Summer is over and school is back in session! As we pack away the swim suits for another season, we oftentimes get a little over zealous and pack away the sunscreen as well.
The sun’s rays don’t rest which means we need to protect our family’s skin year round. This also means educating our children on sun protection. In the summer we have a little more control over making sure the kids are fully protected with sunscreen, hats and plenty of UPF clothing. However, while in school, we have to trust they are practicing some of these same habits we’ve instilled in them because the amount of time spent outside for recess, sports and other after school activities can add up!
Starting sun protection education at a young age can prevent your children from becoming a victim of skin cancer. You don’t have to scare your kids of being in the sun but do make them understand the seriousness of the issue.
If you are unsure of how to get started, try incorporating some of these tips:
Sun safety activities: Educate your children about sun safety by having them participate in fun activities. Children learn better by being able to do and experience what you are talking about. Some fun examples to try are going on a walk or hike and having your kids point out shady areas, purchase some UV-changing beads so children can visually see the impact of UV rays and be stylish at the same time! You can also take a fun trip to the zoo and talk about how other animals protect their skin from the hot summer sun (you might need to brush up on your animal facts first)! For more sun safety activities, visit the American Academy of Dermatology website.
Make it part of the daily routine: Incorporate sunscreen application as part of your daily routine. Wash face, brush teeth and put on your sunscreen! Aim for at least 30 SPF and use a method your kids won’t fight you every day to put on such as sprays, roll-ons, lotions, etc. the bottle to make it more exciting and don’t forget about yourself. Kids learn by example, be that good example!
Teach them safer tanning methods: As kids get older, the pressure is on to look a certain way and having a tan can be considered the cool thing to do. Despite all the education you have provided, it’s hard for that to outweigh peer pressure. More than likely, you will argue with your teens about going to a tanning bed, this is something to definitely stand your ground on! Use of a tanning bed before the age of 35 can increase the chance of getting melanoma by 75%!! However, if your tween and teens insist on having a tan, provide them with some safe self-tanning tools. There are many options at your local drug store to use that can give them the tanning glow they desire without the harmful UV damage.
Annual visits to your dermatologist: Start taking your kids to the dermatologist at a young age for annual skin checks. This way it can be a yearly habit you have created, so when they get out on their own, hopefully they will continue this tradition. PLUS your dermatologist could also back you up in teaching your kids the dangers of the sun.
Looking for an Asheville dermatology office? We accept patients of all ages! Contact us today.