Special Report: Sun vs. Skin

TYLER (KYTX) - When you're heading out the door to the pool or beach you grab your sunblock.

Especially to protect your kids.

But did you know it only takes one severe sunburn to double your child's chances of melanoma?

It's more than applying and reapplying while you're on vacation.

Kids spend double the amount of time in the sun during summer than the rest of the year.

But we found out the magic words every parent should look for are on the back of a sunscreen bottle to make sure their child is safe.

Before Leslie Huval's kids can hit the playground in Tyler, she coats them in sunscreen.

Even if it takes a little extra effort with the youngest, Adam.

"I listened to my pediatrician because when I was a new mom I didn't apply sunscreen to myself before I had kids," says Huval.

From swinging to climbing and running, Huval makes sure Ruthie and Adam are safe from the sun.

"I don't want to burn them, the hurt, the pain and you know, with the long term damage too that's possible," says Huval.

Long term damage that builds up from sun exposure over time, especially because summer means more than just hitting the pool.

"We want them outside, we don't want them in front of the TV," says Dr. Jenni Holman with Dermatology Associates of Tyler.

Dr. Holman says it's important to treat your kids skin now.

"Your long term risk of skin cancer, deadly forms like melanoma, are influenced by how much sun you get over a lifetime. so sun protection should start very early on," says Dr. Holman.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the U.S. Every year.

It's not the most common skin cancer, but it is the most deadly.

You have options for protecting your kids.

From the basics, like a hat, to swimsuits and clothing that have U-V protection.

And when you hit the isle to find sunscreen, dermatologists say you should be looking for certain ingredients.

So pick up the bottle, and check the back.

"For my kids personally, I like sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are physical blockers from the sun," says Dr. Holman.

She says you can find those ingredients in most baby sun products.

"Keep it in the diaper bag, diaper bag goes everywhere with me, so the sunscreens with me all the time," says Huval.

And parents like Huval know it's about keeping your kids safe while they're out having fun in the East Texas sun.

One thing to keep in mind, any infant under 6 months should not be exposed directly to sunlight according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

The FDA just released new guidelines for sunscreens and sunblock that all makers will have to follow within the next year.

That includes protecting you from both UV-A and UV-B rays.


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