Teens and sunscreen – how do I get my african american albino daughter to use it?

Greeting Dr I, firstly would like to complement you on a fantastic job of keeping us well informed and calm as regards skin care and products. My question revolves around my daughter who is albino of African decent. She is currently 18 and does have I believe to be hormonal acne. I would appreciate it if you could recommend a skin care regiment and product line for her. As you know albino skin wrinkles easily, and does tend to get leathery. I must point out at this juncture that my daughter is a bit of a Tom boy and getting her to take care of her skin is a bit of a chore. Please help.. I am worried about issues of skin cancer and prevent such. Worried Mum

I’m glad you wrote because this is a universal problem we moms have and it’s even more important for kids who are albino or redheads who have a very great risk of skin cancer in their lifetimes!  Since I have 3 teens, here are some strategies I’ve used.  Realize it just won’t be perfect because they are becoming their own people, just do the best you can.


Some ideas on sunscreen compliance:


  • Make it easy with the spray sunscreens or the brush powders like the ColorScience Powder sunscreen SPF 30. The sprays aren’t as effective in general because most don’t have enough zinc or titanium. The Colorscience is the best I’ve found and wears like iron in the water and through sweat.
  • Get a really cute rashguard shirt for her to wear – try J Crew or the surfer online sites
  • Take her shopping for some cute hats
  • Try intelligent bribery like, if you can get through this month with no sunburns at all, I’ll take you out to dinner at your favorite place or something like that
  • Get her some oversized shirts to put over a swimsuit after being in the water
  • Get her a fun after sun lotion to put on in one of her favorite scents, coconut is nice.


There are so many options for acne now both prescription and nonprescription that I wouldn’t be able to give a good answer without seeing her.  Is there a good dermatologist nearby or her family doctors who could help you both with the acne part?


Dr. I


See cosmetic dermatology recommendations on sun protection.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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