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Sun Safety Tips

Did you know that just one or two sunburns as a child causes a huge increase in the possibility of developing skin cancer later in life?  Of course, anyone who lives in a climate that is gray and cloudy for many months out of each year also knows that living without sun can make one depressed.  Because of the risk associated with too much sun, many have developed a love/hate relationship with it. There are many benefits to the sun - like we need it to survive and it provides energy that we are now able to harness for amazing good.  Unfortunately, it's power can also cause serious damage to our skin and that of our children. 

Here are some sun safety tips to help you enjoy the great outdoors while saving your skin from potential serious problems later in life.

1. Use sunscreen regularly. If you are out swimming or at the beach, make sure to reapply sunscreen as directed.  

2. Use moisturizer and chapstick or lipstick that has sunsreen as an ingredient. Our faces are subjected to more sun exposure than any other part of our body.  Consider using a moisturizer with sunscreen on your children as well.

3. Wear a hat outdoors in the summer and have your children wear hats as well.  

4. Avoid sun exposure on days when the sun index is high. The sun index ranges from 1 - 11 and the higher the number, the greater the risk.

5. When spending time at the beach, take an large umbrella with you so that you can get out of the sun to relax.

6. Keep water with you at all times.  Dehydration can be a concern when spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun, especially for children who are very active. Make sure that you and your children are getting enough fluids.

7. Don't let clouds fool you. It is very possible to get a serious sunburn even on cloudy days. Wear sunscreen and take other protective measures even when  it's overcast.

8. Talk to your pediatrician about sun protection for babies. Most professionals don't encourage the use of any sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old, so you'll have to keep them mostly out of the sun and protect them with light clothing, hats, and shaded areas. 

9. Check any medications that you or your children are taking to see if they affect your risk of sunburn. Some antibiotics make skin even more sensitive to sun exposure.  Know how your medication is affecting you or your family.

10. Be extra careful when on vacation.  We see lots of people come to Hawaii on vacation and don't realize that the sun's rays are much more powerful here than what they are used to.  You may spend an hour outside in the northwest and not feel any affect, but 15 minutes in the sun in Hawaii could cause a serious burn!

11. Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays. Have your children wear sunglasses when they are outdoors as well. It's easy to forget about the affect that the sun can have on our eyes. 

Don't let a fear of the sun keep you indoors this summer - just follow these sun safety tips to protect your skin and you can enjoy many days outdoors!

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