When summer finally arrives we all can’t help but feel the excitement from knowing our weekends will soon be spent lounging poolside at BBQ’s and soaking up sun at the cabin with the children. But before you head out into the heat this summer, be sure to protect your children’s skin from the sun’s rays.
Know The Dangers
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors but too much sun can cause serious damage to your skin. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the sun’s rays comes in three forms (UVA, UVB, and UVC) and can cause skin cancer under conditions of prolonged exposure. Evaluate your risk for sun damage and plan your outdoor activities accordingly. Note that people with fair skin or who are of old age are at a greater risk. Those with darker skin and younger in age are still susceptible to skin damage, even if the effects do not show right away.
Stay Cool In The Shade
Remember the best way to avoid sun damage is to reduce the time you spend in the sun! If you’re spending a day by the beach, set up a beach umbrella to create some shade. Stay out of the sun during peak hours between 10am and 3pm when UV radiation is at its strongest.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking enough water is especially important for your skin during the summer to keep hydrated in the heat. Ditch the “8 glasses of 8oz” rule and up your water intake if you’re partaking in physical activity. You should be aiming to replenish your body with water periodically throughout the day, avoiding ever having to feel completely dehydrated.
Choose The Right Sunscreen
Not everyone will benefit from the same sunscreen, so choose one that’s best for you. Read the labels carefully to check for each cream’s formula as many cater to certain skin types such as dry, oily, and sensitive. A maximum of SPF 35 is sufficient, remembering the key is to re-apply. Most importantly, choose a formula which offers broad spectrum protection against all 3 forms of UV rays.
Protect Your Lips
Your lips are covered by a very thin layer of skin and have very little melanin making them highly susceptible to sun burns. Shield your lips with a lip balm or ointment of SPF 15 or higher.
Wear A Hat
Be mindful that you hair does little to protect your scalp from the sun’s UV rays. Wear a wide brimmed hat to cover the top of your head as well as your face and neck. The wide brim will also allow you to tilt your hat to shelter you throughout the day as the sun moves to different positions in the sky.
Dress For The Weather
We all want to reach for shorts and tank tops on a hot summer day but this can actually harm your skin as you are exposing a larger surface area to the sun’s UV rays. It’s best to wear long tops and bottoms made of a lightweight material to shield your skin.
Take Cold Showers
After a long day in the sun, the last thing your skin wants is a hot shower. Keep things cool to prevent further drying out of the skin. If you were in the pool or a natural body of water that day, you should still hop in a cold shower afterwards. The shower will help to wash away and lingering chlorine or bacteria on the skin.
Forget About Getting A Tan
What most of us think of as a tan a dermatologist would call a sign of injury. When the sun’s UV rays strike your skin, the radiation genetically alters your skin cells. This can cause skin cancer, wrinkling, and sun spots. Always apply sunscreen and avoid practicing sunbathing.
If you get a sunburn you will notice a reddening of the skin and increased tenderness to the touch. Immediately cool your skin by seeking shade and using a sunburn aftercare cream such as aloe vera gel. You can later apply a moisturizing lotion to prevent your skin from drying out and cracking. If any swelling occurs, an ibuprofen medication can be taken. Seek medical attention if any excessive blistering occurs.
Summer is a great time to be outside and enjoy bright sunny days with your children but don’t forget to take precautionary steps to care for their skin. All it takes is a couple of minutes to apply sunscreen or choose the perfect hat before heading out into the sun and it will make a world of difference for your children's safety.