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There's No Such Thing as a Good Tan

Pediatric dermatologist-researcher Alfred Lane, MD, offers sunscreen safety tips

'Sunburns are a sign of ultraviolet radiation damage,' warns Lane

STANFORD, Calif., May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Alfred Lane, MD, knows that kids love summer and kids love sun. However, Dr. Lane cautions, parents must remember that "there's no such thing as a good tan."

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In this new video, Lane provides guidance to help ensure your children are well-protected when they're outdoors. "Remember that if you form a tan, you will have ultraviolet radiation damage," warns Lane. "Unfortunately, the body really doesn't forget this damage. It accumulates from childhood through adolescence and adulthood, and this can lead to skin cancer." To protect your family, Lane offers tips to help kids stay safe outdoors while enjoying summer '09.

Sunscreen for infants and children

Though your sunscreen may say "not for use for those under six months of age," Lane says it's OK, but perhaps unnecessary. "You can use sunscreen on their hands, face, and exposed areas, but an alternative is to dress them in a hat, long sleeves, and long pants." Dr. Lane also suggests placing them in shade, especially since children less than six months usually stay put and don't move around that much. "But once a child is older and becomes mobile, they have more exposure to the sun's ultraviolet light, and that's when you should definitely use a sunscreen."

SPF (sun protection factor) clothing

Does SPF clothing really work? "High SPF clothing is absolutely helpful," adds Lane, who recommends combining this type of cover-up with an application of sunscreen on any exposed areas. "SPF clothing along with sunscreen definitely works."

Sticks, lotions, or sprays?

"Whether it's a stick, lotion, or spray, all are fine," says Lane, "but it's important not to use the sprays and lotions around the eyes. Instead, use a sunscreen stick around the eyes and maybe even around the lips."

Older children and young adults

"Younger children will keep high SPF sunscreen on, but older children and young adults often say it's too greasy," says Lane. "They seek a sunscreen that's more comfortable, but regardless, they need to be certain to use lotion with at least a 30 SPF. The higher the SPF, the better the protection from ultraviolet damage and skin cancer. Be certain the sunscreen is also waterproof."

View these and other tips at Alfred Lane, MD, is a pediatrician and researcher at Packard Children's Hospital and professor of dermatology and of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services, from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit

    Todd Kleinheinz

SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
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