Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D.
With increasing awareness of the potential skin damage caused by sunlight’s direct UV radiation, parents are very mindful of the need to apply sunscreen to their children when playing outside in sunny weather. While I do advocate a limited amount of unprotected sunlight exposure so kids can get adequate vitamin D (about 15-30 minutes per day, depending on skin sensitivity, in children over 6 months), it’s still important to protect against sunburn that can lead to more severe skin damage. Many conventional sunblocks contain chemicals like oxybenzone, which has been linked to hormone disruption.
The two safest active ingredients to look for in sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—these natural ingredients protect against both UVA and UVB rays. For more information about the greenest products, check out the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide at ewg.org, published online each spring.
Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., a member of KIWI’s editorial advisory board, is the founder of the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey, and co-author of Treatment Alternatives for Children. Have a question for Dr. Rosen? E-mail him at [email protected]