For most people, spending time in the warm sunshine is synonymous with summer. Luckily, you can enjoy the pool, hikes, and other outdoor activities by following certain sun safety tips. Read on for important information about the causes of skin cancer, and tips on how to avoid risks for you and your family.
Causes of Skin Cancer
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States every year than all other cancers combined. Diagnoses have been on the rise each year, too. Though other cancers seem to get more attention, the far-reaching effects of skin cancer make it vital for parents and kids alike to get educated and do what they can to avoid the causes of skin cancer.
Skin cancer causes are multi-faceted, but many skin cancer incidents have been linked to indoor tanning. The ultraviolet radiation used in indoor tanning beds is a known human carcinogen that highly increases the risk of skin cancer. In fact, more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer are linked to indoor tanning in the U.S. every year.
The risk of skin cancer varies greatly depending on the type of skin. Those with fair skin or those who have many moles are more likely to develop skin cancer. Fair-skinned people have less pigment in their skin, which equates to less protection from UV radiation from the sun. People with blonde hair, red hair, or freckles who burn easily may be at higher risk than people who tan easily.
Some ethnicities are at higher risk for skin cancer. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is more often diagnosed in Latinx and black populations in comparison to non-Latinx white patients. These ethnicities also have a higher percentage of acral lentiginous melanoma (skin cancer occurring in the palms, soles, and nailbeds) in comparison to non-Latinx whites.
Sun Exposure Benefits
Though the sun has damaging UV rays, there are some benefits to moderate sun exposure. The key is to avoid overdoing time in the sun and to always make sure you wear sunscreen and other skin protection. Here are a few sun exposure benefits:
- Vitamin D from the sun helps to strengthen bones.
- Sun exposure can boost mood and emotional well-being.
- People who spend time in the sun usually sleep better.
- Moderate sun exposure can boost the immune system.
Sun Safety Tips
Here is a list of important measures to follow every time you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time:
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun. This allows the sunscreen to soak in and start working before the sun’s rays hit the skin.
- Wear protective clothing. Even if you’re at the pool, it’s smart to stay as covered as possible. Wear a rash guard or longer shorts to keep as much skin covered as you can.
- Add protective accessories. Once you’ve added protective clothing layers, top it off with a sun hat and sunglasses to keep your head, neck, and eyes safe from sun damage, too.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours. Even if you don’t come in contact with water, sunscreen loses effectiveness after two hours. Be sure to re-apply sunscreen frequently if you’re spending a full day in the sun.
Sun Safety for Kids
Young children and babies are especially susceptible to sunburns, and it’s up to parents to make sure they’re protected. Here are helpful sun safety tips for kids:
- Keep newborns out of the sun. New babies have very sensitive skin, and should not be exposed directly to the sun. If you’re taking your newborn to the pool or park, be sure to keep them in the shade or under an umbrella.
- Don’t use spray sunscreen on children. Spray-on sunscreen should be reserved for adults. Apply cream sunscreen to kids’ bodies, then use a stick sunscreen on faces.
- Stay inside. Sometimes, it’s best to stay inside and avoid the sun completely. Don’t go to the pool in the hottest part of the day, and make indoor plans if the temperatures get particularly high.
- Keep kids hydrated. Kids are often having too much fun in the sun to think about staying hydrated. Make sure kids drink water frequently, and be sure to bring a water bottle for each child.
Check Out Swim Lessons Today
If you’re going to be spending time at the pool this summer, play it safe and enroll in swim lessons. SwimJim offers swim lessons for people of all ages in New York City and Houston, from beginners to more advanced. Check out our local swim lessons today.