Your mother is right, you must protect your skin from the strong rays of the sun, especially while you are young. Now, how did she gain that knowledge? Perhaps through a painful lesson, perhaps the health news on TV or in magazines. Trust her – most skin damage due to ultraviolet radiation occurs before age 20. Fair skinned people who tend to freckle, go red, or burn in the sun are at higher risk than black or brown skinned people. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the leading cause of most skin cancer.
It is never too soon, or too late to begin protecting your face and neck daily with a moisturizer which contains sunscreen – you will be covering two important facets of skin care with one product.
Most cosmetic companies offer a moisturizing product which contains SPF 15 or more. The ‘Sun Protection Factor’ is very important even if you do not “plan” to be sunbathing. Merely being outside for a 15 minute walk could cause damage to unprotected, delicate skin. Getting in the habit of caring for your skin is very important in the prevention of skin cancer.
Babies and children are at high risk of sunburn on their delicate, new skin. Special childcare sunblock cream, lotion and spray-on’s are readily available and should be on hand in every household, and applied as frequently as the directions suggest. Children may be in and out of the house dozens of times per day so an application of sunscreen is absolutely necessary – even on overcast days.
If you feel you “must” sunbathe, in spite of the risks, start slowly – don’t roast your skin the first day in the sun. Take on your healthy seeming glow in degrees, thus decreasing the serious harm a severe sunburn causes. Tanning is the melanin in your skin darkening to protect it from the sun’s rays. In fact tanning is a sign you are injuring your skin. Protect the most sensitive skin areas; face, neck, shoulders, hands and arms with shade providing hats, and beach umbrellas. Areas of skin which have been badly burned have an increased risk of developing skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma). More bad news – regular use of sunlamps and sunbeds increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Self-tanning products are the only ‘safe’ way to obtain a sun kissed glow.
Many clothing companies are introducing sun blocking light weight fabrics in their sun and swim apparel and these are simple solutions to implement for all children and at-risk adults. The new fabrics offer quick drying, comfortable, lightweight protection in stylish hats, shirts, pants, coverups and aquasuits.
Take care of your skin – it’s the single largest organ of your body!