Sunscreen use in children:

For infants and children younger than 2 years:

Infants and children younger than 2 years should be kept out of direct sunlight and sunscreen products should not be used in infants younger than 6 months because they have thinner epidermis layer that can result in an increased absorption of topical products.

Between 6 months and 2 years-old, if sun exposure is unavoidable, skin should be protected with clothing first, then an inorganic sunscreen agent should be applied to the remaining unprotected skin (Julian et al., 2015). Only inorganic agents are recommended in this age group since they are less irritating to the skin and not as easily absorbed as organic agents (Julian et al., 2015).

In toddlers and school-age children:  both organic and inorganic agents can be used. If the child is exposed to sun, a broad-spectrum SPF 30  should be applied at a thickness of 2 mm/cm2 every 2 hours keeping in mind the labelled time limits for water resistance and increasing the frequency of application as required in case of sweating or water exposure. Aerosol and spray sunscreens should be used with caution and in well-ventilated areas or better avoided in children with known respiratory disorder (Julian et al., 2015).

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In adolescent and teen patients: Studies have shown that sunscreen use decreases in this age group. Thus, they should be counselled against the practise of tanning and advised about proper sun protection and sunscreen use (Julian et al., 2015). 

References:

Julian E., Palestro A.M., Thomas J.A. (2015). Pediatric Sunscreen and Sun Safety Guidelines Clinical Pediatrics, 54 (12), pp. 1133 – 1140.

Latha M.S., Martis J., Shobha V., Sham Shinde R., Bangera S., Krishnankutty B., … Naveen Kumar B.R. (2013). Sunscreening Agents: A Review. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology6(1), pp.16–26.

Mancuso J.B., Maruthi R., Wang S.Q. et al. (2017). Sunscreens: An Update. Am J Clin Dermatol, 18, p. 643.

Ngan V. (2005). Topical sunscreen agents. DermNet [online]. Available at: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/topical-sunscreen-agents/ (accessed 15 July 2018)

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