Health Topics

Skin Health and the Sun

Something as simple as kicking around a soccer ball in the afternoon with your daughter can expose your skin to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The good news is that you can protect your skin by understanding how UV rays work and the proper use of sunscreen.

Set-Up Time

Did you know sunscreen needs time to "set?" For maximum protection, apply sunscreen to bare, dry skin at least 20, and preferably 30, minutes before venturing into the sun. Remember to reapply every two hours and immediately after perspiring or swimming.

Cloudy days are no excuse to avoid applying sunscreen or moisturizer with a minimum SPF of 15. Up to 80 percent of ultraviolet rays penetrate even thick clouds. So protecting your skin every day is an important step to skin health.

Remember to "Slip, Slop, Slap.” Australians suffer from some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Their "Slip, Slop, Slap” campaign was created to help protect citizens in that sunny country from developing skin cancer. So take a page out of their book. Let’s slip on a long-sleeve shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin — wherever you live.

Children and Sun Damage

It is estimated that up to 80 percent of all sun damage occurs before our 18th birthday. Lack of sun protection during childhood can have lifelong effects. Suffering severe sunburns during childhood has been associated with increased risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Teach kids the "shadow rule." If their shadow is shorter than they are, ultraviolet rays are at their strongest and sunburn can result; this is usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Protect against maximum UV ray exposure by scheduling some midday activities in the shade or indoors.

Kids and Sunscreen

Since many children squirm at the thought of wearing sunscreen, urge them to wear long sleeves and pants for sunburn protection. Many children welcome the new sunscreen products in spray form. Set a good example and they’ll do what you do — protect your skin every day.

Remember, sunscreen is not created for use on babies 6 months and younger. Use protective clothing and avoid exposing infants to the sun.

Soothing Sunburn

At some point we all endure the discomfort of sunburn. Relief can be found at home with a few simple steps. View the listing below to learn how to soothe your burned skin:

  • Cool Down: Apply cool water to the burn with washcloths or rest in a cool bath to soothe burned areas and remove heat.
  • Reduce Pain: Over-the-counter pain relievers can decrease discomfort. Read the instructions for dosage for maximum relief.
  • No Sun: Stay out of the sun to allow your skin to heal.
  • Lubricate: Peeling is inevitable after a burn. Apply an itch-relieving lotion for a comfortable healing process.