Sunscreen concerns when protecting young children

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Chances are your summer plans include some time outdoors.

July is U-V Safety Awareness Month and in this Sinclair Cares report, Jennifer Gilbert offers some expert advice on protecting you and your family from the damaging rays of the sun.

With three-month old twins, Ezra and Enzo, mom Bryn Brice has a lot to juggle.

“They’re so much joy and happiness and love.” Bryn said.

On this visit to the pediatrician, Aunt Skylar is there with an extra set of hands.

Skin cancer runs in their family.

So, Bryn is concerned about protecting her babies.

“Just make sure that their skin stays nice and intact. no skin cancer, any of that. We're very afraid of that. always use sunscreen, always,” Byrn said.

But recent reports have caused alarm about the safety of sunscreens and the potential of harmful chemicals being absorbed through the skin.

Recently, the FDA asked manufacturers to provide additional information on 12 common chemicals, including oxybenzone, which may be the most problematic.

“The concern with oxybenzone is that there is evidence that it is absorbed through the skin. Animal studies suggest that it may interfere with the function of hormones, including estrogen. But there hasn’t been enough research yet to determine if its harmful to people,” said Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that parents avoid using sunscreens with oxybenzone on children.

Dr. MIchael Zollicoffer, pediatrician at Sinai hospital in Baltimore, recommends a common sense approach.

“Avoid the sun, number one, you won't have to worry about the controversies. But if you do have to go, keep your time to a limit. if you have to do that, continue to always put your sunblocks on, if you're concerned about the ones out on the market you can always used mineral sunblocks.

And remember to reapply frequently.

There are about five million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year. More than 90 percent attributed to U-V exposure.

So, if you're going to be in the sun, experts say it is a bad idea to skip the sunscreen altogether.