We often hear the phrase “less is more,” but when it comes to kids, sunscreen use and educating teens about the dangers of sun exposure, more is definitely more. A of kids and sun exposure revealed that on average, we apply only 1/4 to 1/2 of the necessary amount of sunscreen required to adequately protect us from harmful UV rays. Exposure to sunlight one to two hours before and after the sun reaches its daytime peak are the most dangerous times to be in the sun for your skin.
Sun exposure is a hot topic for children, as exposure to sunlight is typically higher during childhood, when it’s also the most dangerous. Childhood sun exposure increases the risk of melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — later in life. Slathering up the little kids is easier, but teens are into tans. In good news, research also revealed that while teens resist wearing sunscreen because it’s uncool, just two weeks of education about skin cancer and premature aging produced a definite attitude adjustment.
Though the European Union simply recommends avoidance of sun exposure for children, time in the sun is reportedly the best way to prevent vitamin D deficiency. Plus, kids need to go outside and play.
How to protect your skin this summer:
- Avoid sun exposure from two hours before peak sunlight to two hours after.
- Consider avoiding chemical sun filtering agents, and looking for natural agents such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — as well as protective clothing, hats and shade.
- When using sunscreen, apply it liberally and often.
- Wear hats and sunglasses.
- Educate teens about cancer and premature aging to help get sunscreen past the “cool” barrier.
With a bit of education and planning, we can all enjoy our time in the sun.