MountainStar Health - June 03, 2019

Sunburns can ruin your day, and more than one vacation has been ruined by sun overexposure with either child or parent (or both), but the real danger of sun exposure is the long-term effects. Skin cancer numbers continue to rise, particularly among the baby boomers and Gen X as we pay the price of previous experiences.

Prior to air conditioning, 75-100 years ago, your grandparents covered up with hats and long sleeved, loose clothing when in the sun. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion (May 10, 1869), look at the attire of choice- all in hats and sleeves. Sun protection was important, long days in the elements for work and travel required a certain amount of wearing a "uniform." A sombrero was not a fashion statement (at least at the onset), but rather an illustration of function over perhaps fashion.

Somewhere in the last 70 or so years, as shelter and climate controlled homes and vehicles progressed, we began to peel off clothing when outside, and putting on sweaters while inside (look at all the offices with space heaters in the summer). Skin cancer numbers continue to rise, particularly among those of us that were children of the 80's and the era of "tanning oil."

How do we reduce our child's exposure, cancer risk down the road?

  1. 0- 6 months sunscreen is not recommended. Keep him or her out of direct sunlight. Protect from sun exposure by dressing him or her in loose, protective clothing, hats and sleeves and even sunglasses. Make sure they do not overheat with restrictive clothing (if it is hot to you, it is very hot for the little ones).
  2. 6 months and older, sunscreen along with general sun protection is recommended. When selecting a lotion pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours or more often if your baby is spending time in the water or perspiring. Do avoid irritating your baby's skin and eyes by using a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  3. When choosing clothing, the newer summer fabrics, SPF 50 shirts or swim shirts are all excellent barriers. No amount of sunscreen can beat shade when it comes to sun protection. Avoid the heaviest of the sun's rays, between 11-4 PM, the siesta was created with good reason, who knew.

In conclusion, stay protected in the warmer months. If there is any question on rashes, skin tags, irregular mole sizes, or greater burns please do not worry at home and feel free to schedule online and let us look for you.