Image by Hryckowian via Flickrby Ernestine Clagge
Childhood should be a carefree and playful time. Unfortunately, the time kids' spend playing can be putting them at risk of developing a future case of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is a disease caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. It's extremely important that we protect our children's delicate skin from the sun's damaging rays, minimizing their chance of developing skin cancer later on in life.
Children must learn the facts about skin cancer. By learning at an early age about the dangers of the sun, our kids will be better prepared to protect themselves for a lifetime. The more that children experience unprotected exposure to the sun, the more likely they are to suffer from permanent skin damage or even skin cancer.
Even the youngest child can experience sun damage. The first time a child is exposed to the sun, he or she is considered to be at risk for melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. One blistering sunburn during childhood can double the risk of melanoma later in life. Reducing unprotected exposure to the sun is the only sure way to prevent your child's skin from burning. If you can do this, you'll decrease his or her chances of developing skin cancer in adulthood.
Children with red or fair hair, green or blue eyes and kids with freckles face the highest risks of developing skin cancer. Still, it is possible for children with darker hair, pigment and complexions to become afflicted with this terrible disease. Children of African or Hispanic descent are very much at risk.
Pay particular attention to sun safety if anyone in your family has a history of melanoma or other types of skin cancer. No one in your family is too young for this dreadful disease. There is even a rising trend of teenagers being diagnosed with skin cancer. These frightful statistics include diagnoses of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Children and teens naturally love to be independent, making their own choices about everything and anything. That's why it's so important for you to be a good role model. Begin practicing safe sun routines when your children are infants, and they will grow up with the knowledge and understanding needed to make their own smart choices.
Use sunscreen and hats regularly, and explain why tanning beds should be avoided. Those artificial rays created by tanning beds can be every bit as dangerous as natural UV rays.
The following "safe sun" methods can help protect your children from dangerous sunburn:
* Don't schedule outdoor activities during peak sunlight hours. Instead, make sure that your children restrict their outdoor playtime to the hours before 11 am and after 3 pm. Their skin has a better chance of burning during midday and early afternoon hours, when the sun's UV rays are really beating down.
* On cool days, the sun is every bit as dangerous. Even when the temperature drops, you and your kids are still at risk. Those UV rays are out in full force, even when you don't feel the heat. Take your cue from the professional skiers, and protect yourself, and your kids, even when the weather is cool.
* Encourage your kids to dress in lightweight protective clothing during the summer months. Wide-brimmed hats to protect their faces, necks and ears are an absolute must. Proper hats and clothing can reduce direct exposure to harmful UV rays by 50%.
* Protect your children with sunscreen or sun block that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Waterproof formulas offer the best degree of prolonged protection, but must be reapplied as children swim or work up a sweat playing outdoors.
* Certain fabrics can keep sunlight from seeping through, and block the UV rays. Purchase clothing made of closely-woven fabrics for added protection.
* Plan outdoor activities in shady areas and encourage your kids to play there. UV rays can and will reflect, so children still need to wear their hats and sunscreen, even under a shade.
As parents, we need to take every precaution to protect our children. Making wise choices for outdoor protection is a lesson that children can and should learn at an early age, so they'll continue to be "sun smart" as teens and adults as well.
About the Author
Essayist Ernestine Clagge contributes articles to numerous popular web magazines, on health discovery and healthy living topics.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Image by Hryckowian via Flickrby Ernestine Clagge
Posted by Roger Carr at 10:31 PM
Friday, October 31, 2008
Image by Rickydavid via Flickr
Why Sun Protection is Still Important in winter
Although you might not realize it, the sun is actually out 365 days every single year. We associate winter with dull skies and plenty of rain and sometimes snow, but we barely think about the trouble that the sun can still cause. The sun does not necessarily have to be hot for it to be damaging, and it is possible to get damaged by its rays, even if it is hazy and cloudy. Though clouds do block a lot of the suns rays, they still only block 20% of the harmful rays, meaning that the other 80% still gets to us.
In winter, you can even get burnt and damaged by the sun, even if there is snow on the ground. The sun easily reflects off the snow and it can bounce up to 90% of the suns rays back up at you. So always take precautions even in winter!
The Precautions You Can Take
Usually we do not go around in bikinis during the winter months. This means that we do not really have to worry about most of our bodies. However, our faces are always exposed to the sun so it is important to protect them.
A lot of skin care products these days come with sun protection in them. Make up has also started introducing sun protection into it, and often a foundation has a sun protection factor of around 15. This is quite good and it is definitely a good idea to opt for make up which has got sun protection factor in it. Otherwise, you could buy a sun tan lotion and apply that to your face. Some other precautions you can take include:
Stay Away From Sunbeds
Staying away from sunbeds is another good tip as they still expose our skin to UV rays. In fact, most people tend to flock to salons in winter if they live in a country with a colder climate, just to top up their tans so that they can look healthy all through winter. This is really harmful to the skin and is just as bad as exposing it to sun in the summer months. Try and limit your use of a sunbed if you cannot tear yourself away completely, and remember, any tan is unhealthy, unless of course it comes out of a bottle!
Be Careful Whilst Participating in Winter Sports
When you think of winter sports, you do not think of the sun. However, often skiers find that the sun is disastrous sometimes, and the importance of covering up is essential. Not only can the sun blind skiers whilst they are going down the slopes, but it can also play havoc with their skin. It is essential that you cover up properly when participating in any winter sport. Sunglasses and sun protection factor should always be worn and gloves are an absolute must. When gliding down those slopes, the snow and ice can easily cause the hands to become chapped and sore and it is easy to develop frost bite. So always keep them covered up and wear adequate sun tan lotion!
Overall the sun in winter is just as bad for you as it is in summer, only you are more away of the risks in summer. As long as you wear sun tan lotion and stay out of the sun as much as possible, you should be OK. You simply just have be aware of the risks and take precautions just as you would in Summer.
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Monday, February 04, 2008
Baby Sun Protection
By Jenny Schweyer
You may have heard the advice that it's best to keep a baby out of the sun entirely. This can be a challenge, especially with babies that are a little bit older: old enough to protest being covered up by a blanket, but too young to let you know he's getting a sunburn or to move out of the sun into a shady spot. So what's a parent to do? After all, it's important to give your baby outside play time too. So how do you balance the need for fun and exercise with the need to protect your baby's skin? By using the right baby sun protection.
Experts recommend that babies under six months old NEVER be exposed to direct sunlight. There are a number of reasons for this. First, its common sense that baby's skin is more sensitive than an older child's or adult's skin, and therefore more susceptible to sun damage. In fact, a baby's skin is thinner and will burn and sustain long-term UV damage in a much shorter time than children or adults, and once the damage is done it can never be undone. Baby sun protection is important due to the fact that babies have more skin per square inch of body mass than children and adults, so a sunburn would be much more serious (and painful) for a baby. Unfortunately, baby's sensitive skin may not be very tolerant of sunscreen either. In fact, opinion is still divided as to whether it is safe for babies younger than six months to wear sunscreen. Since a baby's thin skin may absorb more of the sunscreen than a child or adult's skin would, and since it was not known what the long-term effects of sunscreen would be, experts once recommended that parents not use sunscreen on babies under six months. More recently, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics have stated that no adverse effects have been noted from the use of sunscreen on young babies/infants. However, sunburns do pose a significant danger to babies, and so it may be appropriate to use sunscreen on babies younger than six months. However, it is better, if possible, to simply eliminate sun exposure altogether for this age group by using sun protective clothing, sunglasses, hats, blankets, covered strollers, etc.
If you are a parent, you know the challenges that begin when babies become more mobile. While an infant won't object to having a blanket draped over his carrier or car seat an older baby will most certainly balk at this. Experts agree that babies six months and older can and should be covered with a layer of sunscreen on a daily basis, and certainly when they are outside. This way, when blankets fail or baby insists on having the roof removed from his stroller he will be protected from the sun's UV rays. Don't forget to protect baby from the sun during long car rides too. While the car's windows will block some of the sun's UV rays, a few of them do manage to pass through and babies have been known to sustain serious sunburns while riding in car seats, so baby sun protection is vital in the car too.
It's important to be vigilant when baby is in the sun. Sunscreen should not be an excuse for indifference. You wouldn't give your child a lifejacket and then walk away from him while he swims in a lake. Neither should you put sunscreen on a baby and then assume he's protected for the rest of the day. Sunscreen is only one step in the process of UV protection, and should be considered the least effective one. Babies should be dressed in UV protective clothing if possible. This doesn't mean you should be tempted, though, to put long sleeves on your baby in July to protect him from the sun. Babies should always be dressed in a manner that you would dress yourself. If it's 90Ú outside you probably wouldn't put on a sweatshirt, so don't dress baby in one either. Babies are at a greater risk of overheating than adults are, so t-shirts and shorts are best when the temperature soars. Instead, stick to shady areas when outdoors. Putting a wide-brimmed hat on baby will offer more shade when a tree isn't available, and don't forget to protect his eyes with sunglasses. If you do take baby to the park or the pool limit the amount of time he is in direct sunlight to 15 minutes at a time. Then spend 15 minutes in the shade, and take time to examine his skin for signs of sunburn, and reapply sunscreen if necessary.
Dressing your baby in UV protective clothing can greatly decrease his risk of sun damage. Using UV protective clothing will allow him to remain cool in hot weather, while still having an extra layer of sun protection. Be sure you apply sunscreen under the clothing, not just to the parts of his skin that are exposed to sunlight. Sunscreen plus clothing plus hats/sunglasses equal layers of protection that will keep your baby's skin safe, and ultimately protect his health. So make baby sun protection a priority every time you go out, even for short periods of time. It only takes a few extra minutes, and may provide a lifetime of protection for his health.
Mountain Baby http://www.mountainbaby.com/
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California Baby http://www.californiababy.com/
baby sun protection, baby, sun, sunscreen
Posted by Roger Carr at 9:59 PM
Sunday, August 28, 2005
One question that I have been asked several times is “what does the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating mean?” It is an important question since our long-term health could be affected by how well we protect ourselves from sun damage.
Until recently, sun protective fabrics have been rated with either a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and/or UPF rating based on the type of testing done. Now the rating for all sun protective fabrics is moving to UPF. However, SPF will remain the standard rating for items such as sunscreens. Tests to determine SPF and UPF ratings are done differently. I don't believe you can make a direct comparison between the two.
The UPF rating indicates how much of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is absorbed by the fabric (and not your skin). The higher the UPF rating, the more you are protected. For example, a UPF 20 rating means that only 1/20th of the UV radiation will go through the fabric. So, you will reduce your skin's UV radiation exposure by 20 times. This is only true in the locations of your body where the fabric is covering you.
A rating of UPF 50 is the highest rating. UPF 50+ means that the fabric protects better than the rating of UPF 50. There are three categories for sun protective clothing:
- Good UV Protection - UPF 15 to 24
- Very Good UV Protection - UPF 25 to 39
- Excellent UV Protection - UPF 40 to 50
For more information on the UPF rating for sun protective clothing, read the Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov/) article "Sun-Protective Clothing: Wear It Well." I not only want you to enjoy your time outdoors, but I want you to enjoy your time after being outdoors.
Posted by Roger Carr at 11:42 PM
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
I love summer! Summer is my favorite season of the year. I love playing sports outside and walking on the beach. I especially enjoy being at an outdoor barbecue. Maybe you enjoy summer activities as well. Imagine with me for a moment being at an outdoor barbecue. Just a little distance away from you there’s a swimming pool full of kids who are having fun playing, laughing and splashing in the water. In another spot there might be a horseshoe game playing. You can hear the “clank” of the horseshoes hitting the posts as the players are trying to get a ringer. And of course there’s the barbecue grill. On the grill might be hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken or steaks. The only thing better than the smell coming from the grill is the taste of the food when it’s time to eat. Can you just imagine the fun that you will have this summer?
Now fast forward with me a few hours. You are at home and your skin is starting to itch. Just before bedtime you’re taking your shirt or blouse off to get into your bed clothes and just the material rubbing up against your skin is painful. When you do go to bed that evening you toss and turn trying to get into a position that isn’t painful so that you can go to sleep. However, you spend hours awake only thinking about the pain that your body is experiencing instead of the tremendous fun you had that day. What is the reason for this itching and pain? You have probably guessed it. You have a sunburn!
Fortunately you can do something about it before it happens. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided us with some steps that we can take to help reduce our chance of having to deal with sun damage. These seven simple action steps are as follows:
1. Limit Time in the Midday Sun - The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
2. Wear a Hat - A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
3. Cover Up - Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-length clothing is a good way to protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.
4. Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation -Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage. Check the label when buying sunglasses.
5. Always Use Sunscreen - Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher liberally on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or after working, swimming, playing, or exercising outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat, or spend extended periods of time in the water.
6. Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors - The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps damages the skin and unprotected eyes. It's a good idea to avoid artificial sources of UV light.
7. Watch for the UV Index - The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.
Why am I telling you about these simple action steps that can help protect you from the sun? I want you to have fun this summer. I want you to have fun this summer under the sun.
Posted by Roger Carr at 9:59 AM
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
A secret has been revealed in the news over the past few weeks. I was a part of that secret. What was the secret you ask? Men are now using skin care products as a part of their daily activities!
I started a few months ago due to something I learned about myself. I had my picture taken. Not just a standard picture. I had my picture taken with a special ultraviolet camera and light that shows damaged skin due to exessive sun exposure. First they took a picture of my face with standard light. Although not a flattering picture, it looked like I expected. Then they took a picture of my face with the ultraviolet light. What did I look like? I looked like I had a face FULL of freckles. Only these freckles weren't the cute ones that would have showed up in the first picture. They showed that I have a significant amount of sun damage. I guess my early years of working and playing outside all summer long with little or no sun protection is catching up with me.
It is common knowledge that sun damaged skin will cause premature signs of aging skin (wrinkling, "leathery" appearance and feel, etc.) as well as being a cause of skin cancer. So, I decided to do something about it. One of those things is to take better care of my skin. I am using skin care products that have a sunscreen built in. These same products also contain enzymes that can help speed cell renewal in sun damaged skin.
Yes, the secret is out. I am using skin care products every day. My wife says my complexion is also better because of it. I look forward to having my picture taken in the future. Maybe my complexion isn't the only thing that is improving.
Posted by Roger Carr at 11:24 PM
Thursday, November 18, 2004
What outdoor activities did you do this past summer? Maybe you went on a vacation to the beach. Maybe you spent some time playing your favorite sports such as baseball, golf, or tennis. Maybe you went swimming or had a barbeque in the backyard with family and friends. Regardless of the outdoor activities you did over the summer, most likely you were aware that it was important to protect yourself from sun while outdoors.
Now winter is approaching. I am turning my attention to putting away my summer items to make room for the winter ones; long sleeve shirts for short sleeve ones, corduroy pants for shorts, and boots for sandals. Most of the sports equipment I have been using is going to get put away as well. But what about those items I have been using to protect myself from the sun? Things like my sunscreens, sunglasses, and sun protective hats and clothing.
You may be putting these items away and not using them during the winter. The National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention reported in their January 2003 newsletter that research shows only 3 percent of Americans routinely wear sunscreen during the fall months, and only 2 percent during the winter months. However, you can still get a sunburn and snow blindness during these months. The colder temperatures do not block the UV rays and reflections off the snow and higher altitudes can make matters even worse. You may be causing yourself significant, long-term damage by not properly protecting yourself.
How do you protect yourself from the winter sun (or any other season)? Follow these simple sun safety action steps recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency:
- Limit Time in the Midday Sun - The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.
- Wear a Hat - A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
- Cover Up - Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-length clothing is a good way to protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.
- Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation -Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage. Check the label when buying sunglasses.
- Always Use Sunscreen - Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher liberally on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or after working, swimming, playing, or exercising outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat, or spend extended periods of time in the water.
- Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors - The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps damages the skin and unprotected eyes. It's a good idea to avoid artificial sources of UV light.
- Watch for the UV Index - The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.
I am going to keep my sun protective items out to use this winter. I am trusting that you will do the same so that you can enjoy the outdoors while in the cold, on the ice, or in the snow. Have a terrific and safe winter!
Posted by Roger Carr at 8:47 PM