Skin cancer is a phenomenon that is becoming more common with time. Parents and guardians are becoming more concerned and are asking about steps that can help them prevent or at least reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Most parents and guardians believe keeping the younger ones away from direct sunlight is the way to go. However, outdoor activities are beneficial, both physically and psychologically. This means that it’s still important that your child does get the chance to spend some quality time outside.
When letting your children outdoors, there a number of ways that you can look to safely protect them against the dangers of skin cancer when they are outside, exposed to the sunlight. This article discusses some of these procedures.
How to Protect your Child from Skin Cancer
For those who live in warm climates that receive plenty of sunshine all-year round such as Australia, parents are faced with the question: ‘what are the most effective methods of protecting my child from skin cancer and the harms of UV rays?’ The answers to that question are listed below.
Preventive measures should be used beforehand. That is precisely why it is termed preventive. A measure to be taken before risk develops or even progresses.
Using sunscreen should be done in practical ways. For example, you should apply sunscreen at least twenty minutes before leaving the house. This means that a child who is already out on the beach playing with sand, must already have sunscreen applied to them. Waiting to apply the sunscreen even 10-15 mins after they’ve begun playing outside, can be harmful.
Ignore the myths
Perhaps what is more dangerous than not taking preventive measures against a disease, is accepting myths that surround the disease.
Myth 1: any item of clothing provides suitable protection
The first step against skin cancer which most of us are familiar with, involves protecting the skin from direct sunlight by covering up. It pays to cover up, and it is indeed an excellent preventive measure. However, children are often told to cover up in clothing that doesn’t adequately protect the skin. Suitable clothing that can help against the sun's rays are clothing that cannot be seen through, held up to the sun.
Myth 2: a slight tan is fine
Many people are under the impression that a light tan is incapable of doing any serious harm to their skin. In reality, even a light tan involves the skin turning brown, which means the skin cells are trying to put up an umbrella covering themselves, which means each cell is under stress. And each time a child burns, their risk of developing skin cancer 20-30 years later is greatly increased. Therefore, children ought to be protected from skin burns and skin tans.
Myth 3: when the weather is overcast, the children are safe
While this seems logical, since the sky is covered with clouds, and you cannot feel the UV rays beating down on you, in reality, the sun's deadly UV rays are still present.
Whatever the weather conditions may be outside, when your child’s skin is exposed for even a matter of minutes, you must ensure that their skin is properly protected, using the methods outlined in this article.
Learning through imitation is one of the most effective ways to teach children how to safely protect their skin from the harms of sunlight. When children notice their parents doing something, they subconsciously pick it up. This is an excellent way to establish good habits in your children from an early age.
Practicing skin protection measures like regular use of sunscreen, monitoring your skin and theirs, seeking shades during the day's heat, and regular skin checks will go a long way to influence how they care for their skin throughout the course of their entire life.