Health and Wellness: Protect young skin from the sun

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

Name a behavior that many people continue, even when they know it can lead to cancer. Smoking is a big one. Another is exposing your skin to the sun.

Avoiding sun exposure is a tough topic for many parents to address with their children and adolescents, because they themselves have always liked getting a tan. Kids call us out on, “Do as I say, not as I do” situations.

This may be the summer to make changes for the whole family. Put in a supply of broad-spectrum sunscreen, choosing products that every family member will be likely to use. Keep it handy in places that will allow for application and re-application as needed. Make sure everyone has headgear they like that shades face, ears and neck. Take the lead on protecting yourself from ultraviolet rays, and be a role model for your family by avoiding the sun and tanning beds.

Ultraviolet rays damage not only the skin, but eyes as well. Even very young children should wear sunglasses that block both UVB and UVA rays.

If you can’t resist the look of a glowing tan, try sunless self-tanning lotions. Keep in mind that these generally do not contain sunscreen protection.