Offered by Premier Pediatrics
Some exposure to the sun is good for everyone. The sun helps our bodies in terms of vitamin D (bone health) and serotonin (moods). Too much of a good thing can be bad. Excessive skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun leads to skin and eye damage, skin cancer, and suppressed immune system.
UV rays interact with melatonin, a substance in our skin. If the amount of UV exposure exceeds what our skin’s melatonin can protect against, skin damage occurs. Excessive UVA ray exposure leads to skin aging/wrinkling and possibly skin cancer. Excessive UVB ray exposure leads to sunburns, cataracts, depressed immune system, and possibly skin cancer. Melanoma is linked to severe UVB sunburns before the age of 20.
EVERYONE needs sun protection! Darker skin has more protective melatonin, but still needs protection! Any tanning as well as burning results in skin damage.
Here are four recommendations to protect children and adults this summer:
- Use a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen, recommended SPF 30 or more. Use water-resistant sunscreen when in or around water. Apply liberally, reapply frequently. Even on cloudy days, UV rays still cause skin damage.
- Avoid exposure when UV rays are the strongest (in North America 10AM-4PM). Majority of sun damage occurs during day-to-day activities!
- Cover up! Babies burn easier because their skin is thinner. Covering up and shade is their best protection, especially those under 6 months. Don’t forget the wide-brimmed hat!
- Wear sunglasses that have 100% UV protection.
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