Best Practices to Protect Yourself From Sun Overexposure
posted by The Live Better Team | May 23, 2016
Summer means longer days and more time for outdoor family fun. While you’re always mindful of protecting your children and keeping them safe from harm, one of the most important things you can do to safeguard their health and prevent cancer as they grow is to protect them from overexposure to the sun now.
“If sunscreens were used regularly by children through the age of 18, there would be a 72 percent reduction in the cases of skin cancer later in life.” (Cleveland Clinic)
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, reports the Skin Cancer Organization, and approximately 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, a proven human carcinogen. Surprisingly, more people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking. Just five sunburns can double your child’s risk for melanoma.
The UV radiation in tanning beds is equally unsafe, cautions the Skin Cancer Organization:
Using a tanning bed 10 or more times in your life gives you a 34 percent increased risk of developing melanoma compared to those who have never used tanning beds.
Individuals who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.
Surprisingly, more people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
Minimizing time in the sun is the best way to protect your family’s skin from sun damage, but there are other easy precautions you can take this summer. Be especially vigilant about protection from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sunburn-causing ultraviolet rays are strongest.
The American Cancer Society’s catchphrase “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap” is a fun way to help your children practice safe sun exposure.
Slip on a protective shirt or cover-up, and choose a dark color that absorbs more UV rays than lighter colors. Some clothing features UPF labels that indicate the ultraviolet protection factor.
Slop on a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays with a sun protection factor (SPF) value of 30 or higher. Sunscreens are safe for children over age 6 months, although newborns should be shielded from the sun. If anyone in your family has had skin cancer or a precancerous condition such as actinic keratoses, use a sunscreen with an even higher SPF.
Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours while you are outdoors, and if your family goes swimming or you perspire heavily, reapply even more frequently. Women should apply sunscreen under makeup, and everyone needs a thick layer (approximately 2 tablespoons, or 1 ounce) spread over all exposed body parts, including the head, neck, ears, and face.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, and approximately 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun
Slap on a hat with at least a three-inch brim to protect your eyes, forehead, scalp, ears, and nose. Look for breathable fabrics such as natural straw. Choose styles with cooling features like mesh grommets for airflow and an interior sweatband for comfortable moisture wicking.
Wrap on 99 percent UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them. Close-fitting frames keep sunlight from reaching your eyes from above and beyond the periphery of your glass lenses.
Remember to perform head-to-toe examinations on yourself and your children every month, and visit your dermatologist once a year for a professional skin exam. Revere Health Dermatology has three Utah locations where board-certified dermatologists offer cutting-edge diagnostics and treatments to keep your entire family safe and protected through every season of the year.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.