UV Awareness Month—Summer Skin Protection for Kids
Skin is the largest organ and our first line of defense against the elements. It holds our bodies together, covering about 20 square feet and weighing about 6 pounds. It’s important to talk to your kids about proper skin protection.
The statistics are alarming. It is estimated that one million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. That’s more than all other types of cancer combined. Over 10,000 Americans (more than one per hour) will die from the disease.
The incidence of malignant melanoma in the U. S. has been increasing faster than any other type of cancer and has doubled since 1973. The annual incidence rate of melanoma in Colorado is higher than the national average. This year in Colorado, it is estimated that there will be 1,180 new cases of melanoma and 128 deaths from the disease.1
While we don’t want to scare children, we cannot ignore the long-term impact of sun damage. Often the sun’s rays hurt kid’s skin, showing up years later as wrinkles, spots or skin cancer. With this in mind, kids and teens need to learn about UV sun safety and make sun protection part of their daily lives.
Begin When They’re Young: A Parent’s Guide to Sun Protection
Teach kids about the sun’s damaging rays and repeat, repeat, repeat. Here are seven things they should do:
Wear protective clothing.
Apply broad spectrum 30+ SPF sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days.
Wear a hat.
Wear sunglasses to protect eyes.
Use an umbrella for shade.
Find outside shade when possible (i.e. trees, buildings).
Avoid tanning beds.
To learn more or find activities to engage your kids, the American Academy of Dermatology has educational tools. Download  file:///C:/Users/gelf0/Downloads/gigi-giraffe-childrens-poster.pdf
Be Careful during Peak Sun Hours
The sun’s UV rays are at their strongest between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm. Make sure kids know remember that time of day before they head outside to play and protect themselves.
Use Sunscreen Year Around
Make sunscreen application a habit. Add it to the morning routine after brushing teeth in the morning. Put sunscreen near the doors of your home and in your car.
No Such Thing as Waterproof Sunscreen
No sunscreens are truly waterproof, but some are designed to adhere to the skin better in water than others. It’s important to reapply all sunscreens every two hours, even “waterproof” or “water resistant” when kids are playing sports, swimming or just outside.
Serve as the Role Model
We’ve all heard the saying: Do what I say not what I do. And we know it doesn’t change children’s behavior over the long haul. Remember to be an example for kids by protecting your skin.
Talk about Sun Safety with Your Pediatric Dermatologist
Freckles from the sun, severe burns or damage below the surface today can cause major problems later.  Call our office to set up a skin check for your child or teen with Dr. Holly Paugh, our board certified general and pediatric dermatologist. She can help your kids to understand the importance to UV protection. Click here to schedule an appointment with her.
No Such Thing as a Healthy Tan
Tanning is a no-no. The sun’s rays and tanning beds damage the skin in obvious and subtle ways. Tans won’t last but sun damage will.
Start discussions early and create healthy habits to protect your children.
1National Cancer Institute American Cancer Society