Healthy Living Blog – Sun Protection for Youth
It’s best to start early when teaching kids about sun protection. More young people are being diagnosed with skin cancer. Getting sunburn during childhood is linked to a higher risk of developing skin cancer. It’s important for children to form good sun protection habits that will last as they get older.
All children, 6 months and older, should wear sunscreen. Sunscreen for effective protection includes:
- Broad spectrum that blocks all UV rays (UVA and UVB).
- SPF 30 or higher.
Effective sun protection also requires correct sunscreen application.
- Apply sunscreen to exposed skin at least 30 minutes before heading outside, in both sunny and cloudy weather.
- Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Always check the expiration date of sunscreen. If it’s expired, throw it out and buy a new one.
Proper sunscreen use is also needed for children with darker skin. Darker-skinned children most likely tan instead of getting sunburned. Tanning is a sign of sun damage that contributes to the risk of skin cancer.
More than just sunscreen
These are other ways to protect children’s skin:
- Wear hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing. If children are swimming, they can choose to wear rash guards in the water because they are sun-protective.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Sun protection habits are modeled after parents. Parents have to make sure to practice sun protective behaviors so that children can follow positive examples.
Tanning safety for teens
Teens who don’t naturally tan may turn to sunbathing at the beach or indoor tanning. Tanning in the sun or in a tanning bed exposes the skin to UV rays that damage the skin and increases the risk for skin cancer.
What are the options for damage-free tanning? Sunless self-tanning is an option! This is a safe and inexpensive way for people to achieve a bronzed look. Self-tanners contain the ingredient DHA that stains dead cells in the skin’s outer layer with a tan color. Self-tanners can last from several days to a week. When going outdoors, it’s important to use sunscreen and practice other sun-protective behaviors because self-tanners do not protect the skin from the sun.
Have questions or curious to learn more? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!