Outsmart the Summer Sun at Any Age
From young children to teens to mature adults, there are dozens of simple ways to make skin cancer prevention a healthy habit.
These tips from Carol Drucker, MD, a dermatologist at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, help reduce risk, starting early in life:
For babies and young children
- Sunscreen should not be applied to babies younger than 6 months. Instead, cover babies and limit direct exposure to the sun.
- Make applying a waterproof sunscreen part of a toddler’s routine before dressing him/her up every day. Don’t rely on the day care providers to apply sunscreen.
- Try not to schedule outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and seek playgrounds where shade from trees or awnings is plentiful. If your children have to be outdoors during these hours, be sure they’re protected from the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Add SPF to the weekly wash. Relatively inexpensive products are available to put in the wash to add SPF protection to normal clothing for up to 20 washes.
- Teen girls who wear makeup should choose products that include sunscreen. This painless step provides valuable protection they don’t even know is there.
- Quit tanning beds. They emit the same harmful UV rays as sunlight and may be more dangerous than the sun because they can be used at the same intensity every day of the year—something that is unlikely for the sun because of winter weather and cloud cover. Try spray-on tan for teens who insist on getting color.
- Wear hats as a trendy accessory.
- Be aware that the window glass in cars does not block all the sun’s harmful rays, making the driver’s left side more prone to sun damage. Apply sunscreen before long car rides or install shades or specialized tinting in car windows.
- Sun-proof your hair. The top of the head is at greater risk for sun damage if the hair is thinner or parted. Choose hairsprays, shampoos, and conditioners with SPF (sun protection factor).
- Apply sunscreen to often-forgotten areas—the top of ears, back of hands, neck and toes.
- Wind intensifies sun damage. Be careful during water sports or windy days at the beach when the chapping and burning effect of the wind acts as an additive to UV rays and can increase risk of burning.
Published June 18, 2008
Reviewed By: Shehnaz Shaikh, MD©www.health-eheadlines.com Consumer Health News Service