Protect Kids from Sun

Protect Kids from Sun

Long sunny days can present a conundrum for parents—and Andrew Krakowski, MD, one of the region’s only board-certified pediatric dermatologists, understands. “We want kids to enjoy being outside. But the skin is the body’s largest organ, and it’s our primary shield against the environment. That means it takes the brunt of sun damage.”

With a bit of forethought and some simple actions, parents can help keep kids safe from sun damage.

“Be aware that certain medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun,” Dr. Krakowski explains. “For example, doxycycline is an oral antibiotic for acne that can make a sunburn more severe. Some supplements, naturopathic remedies, even common backyard plants can cause reactions.”

Basal cell carcinomas can result from chronic exposure to ultraviolet rays. “I’ve seen kids under 18 with basal cell skin cancers,” he says. “It’s rare, but it happens.” He adds that immunosuppressant drugs can also make it easier for cancerous cells to grow.

Cut back on sun exposure by encouraging outdoor playtime in the early morning or late afternoon hours, when the sun’s rays are less intense.

Wear UV-protective clothing; a higher UPF number is better. “The styles of these garments have changed,” Dr. Krakowski adds, “making it less obvious that you’re wearing something special.” “Swim shirts,” a variation on surfers’ rash guards, are becoming popular, too. They’re lightweight, waterproof, and offer good protection.

If you’re not covered by clothing, use a good sunscreen. “A good choice is a broad-spectrum screen against both UVA and UVB rays, that has an SPF rating of 50 or higher. But don’t presume that a higher rating means you can skimp on the application. “As a rule, we don’t use enough sunscreen,” he continues. “For the best effect, you should use from 1 to 1-1/2 ounces to cover your whole body.”

Dr. Krakowski offers some final advice: “Any time there’s sun-related pain, that’s a cause for alarm. And if a sunburn develops blisters, that’s a second-degree burn and needs professional evaluation.”


Dr. Krakowski recently opened his new practice, St. Luke’s Dermatology. Although he specializes in pediatric dermatology, he sees patients of all ages for conditions ranging from acne and eczema to carcinoma and melanoma. He also collaborates with other specialists to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Currently located at St. Luke’s Center Valley Health Center, he plans to establish a second office at St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Easton.

5445 Lanark Road  |  Suite 300
Center Valley  |  484-503-SKIN (7546)

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