One of the most common diseases is skin cancer, which is also one of the most hazardous. However, the good news is that most skin cancers have a 99% survival rate when diagnosed and treated early. And it’s very preventable!
Skin damage comes from two different ranges of UV rays:
- UVB rays are just as hazardous as UVA rays, but they're known to be a primary cause of melanoma skin cancer if you experience severe sunburns under the age of 20. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength but a considerably greater energy level than UVA rays. As a result, UVB rays are the most damaging to the skin's top layer because they directly harm DNA. Despite the fact that just 5% of UVB rays reach the earth's surface, they remain the most common cause of skin cancers and sunburns.
- UVA rays are the primary cause of melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer. These rays have longer wavelengths than UVB rays. However, they have lower energy levels by entering the skin deeply, inflicting harm to the skin's cells indirectly. UVA rays are often associated with aging as their effects have been linked with premature aging, wrinkles, and fine lines. Unlike UVB rays, UVA rays aren’t absorbed by the ozone layer, so 95% of UV rays that enter the ground are UVA rays.
Skin cancer and other UV damage can be avoided by building solid and healthy sun protection behaviors in children.
To help you know exactly what to practice, here are some sun safety tips that you may teach your children as a habit. By starting early, the hope is that these habits will stick with them into adulthood and prevent a future skin cancer diagnosis.
- When applying sunscreen, remember to use a teaspoon method. You need to re-apply this every two hours for this to be effective.
- Our bodies need water, and sun exposure can lead to dehydration, so we must stay hydrated. Ensure that fresh, chilled water, sports drinks, or 100% juice are ready and available to rehydrate your child during play.
- Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF30+ will protect your kids from UVA and UVB rays, and remember to look for clean or cruelty-free options to reduce your impact.
- If your teen insists on having a warm bronze tone, consider using tinted lotion instead of letting them tan. Take note that any discoloration of your child’s skin is a sign of sun damage, increasing their chances of developing skin cancer.
- If your baby is under six months old, please keep them out of the sun! Sunscreen isn’t recommended for kiddos under six months, so the shade will need to protect them until they are old enough.
- Don’t forget to wear apparel that will cover and shield your child from the sun. Use clothing made from tightly woven cloth that offers SPF protection.
In this infographic from The Derm Review, you'll find more tips that can help you prevent your kids from the danger of the sun— your loved ones will be safer in your care if you follow these helpful tips.