Skin Cancer and Children

Skin cancer affects children only very rarely. But, if we dont protect them when they are children, the risk of skin cancer as adults are much higher.

The most important thing we can do for children in terms of preventing skin cancer is to not assume that they are fail-safe. We need to begin as early as possible to protect and teach them to protect themselves so their skin does not get damaged young. The average person, studies show, receives fifty percent of their lifetimes sun exposure by the time they are eighteen years old.

Play Safe

When taking young children outside to play, never assume that because they are young they are not exposing their skin to the same UV rays that an adult is. Their skin is even more sensitive than ours. So, when they go to play in the yard, at the park or with the neighborhood kids, that need sunscreen higher than that recommended for adults.

It is suggested that children use a SPF, sun protection factor, of no less that thirty. They should play outside only if they have their sunscreen on, with any exposed areas, those not covered by their clothes, well coated. Children should wear a hat to protect their heads from ultraviolet exposure.

Remember that even when you are in a pool with your child, especially the youngest ones who play in wading pools, that the water does not protect them and they must wear sunscreen then as well. For water to offer any protection you must be submerged at least a foot.

Teenager Skin Cancer Risks

What about adolescent children? Theyre usually more concerned about looking and acting cool than understanding any serious health risks for later in life can be based on what they do as teenagers. This is the time they begin to express themselves. They take direction from their friends, and want to impress each other with how they know more than their parents.

They sunbath so they can look more attractive to the opposite sex. This is the time in their lives when the things that are important to them are what are happening that day not thirty years in the future. Yet research has proven that if in childhood the child has five or more serious sunburns it greatly increases their later risk of skin cancer.

Talk to with your teenagers to try and convince them why they should use sunscreen and wear hats. Appeal to their vanity. Tell them that without taking these precautions they risk, even at their age, peeling skin, blistering from a severe burn, or freckling. Buy them sunscreen that has a moisturizer to improve their skins appearance. And if the only way to get them to wear a hat is to spend a couple of dollars extra on that designer one she wants, its probably worth it. Theyll thank you later.

See Also:

Melanoma and Moles

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