Kids are more vulnerable to damage from the sun than adults. A few blistering sunburns in childhood can double a person’s lifetime chances of developing serious forms of skin cancer.
These tips will help you keep kids of all ages safe in the sun.
Infants under 6 months should be kept out of direct sun as much as possible. Their skin is not yet protected by melanin.
When you take your baby outside:
· Cover them up with protective clothing that is tightly woven but loose-fitting, and a sun hat.
· Make shade. Use the stroller’s canopy or hood. If you can’t sit in a shady spot, use an umbrella.
· Avoid midday sun. Take walks in the early morning or late afternoon.
· Follow product warnings for sunscreens on infants younger than 6 months old. Most manufacturers advise against using sunscreens on infants, or advise parents and caregivers to consult a doctor first.
Toddlers and children
Sunscreens are an essential part of a day in the sun. But young children’s skin is especially sensitive to chemical allergens – as well as the sun’s UV rays.
· Test sunscreen by applying a small amount on the inside of your child’s wrist the day before you plan to use it. If an irritation or rash develops, try another product. Ask your child’s doctor to suggest a product less likely to irritate your child’s skin. Or make your own!
· Apply plenty of sunscreen and reapply it often, especially if your child is playing in the water or sweating a lot. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests about one ounce of sunscreen per application for a child.
Teenagers coveting bronzed skin are likely to sunbathe, patronize tanning salons, or buy self-tanning products – all of which are bad ideas. Researchers believe that increasing UV exposure may have caused the marked increase in melanoma incidence noted among women born after 1965. Tanning parlors expose the skin to as much as 15 times more UV radiation than the sun and likely contribute to the melanoma increase. Many chemicals in self-tanning products have not been tested for safety.
Parents of teens should be good role models – let your teen see that you protect yourself from the sun. Tan does not mean healthy.
Sun safety at school
Sometimes school and daycare policies interfere with children’s sun safety. Many schools treat sunscreen as a medicine and require written permission to use it on a child. Some insist that only the school nurse apply it. Some ban hats and sunglasses as distractions.
Here are a few questions to ask your school, daycare, or camp:
· What is the policy on sun safety?
· Is there shade on the playground?
· Are outdoor activities scheduled to avoid midday sun?
5 Natural Ways to Prevent Sunburns
While the sun helps us to manufacture vitamin D, consuming vitamin D rich foods like cod liver oil and/or supplementing with quality source of oral vitamin D3 can in turn help to protect us from the UV radiation of the sun. What a brilliant cycle nature created! Learn how to best absorb vitamin D from your foods and you may very well find that your tolerance to sun exposure increases significantly.
It’s true, healthy fats do truly relate to everything. Including stable, robust fats in the diet is crucial to resilient skin. Dietary fats and oils provide building blocks for skin tissues. Logically, if your skin is enriched with fragile oils, it will be much more sensitive to damage by the sun.
Deficiencies in certain minerals such as zinc and magnesium can cause photosensitivity and sun rashes. Be sure to have your mineral status checked and consume mineral rich foods from both plant and animal sources. Bone broths and organ meats like liver are particularly balanced in trace minerals.
It may be delicious to eat, but coconut oil is also a powerful healing agent when applied to the skin. There is anecdotal evidence showing that Polynesians frequently rubbed this precious oil on before spending long periods of time in the sun. Although it has been tested to block only about 20% of the sun’s rays, its value lies more in the powerful antioxidants it releases into the skin, which bolster natural defenses and prevents damage from long term sun exposure. Try making your own whipped coconut oil lotion.
This unique compound is a super-antioxidant found in algae and the organisms that consume it such as salmon, shrimp, krill and flamingos. Pink-red in color (hint: think about the animals that eat it), this substance has been growing in popularity as an “internal sunscreen.” Several trials using human cells have shown it to have protective effects on the skin. Although it may not turn our skin quite as romantic a hue as a flamingo, many people experience skin benefits and an enhanced ability to tan from consuming astaxanthin or krill oil.