May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and it is very important to remember that covering up is not the only thing you can do to foster healthy habits in your children. Studies show that only 1 in 4 children regularly wear sunscreen, and startlingly, studies also show that children who have a sunburn at an early age are nearly twice as likely to develop melanoma in adulthood. Because of this scary truth, the experts at Collins Advanced Dermatology Institute urge those who are sun-seeking to educate themselves and their children about the importance of sun safety.
To start daily habits of awareness, some people start checking the daily weather with their children as a way to get them better acquainted with the world outside. Having them read the UV Index for the day is a fun way to teach them about the sun’s peak hours of heat intensity, which falls between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, and the need for proper protection during these times. UV Index readings of 6 to 7 means a higher risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure, so teaching kids how to assess their risk at an early age, along with teaching them the rhyme, “Short shadow, seek shade,” are great ways to get them to consider their health when venturing outdoors.
Some children (as well as some adults) are under the impression that tans are healthy. Not only is this incorrect, but this type of misinformation can mislead someone well into an unhealthy adulthood. It is crucial that you teach children of the effects of the sun’s rays, and that healthy skin is not tanned. When teaching them about UV rays, discuss how beneficial wearing sunscreen is. When children learn that sunscreen is their friend and not a nuisance, they are much more likely to not only agree to regular sunscreen application, but they will often never forget its importance later on in life.
When teaching your children about the importance of sunscreen and skin health, it is also important that you make the education fun! The trusted experts at Collins Advanced Dermatology Institute are always here to help. Feel free to give us a call at 512.379.6090 for questions or book an appointment online with us today.