Oh Mr Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun
It’s that time of year, and we all know that at some point our kiddos will be getting sunkissed. While sunshine can be a good thing (it allow our bodies to produce Vitamin D), it is mostly a health risk for skin damage and skin cancer later in life. So, please protect your kids and teens from a very real risk (1 in 20) of skin cancer.
Here’s what you need to know:
UVA-causes the skin to age and wrinkle, and can cause skin cancer. UVA is the primary component of our sun exposure
UVB-causes sunburns and can cause cataracts.
UVC-does not pass our ozone layers, so no need to worry about it!!
BE PROTECTED FROM THE SUN!
Sit in the shade, wear a hat, wear sunglasses (yes, even for the infants), avoid the strongest rays of the day (10am-4 pm).
And most importantly, WEAR SUNSCREEN!!
There are tons of options for sunscreen. It is most important to focus on the SPF (sun protection factor). Sunscreen is safe for ALL AGES. Always use an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. And do not be stingy. Apply a generous amount all over the body and face.
And, don’t forget to reapply!!! Reapply at least every 2 hours and more frequently if swimming and/or sweating. Do not believe any product that says it is waterproof.
Many parents wonder if sunscreen is dangerous for babies under six months of age (since the packages all say consult a doctor). Easy answer—yes, they are safe. Just avoid sunblocks with the chemical PABA as they are more likely to cause skin irritation.
-Julia Smith, RN, ARNP