Sun Safety Tips
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so what better time than now to share some sun safety tips?
My name is Kolby and I learned about the importance of sun protection the hard way. In my late 20’s, a trip to my dermatologist landed me in the operating room for skin cancer. Over the years, I’ve been through 4 skin cancer surgeries, and I continue to have my skin monitored and checked every 6 months. When I had my own children, I knew I had to do everything I could to protect their skin from the sun and its harmful rays.
I have 2 toddlers and if you have kids, you know how hard it is to get them to keep a hat on or sit still while you apply sunscreen, but I promise it’s well worth the effort! Did you know, regular use of sunscreen during the first 18 years of life can reduce the lifetime incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer by 78%? You can play a major role today in protecting your children from skin cancer later in life.
Next time you’re getting ready to play in the sun, consider these sun safety tips not only for your kids, but for yourself, too!
1. Apply Sun Screen
Choose a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and apply it liberally to both the face and body 30 minutes BEFORE you plan on heading outside. Don’t forget to reapply every 2 hours and after swimming. Parents, if you’re worried about clogging your pores or have skin concerns, I can assure you that adding sunscreen to your routine will only improve your skin now and in the future! Protect your skin now and prevent sunspots, premature aging, and wrinkles down the road.
2. Wear UV Protective Clothing
Always wear sun-protective clothing! When shopping, look for UPF protective items. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) indicates how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin. A UPF 50 fabric blocks 98% of the sun's rays and allows 2% to penetrate, thus reducing your exposure risk significantly. I always have my toddlers in long-sleeve swimwear, and one of my favourites is the Jan & Jul 2-piece UV Suit. They come in so many cute prints, are comfortable, quick-drying, and most importantly, they are UPF 50+.
3. Don't Forget a Sun Hat
Don’t forget a sun hat for both you and your little ones. The most common areas for skin cancer to form are on the head, face, and neck. Wearing a sun hat is so important – especially if you plan to be outside between 10am-2pm, when the sun's rays are the strongest. My kids love the Aqua-Dry Adventure Hat because it stays in place and is lightweight. It doesn’t matter if they get it wet or it ends up in the pool, because it’s super quick-drying and doesn’t feel heavy when wet. It comes in patterns that match their swimsuits, and there are adult sizes, too!
4. Find a Shady Spot
Find shade and take water breaks. It’s best to set up for a day at the beach in the shade or bring a sun tent if you can. It doesn’t take long for the sun to burn your skin or for little ones to get heat exhaustion. It’s great to play in the sun, but make sure to seek out the shade and take water breaks throughout the day.
I hope these sun safety tips were helpful. So get outside and have fun, but please protect yourself from the sun! Trust me – skin cancer surgery is no fun, and you can prevent skin cancer in yourself and your kids by being sun smart now!
– Kolby, mother of two and skin cancer advocate