Sun Damage Makes Children Susceptible to Skin Cancer

July 4, 2016

Skin cancer is thought of more as an adult disease; however, that’s a big misconception. For your child to be a candidate for skin cancer later in their life, all it takes is a few serious sunburns. It’s important to take skin protection for children into consideration from harmful solar UV rays anytime they’re outside.

Check medications

Medications can interact with sun exposure. Be sure to check that your child’s medication does not do this.

Shade is safer

Midday is not the best time to be outdoors. The sun’s harmful UV rays are at their most harmful level. Shade trees or an umbrella are good to have if being outside is unavoidable. Don’t wait until after the damage is done.

Protective clothing

Shirts and pants that are longer are good sun protectors. Clothing of woven fabric is the best. A wet T-shirt has much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors actually provide more protection than lighter ones. Some clothing has ultraviolet protection made into the fabric.

Cover their head

Hats offer good shade for the face and scalp, neck and ears. Baseball caps do not protect the ears and neck. In that case, use sunscreen to make up the difference.

Sunglasses protect

Good sunglasses protect your child’s eyes from the sun. Glasses that go around at the sides and block most of the UVA/UVB rays are best.

Be generous with sunscreen

Sunscreen SPF 30 or 50 with both UVA and UVB protection is recommended. Ideally, apply sunscreen generously half an hour before going outdoors. Remember to cover ears and nose, lips and top of feet, areas often missed and burned.

Reapply sunscreen after swimming or exercising, even if the product states water-resistant on the label. Sunscreen is not intended that children are safe to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise.

Sunburn is painful

It takes only 15 minutes for unprotected skin to be damaged by the sun. Turning pink is a bad sign. It takes up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure, so pink today will likely show up as burn tomorrow.

There’s really no way around the fact that if your skin is tanned, it is damaged. If your child’s skin is different in color after time outside, this indicates damage from UV rays. Keep sun protection handy, year-round — in your car, bag or child’s backpack — wherever you go.

Cloud cover

Damage done to skin by UV rays has nothing to do with the temperature. Clouds or cooler temperature only filter the sun’s rays and not that much. You can be fooled by this and spend far too much time (especially if you fall asleep) only to realize you have an intense sunburn.

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