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Six sun safety tips for you and your keiki

Jul. 18, 2022

As a parent, your job is to protect your keiki from harm. This is especially true for sun damage. Studies show that just one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence more than doubles their chance of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

“It’s a common belief that having dark skin protects you from skin cancer,” said Mālama Ola Athletic Health Manager Cynthia Clivio, a staunch proponent of sunscreen. “The truth is that while skin cancer occurs more frequently in light-skinned people, death rates are higher in dark-skinned people because the cancer is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage. A big determining factor is UV exposure over the course of your lifetime. Developing protective habits at a young age can help prevent most skin cancers.”

July is Ultraviolet Safety Awareness Month. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology to protect your family’s skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays and reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  1. Seek shade when possible. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  2. Invest in sun-protective clothing. Wear lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection when possible. For more effective sun protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label. As an alternative, wash your wearables with Rit Sun Guard to temporarily ramp up the protection level of your clothes.
  3. Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA (wrinkle-causing) and UVB (skin-burning) sunrays. Use sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days. Apply enough sunscreen to cover all skin not covered by clothing. Most adults need about one ounce – or enough to fill a shot glass – to fully cover their body. Remember to apply to the top of your feet, neck, ears and head.
  4. Reapply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors, after swimming or sweating.
  5. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  6. Perform regular skin self-exams to detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable, and see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding.

LEARN MORE

Tips to stay safe in the sun
Food and Drug Administration

What to look for: ABCDEs of melanoma
American Academy of Dermatology

All about sunscreen
Skin Cancer Foundation



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