Sun Protection for the Family

Sun Protection for the Family

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  1.  Sunshine is both radiant and warming but it can also be very dangerous to you and your child’s skin. The sun creates invisible rays called Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB). If you are exposed to a lot of these harmful rays especially as a child or adolescent, it can cause visible damage like sunburn leading to freckles and tanning, and invisible damage such as age spots, wrinkles, early aging of your skin and even skin cancer. In order to be safe limit the exposure to the sun’s rays especially when they are strongest between the hours of 10am to 4pm.


    Wear Sunscreen:

    How much to apply:
    According to the American Cancer Society, use a palm full (1 ounce) of water resistant sunscreen that offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays to cover the face, neck, arms and legs. Also apply a lip balm with SPF to protect you and your child’s lips.

    When to Apply:
    The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the sunscreen you use to have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and to apply liberally 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. Also keep reapplying every 2 hours as well as after going swimming, drying off with a towel or perspiring heavily – even if it is water resistant sunscreen. Going outdoors on a cloudy day or staying in the shade does not mean that you are protected from the sun’s rays so apply sun block.


    Cover Up:

    Protective clothing:
    For the most protection you and your child should wear a tightly knitted hat with a wide (2 to 3 inches) brim, as well as light colored long sleeved shirts and pants. Ideally dress in special clothing designed for protection from the sun’s rays. Such clothes are darker in color and have a tighter weave. They are typically labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) Value. Wear clothing that have a UPF between 15 and 50. The higher the UPF the more the cloth will absorb the rays and the better the protection you get.

    Wear sunglasses with large lenses that are close fitting and offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.


    Protect Infants:

    Keep babies under six months of age out of direct sun and dress them in protective clothing as both your baby’s skin and eyes are very sensitive to the sun and can get damaged easily. According to the AAD, "Apply sunscreen beginning at six months of age. Children under six months of age should not have prolonged sun exposure, but if this occurs then sunscreen should be used".


    Avoid Tanning Beds and Lamps:

    Stay away from tanning beds and lamps as they expose you to UVA and UVB rays that can lead to long term damage to the skin and may cause skin cancer. If you want to get a tan then the American Cancer Society advises using a bronzing lotion or self-tanning cream instead.



 ; American Academy of Dermatology: Sun Protection for Children; American Cancer Society: Sun Safety 101


    Cover Image Resource:

    Credit: MeiTeng



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