Adults are usually better at protecting kids from the sun than themselves. The roller coaster of modern life can often leave us wondering if it’s worth the time and effort to prevent something that may never happen a few years down the track. In Australia, that argument just doesn’t hold because around 80% of Australians get skin cancer at some stage. We all know that UV light damages the skin. Indeed, UVB damages DNA, leading to inflammatory changes such as Sunspots. In this sense, Sunscreen offers immune protection.
Let’s have a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the reasons why Australians don’t all follow through with regular sun protection
- “She’ll be apples” attitude
- Putting on suncream is too much yakka
- Being Cheesed off with health advice
- Being Dead set against it
- You’re flat out like a lizard drinking (busy!)
- Sun Cream is for wowsers
Then there’s knowledge aspect. How do you use sun protection? Adults forget what they were taught as preppies, and guidelines have changed a bit. Here’s a look at some facts that you might not know about sun protection²:
- Apply it liberally. It takes around 35mls of sun protection to cover a body.
- Apply it 30 minutes before going out, and again just before going out.
- When you know you are going to sweat, use water-resistant sun protection, and apply it more often.
- The resulting skin damage from a tan outweighs any tiny protective effect against later exposure to The sun.
Around 80% of UV radiation passes through clouds which is why you can get sunburnt on a cloudy day³. Light shade is only equivalent to a sun protection factor of 2!
At what age can you trust kids to apply sun protection without supervision? This is a thorny question but it’s not unusual to see adolescents with severe sunburn. Is your kid very resistant to using sun protection? Then ask your doctor to help at the next visit.