Summer is here! The weather is finally warm enough to head out and enjoy the sunshine, but before heading out for fun and relaxation, don’t forget sunscreen... for everyone in the family!
Prevent Burning –
- Sun exposure can cause skin to turn red and become hot and painful to the touch and severe sunburns can cause skin blistering and peeling. A sunburn for a baby under one year old should be treated as an emergency and for a child one year or older, call a doctor if there is severe pain, blistering, lethargy or fever present. In both cases make sure to give your child water or juice to keep them hydrated.
- Teens tend to follow trends, and even knowing the dangers of a sunburn, may seek a tan to “look good”. Teach them about self tanners that can give them the same glow without the harmful UV rays. If your teen is active in outdoor activities or sports make sure they are wearing sunscreen. Let them pick out sunglasses and hats that they like or a cool sarong they will want to wear to the beach.
- Adults should also wear sunscreen everyday to avoid burning their skin. If you do burn, cool it down with a cool shower and moisturize while still damp. Taking an OTC anti-inflammatory can help with discomfort and swelling.
Prevent skin discoloration –
- Most discolored skin patches occur due to a difference in melanin levels. Melanin is the substance that gives your skin color and protects it from the sun. When sunscreen is skipped at any age, the melanin rises to the surface to protect the skin against burning. If the melanin is uneven in distribution this can result in a patchy discolored look. Often lack of sunscreen leads to brown spots on the face and hands, what we refer to as “age spots”. Although not as common in children we tend to see discoloration in teens that have had severe sun burns, and in older people who have had too much exposure to the sun.
Slow Down the Development of Wrinkled Premature Aging Skin
- Although children and teens seldom worry about lines on their face, their skin is aging constantly, and the sun speeds up that process. Too much tanning can lead to fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and on the face and neck in early adulthood. There are a multitude of products to “fix” this in the skin care aisle, but the damage is already done, and the skin will keep aging at an accelerated rate. As we get older the skin shows the damage more and more. Age spots, wrinkles, dry skin, red veins and blotchiness in the face are all signs of sun damage that may have occurred from the time we were very young.
Reduce the Risk of Skin Cancer and Melanoma
- We hear a lot about UV rays. These rays can affect the genetic material of the skin and this damage can lead to skin cancer. Although it is rare to see skin cancer in babies, exposure to the sun especially in their first 6 months of life can multiply the risk of developing skin cancer when they get older. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and can occur in children as well as adults. Fair skinned, light haired children are at a higher risk for melanoma, but it is important that ALL children are wearing sunscreen every day. For adults, skin cancer is the most common cancer and the most easily prevented with sun awareness and the use of sunscreen.
Wearing sunscreen everyday, avoiding the sun during the hottest hours, and wearing appropriate clothing to cover the skin are some of the best things you can do, whether you are 9 or 99. It’s great to have fun in the sun, but make sure to keep everyone safe while doing it!