[VIDEO] Children & Sunscreen: Safety Advice from the CDC

This summer, we’ve spent a lot of time outdoor in the pool, at the splash pad, enjoying outdoor camps and exploring our new neighborhood. Every time we got outside for an extended period I make sure to apply sunscreen. Yes, as an African-American family we wear sunscreen.  Regardless of your complexion, any time spent in the sun can put your family at risk for sunburn and skin cancer. So I went straight to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for sunscreen safety advice. You can hear the dos and don’ts for purchasing, applying and re-applying sunscreen. Watch my video interview below, see the myths and truths about sunscreen – then use the social sharing tools to make sure more families see it!

WATCH: Children & Sunscreen Safety Advice from the CDC


Myth: SPF 100 is better than SPF 50.

Truth: The FDA says sunscreens with SPF 50 and above provide about the same amount of protection as SPF 50.


Myth: African-Americans and people with darker complexions are not at risk for skin cancer.

Truth: People with darker complexions also need sun protection and are at risk for skin cancer.

[Tweet “People with darker complexions also need sun protection and are at risk for skin cancer.”]

Even as a dark-skinned African American woman, I got tan lines from sitting on the beach for a 30 minutes on the beach in Belize.

Sunscreen Safety Advice


Myth: Never use sunscreen spray on children.

Truth: Although the FDA recommends no longer using sunscreen spray on children and recommends using lotion, if you only have a sunscreen spray – spray it on to your hands, then rub it on to the child’s skin. Sunscreen sprays can pose a breathing risk.

Myth: Sunscreens are waterproof.

Truth: Waterproof labeling is no longer allowed on sunscreen. Look for sunscreen that’s water-resistant and is labeled for how often it must be re-applied.

[Tweet “Look for children’s sunscreen that’s water-resistant NOT waterproof.”]

children and sunscreen

These are my affiliate links: I choose Banana Boat Kids lotion SPF 50 that’s water-resistant for A.J. and for myself, I recently purchased Banana Boat Ultra Mist Spray SPF 50.

Dr. Gery Guy from the CDC recommends that families take a multi-layered approach to sun protection by wearing hats, sporting sunglasses and seeking shade at peak times of the day.

For more sun protection advice and research, visit the CDC Skin Cancer information site.

Comment below: What’s your family’s best sun protection tip? How important is the SPF number when you select a sunscreen?

sunscreen for african americans


You may recall our December Carnival Cruise Line vacation where we enjoyed the beach and on-board activities. We wore sunscreen daily!

A.J. Carnival Cruise Port



About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. I’ve read a lot lately about sunscreen and kids. We switched from using an aerosol to lotion – to make sure they’re better protected.

  2. I always apply sunscreen liberally, and I always reapply often. “Waterproof” sunscreen is an absolute myth.

  3. This is great information about sunscreen safety and myths. Many of my family members have had skin cancer so sun safety is important to me.

  4. Love this! Great info. It’s so very important to have and know all this information especially when sunscreen and kids are concerned!

  5. I HATE spray sunscreen… even when folks upwind spray like 12 inches away from their skin – that’s not helping anyone! I’m very mindful of our ingredients and spfs. Always 35-50 for my redheads.

  6. I think it’s important to find the balance between sun protection and getting enough Vitamin D. We really like mineral sunscreens!

  7. We are outdoors all the time and I try to be diligent about protecting the kids. Now I just need to remember myself!

  8. This is great information. The sun has been killer lately! I didn’t know that that SPF above 50 didn’t make much of a difference!

  9. We stock up on a lot of sunscreens in the summer. We have a swimming pool at home and my kids literally live in it all summer! I’m the ‘put on your sunscreen before you head out’ motivator at home, lol! Thanks for sharing this message from CDC- it’s very important to protect one’s skin from all the harmful effects of the sun any day of the year- not just in the summer!

  10. I live in Florida. My biggest tip is RE-APPLY RE-APPLY RE-APPLY! It’s so important for our skin.

  11. Hmm, this is very interesting! I usually buy 60SPF for my kids just to be on the safe side.

  12. Thanks for all the info. I never thought I believed on those myths till today! Thank you for sharing this!

  13. Oh, I never thought about the darker complexion. I will share this to all my friends so they will be aware of it.

  14. Sun safety is one of our ultimate concerns in the summer! We have had a few people in our family deal with skin cancer in the past so we are all about gathering sun safety tips!

    • A few celebrities have been outspoken about their skin cancer issues and that helps folks become more aware.

  15. I love reading post like this, you learn so much from them especially about safety for the whole family. It’s important that we have sunscreen especially during the summer. A lot of people have no idea about the risks of skin cancer. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

  16. Thanks for sharing this, it’s great to hear from an expert! I like how he mentioned there are two types of sunscreen – chemical based and reflective based (think zinc oxide). Some of the chemicals in the chemical based suncreens (oxybenzone) have been linked to cancer and other diseases. I ALWAYS use mineral/zinc oxide based sunscreens to avoid potentially exposing my kids to these chemicals.

  17. Great tips! I honestly did not know kids were not to use the sunscreen spray anymore. Good to know!

  18. Love the advice! Sunscreen can be a bit confusing but these tips make it easier to understand. One thing to add, make sure to choose a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum”. This means you’ll get UVB and UVA protection. Without it you are only getting UVB coverage but both cause skin damage.

  19. I had to learn the hard way that some of these myths aren’t true. My kids have dark skin but they always have screen on.

  20. Good tips! Re-application is key. As is making sure you don’t miss any spots – like the tops of feet! Nothing worse than a sunburn in one weird splotchy spot!

  21. My god-daughter are mixed and they need tons of sun screen because they get even darker in the sun. We always put SPF 50 on them! Such a great reminder because I’m headed to the beach with them next week!

  22. I have red hair and fair skin. That’s not a good combination in the sun, so I heed all the warnings I can when I go out. Of course, the best thing is to just not go out in the sun, so that’s what I try to do.

  23. Oh, this is very informative. I heard many myths about sunscreen and I am so glad you cleared them to me.

  24. This post is awesome. Super informative for any parent and I loved that it debunked some sunscreen myths!