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Not all age groups can use sunscreen to avoid burning

6:19 PM, Mar 27, 2012   |    comments
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By Kay Quinn Healthbeat Reporter

St. Louis (KSDK) - Our weather the last few weeks definitely calls for sunscreen, but not all age groups can wear it.

For this week's 8 Ways to Prevent Cancer segment, we look into how to avoid sunburn.

Most bottles of sunscreen tell you not to use it on infants under six months, but babies need protection from the sun more than almost any other age group.

"Both babies and children are very sensitive to ultraviolet exposure. Their melanocytes that are the protective type of cell in the skin are not yet mature," said Dr. Lynn Cornelius with the Siteman Cancer Center.

Infant skin also has a higher tendency to absorb things, compared to older children and adults. But there are ways to protect that precious baby skin.

"There are great SPF clothings that's available to infants and toddlers," said Dr. Cornelius.

If your budget's tight, consider lightweight clothing with a tight weave that covers all of the arms and legs. Have infants wear a sturdy hat or bonnet that covers the ears and back of the neck.

"And finally avoidance of exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the heaviest," said Dr. Cornelius. "Going for a walk, you can use the stroller's protective cover on it and just use these other protective things for infants zero to six months of age."

Our 8 Ways reports are in partnership with the Siteman Cancer Center.

You can send us your questions about cancer prevention by clicking here.



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