the change from being able to say that you are sweat proof or water proof. The new changes are going to have that mentioned of, you know, either it works up to 40 minutes, 80 minutes and that’s gonna be what it is limited too. And, sunscreens that don’t have that sweat or water proof protections are gonna have to recommend that people who do sweat or in the water purchase the other product.

Danelle Dutoit : When will see this going to effect?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Great question, they were supposed to actually do in June of this year now or to the end of July. The reason it’s been postponed is actually because a lot of the smaller sunscreen companies that’s been a little bit difficult to change all their labels in time. So, that’s one of the reasons it’s late, they are also looking at couple of factors. But the main reason, the main reason it’s late because it’s been difficult for the smaller rather than the larger companies to change their label.

KC Wilt : So, what was the shelf life of the sunscreens? Will these people be putting all the stuff on the new labels or and then if I have got stuffs in my cabinet, do I have to, you know, throw it all away and get all the new stuff from last summer and work for this summer?

Owen Hemsath : I am sorry, just to confirm we are not talking about the change in the recipe?

KC Wilt ; Correct.

Owen Hemsath : We are talking about change in the label?

KC Wilt : Correct.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : It’s the same, it’s gonna be the same stuff, the label is just gonna be more clear.

KC Wilt : Okay.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : That doesn’t mean that what you already have is bad. But the general rule is always look on the sunscreen bottle it will have an expiration date, anything beyond that throw it out.

KC Wilt : So, even if it is, it won’t protect?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : You just still don’t know what happened to whatever is in the bottle beyond the expiration date.

Owen Hemsath : But when they give us an expiration on the milk and then we know that the milk is good to 7 to 10 days, you know, what I mean? Till around that time may be my wife wouldn’t agree with me but I mean it can’t be the same as you think, isn’t it poisonous?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : What I recommend is after a year you should really be throwing out and it may even be before the expiration date and the reason is you often have your bottles sitting out in the hot sun and you just don’t know what happens to the container. You know, it could be, if the container is opened, there is a risk of other things getting inside and quite frankly if you still have the same bottle of sunscreen, a year later you are not using enough.

Owen Hemsath : Is it like a BPA thing like there are some water bottles with the plastic that you know….

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Did generate in the sunscreen?

Owen Hemsath : Because typically we get rid of our sunscreen if we can’t open the top anymore you know, what I mean? Now, it’s like disgusting let’s give it off.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, the plastics smells, yeah get rid of it.

Nick Jones : So, I have a question for you Dr. Caroline Piggott. My wife is little bit more of a hippy than I am and she likes the organic brand and she uses it on western, is, should we be worried about that since there is I assuming chemicals, is it doing the same job or?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Well, there is a lot of same rules apply to organic products. IYou still wanna look at the SPF, make sure it’s high enough just because it’s organic and SPF of 5 is still unacceptable. You also wanna look at the ingredients, make sure there are not too many fragrance and fragrances and extra things added in because it’s actually a risk of an allergy if there is too much extra stuff in the product. So, when I recommend with any, do a test on your child’s forearm make sure they don’t get red or allergic to it but otherwise I fully recommend organic sunscreens.

Owen Hemsath : And then when you say organic, we are talking about no chemicals in it, all natural products?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Even organic things unfortunately contain chemicals. There is no grade, there is not an FDA for chemicals in organic products unfortunately so, there still could be chemicals inside them.

Owen Hemsath : Sure, and there are lot of people like me that the FDA stamp of approval means very little you know, the FDA is not approved great products and it is expensive. They didn’t have the money to go to the FDA with these things. But, is there a grade or is there any kind of all natural holistic type of sunscreen that you know, would work?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : If you have an organic product that contains Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide I think that’s probably the most mild, gentle of all.

Owen Hemsath : So, those are the keys, the zinc and the titanium is the key?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : I think so.

Owen Hemsath : Okay.

KC Wilt : So, I have an email question from Jane Park and she says I read that sprays not pumps but air cells are bad for kids with asthma, is that true?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Unfortunately, I don’t have great studies on that but any air cells particles in general do have the risk of bothering someone with a baseline sensitive airway so, I recommend avoiding them. And actually the FDA is currently investigating this issue as well. But my main worry was sprays is that actually you are gonna miss a spotand get a sun burn.

KC Wilt : Do you think it would cover more ground even with the spray?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : You would think you are covering more ground but think about at the beach you see that person who has a little round or triangular patch on their back or mess they have because the spray you can’t quite see it as well. The other issue is with the sprays it’s occasionally the layer is not quite as thick as you need to protect yourself so, let’s say SPF 50 you know, if you don’t spray on a thick enough layer it might actually be lower than what you think.

Owen Hemsath : Well, you know we do the spray and rub.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah.

Owen Hemsath : You know, that’s because your kids and you are at the beach and you know, what I mean and you wanna like maximize that time. So, with one arm you grab the kid, with the other arm you spray on them and then you just kind of like a Hamburger.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, I think if you spray and rub, that’s lot better than just spray alone.
Owen Hemsath : Sure.

Danelle Dutoit : What are ingredients that should not be in sunscreen that are kind of a red flag when we are looking for different ones?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : There has been a lot of talk lately about the Vitamin A’s, Oxybensone. So, I think that’s what may be you are referring to. I am actually fine with those ingredients as long as the patient has no allergy to them. There is this group out there called Environmental working group that has really raised the issues of Vitamins A and the Oxybenzone and there is a lot controversy on their statement because of the way they have carried out their study. And these ingredients have been used safely for many years and in fact Oxybenzone is half of commercially available sunscreens and really there is no strong data to support their claim that they are bad. And so, but you know again when you don’t go to the physical blockers like mentioned before, the zinc and the titanium.

KC Wilt : I have even seen the environmental working group, they have got a list of sunscreens that are the toxicity rating that they rate them at. And actually I like to go into their website whether the Vitamin A, Oxybenzone is you know, for discussion but some of the ones that are in the top, that have the least amount of toxicity. So, we are talking about the organic sunscreens again they actually have zinc and they have titanium and they are minus the controversial you know, the ingredients so you know, they may, their study may be a little bit flaut in some way but in the other way you can get some good facts about zinc and everything else that’s in your sunscreens.

Owen Hemsath : Would you still recommend to for down the beach like “okay, you have got this great sunscreen that needs your personal requirements so, but hey bring an umbrella” you know, still bring a, bring a you know, over hang you know, you can get these for big bucks or for 100 bucks or 70 bucks.

Dr. Caroline Piggott : You know, if there is a tree covered area, have your children sit under that especially, the babies definitely though under 6 months, they have to be under an umbrella, they have those portable, inflatable products that you can get in any store, you just make a little fort for your little one.

Nick Jones : So, is there anything else, I mean, I am always vary about marketing, is there anything else we as parents need to know about sunscreen or should be aware off?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Basically, the fact is that no sunscreen is prefect. Nothing is full proof, nothing is perfect and an important thing to remember is to put on enough. So, Henry Lynne, he is a world expert on sunscreen. He is a famous doctor in the dermatology field. He has been quoted saying “you need about a short glass size or a golf ball size to cover you and pretty much the majority of the people don’t use that much.” So, we are under using but what I like to tell my patients is sunscreen is your back up plan. It’s not what you are using to protect yourself, clothing hats, wide hats, umbrellas, those should be the first line.

Owen Hemsath : Moderation?

Dr. Caroline Piggott : Yeah, true and as a general rule I prefer SPF 30 or higher in general if you gonna get one out there.

KC Wilt : Thank you so much, Dr. Piggott for helping us to learn about sunscreen and apply it. If you want more information, go to today’s show on our episodes page on our website.

[Theme Music]

[Featured Segments: Eco-Friendly Parenting Tips]

KC Wilt : Before we say goodbye, here are some tips for going green.

Amy Sorter : Hello, Parent Savers I am Amy Sorter, ecopreneur and co-founder of where you can find information for your family on going green, saving money and looking great while doing it. Today, we are going to talk about the importance of sunscreens for your family and what to look for when selecting safe and effective sun protection. Now, choosing the best sunscreen for your family is really overwhelming. There are so many different brands on the shelf and it’s scary because the recent emphasis need to be Savy’s sunscreen consumers. A special new study I read about from the CDC or the center for disease control, now I found that nearly all Americans are contaminated to Oxybenzone, what? It’s a sunscreen chemical that has been linked to allergy, hormone disruption, cell damage and low birth rate. In fact like many of the products we use every day there is relatively little information regarding potential long term health effects especially when it comes to child health and development. As always take precautions and use the safer sunscreens and I have got just a few tips for you that are important things to look in buying a sunscreen. Now, there is two basic types of sun blocks that people don’t know about. It’s called the physical barrier and chemical barrier sunscreens. Now, physical barrier sun blocks are in general the safest and the most effective. The active ingredients in sunscreen are Zinc Oxide I think most people would have heard about that and then there’s Titanium Dioxide. Now, these types of sunscreens are very effective in blocking both UVB and UVA sun rays and are considered to be the safest sunscreens to use. The best sunscreens of this type will contain all natural ingredients, mostly names that are recognizable to an average user. Now, the other type, the most dangerous type of chemical barriers are some blocks and they contain chemical ingredients that absorbs UV light before that can cause any skin damage. However, the more chemicals present in some blocks of course, the more potentially hazards it’s gonna be in, who wants to put that on your children absorb right into your skin. So, what I like to look for and things to avoid obviously I just discussed chemical barriers sun blocks and unfortunately, they make up the line share of the market including most of the well-known brands and I hate to say this because cost is of no indication of superior safety or effectiveness. So, don’t be fooled by higher priced items. Spray on sunscreens create the risk of inhaling some of the mist which means you are often inhaling harmful chemicals. Now, the last thing to look out for are fragrances and impairments that can cause allergies, asthma and related to other long term potential health issues. The best sun block products to look for will have an SPF at least 30. That gives you the most protection at the lowest cost. Now, another important thing lastly to look for is the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for safe broad spectrum protection. You want at least 7% concentration of either one. Now, for more information on sunscreen recommendations and other parent friendly eco tips visit or visit us on Facebook at and don’t forget to make it a green day.

KC Wilt : That wraps up today’s episode. We would love to hear from you. If you have questions for our experts about today’s show or the topics we discussed, call our Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775 or send us an email through our website, or our Facebook page and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming episode. Coming up next week we are talking about “Baby proofing our homes”. Thanks for listening to Parents Savers, empowering new parents everywhere.


This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. For such information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating any health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

[00:35:07] [End Of Audio]

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