The sun and your body - a Q&A. A bad sunburn before the age of 10 can give a child up to 50% chance of getting skin cancer as an adult
1. Isn't the sun good for me?
Yes, Sunshine is a significant source of Vitamin D because UV rays from sunlight trigger Vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones. However like everything, too much of a good thing can be bad.
2. Does our skin have any defenses against the sun?
We are all born with natural defenses against harmful UV rays that deplete over a lifetime. Once they are gone, there is no getting them back. Children acquire 50-80% of the sun expose?? Before they are 18.
3. Does a cotton t-shirt protect my child?
No! Knit clothing, such as cotton t-shirts, give relatively poor protection (SPF rating of 4.8) since UV rays pass through loops on the knit structure.
4. What is the difference between regular clothes and SPF/UV clothing?
New technology has come out with special synthetic materials that have been tested for UVA/UVB blocking properties. Always look for sun protective or UV blocking t-shirts or UV swimwear especially for kids. Most block from 40 to 50 SPF.
5.What are the effects of my child’s medication in the sun?
Some medications increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, even kids with skin that tends not to burn easily can develop severe sunburn in just minutes when taking certain medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the prescription your child is taking can increase sun sensitivity, especially with antibiotics, acne medications and over-the-counter medications.
6. How many types of UV are there?
UVA rays cause skin aging, wrinkling and contribute to skin cancer, such as melanoma. UVB rays are also dangerous, causing sunburns, cataracts and immune system damage. UVC rays are the most dangerous, but fortunately, these rays are blocked by the ozone layer and don’t reach the earth. However, we must keep in mind that the ozone layer is depleting!
7. Should babies wear sunscreen?
Yes. Years ago, sunscreen contained PABA, which was not recommended for baby’s skin; nowadays there are unique products that are oriented toward babies. Be careful to rub the sunscreen in well because babies have a tendency to rub there eyes and put there and hands in their mouths.
8. Does sunscreen have a shelf life?
Most sunscreens have an expiration date, usually stamped somewhere on the bottle.
9. Can you get sunburn on a cloudy day?
Absolutely. Although a heavily clouded sky does reduce the UV rays, scattered clouds can reflect and even increase their intensity.
10. Can my eyes get sunburned?
Yes, sun exposure damages the eyes as well as the skin. Even one day in the sun can result in a burned cornea. Cumulative exposure can lead to cataract later in life. The best way to protect eyes is to wear sunglasses, so start your kids early.
11. What is an after burn?
During a long day at the beach or park kids may seem fine, but afterward they may gradually develop an “after burn” later that evening that can be painful and hot and can even make them fell sick. They usually experience pain and a sensation of heat. Some children also develop chills. Because the sun has dried their skin, it can become itchy and tight.
12. What do you do for sunburn?
Have your child take a cool bath, not cold, or gently apply cool, wet compresses to the skin to help alleviate the pain and heat. Apply pure aloe vera gel, available in most pharmacies or taken directly from within the leaves of the plant, to any sunburned areas. It’s excellent for relieving sunburn pain and helping skin heal quicker.