Health
Health

No Tan is Worth Dying For

| by Dr Gwenn
Heading out for a family walk over the weekend, we barely got beyond the end of the driveway before we quickly turned back...sunblock. We forgot to goop! A quick retreat back to the garage, we all lathered up and were on our way.

Over kill for such a mild sun day? Not in our experience. We've not only been caught off guard before and had "low intensity" sun days create rather intense burns behind necks, knees and arms, but have a family history of melanoma that haunts us ever time we step outside. My husband's dad lost his life to melanoma. He was in the Navy and sunblock wasn't what it is today, nor was the treatment for melanoma. He didn't have the control we do today and would be really upset with us for tossing caution to the wind with our skin and our kids.

But, over 2/3 of adults are doing just that! According to a new survey out by Consumer Reports National Research Center only 1/3 of us are actually using sunscreen.

As reported by ABC news, there are 1 million cases of skin cancer a year and counting, melanoma, a year with 90% of those related to sun-exposure. We are truly playing with fire every time we step outside without sunblock on.

There's nothing wrong with getting a tan if you some common sense and use sunblock - SPF 15 or higher with UVA and UVB protection. The key is to avoid becoming a french fry and to remember to reapply the sunblock liberally and often (each hour is the expert recommendation). As Dr. Doris Day, a NYC dermatologist interviewed by ABC noted: "You need to go through sunscreen...One bottle should not last a summer."

Kids, too, need sun protection and it's a myth that babies can not have sunblock applied to their skin. Infants older than 6 months of age can have the sunscreen applied to the entire skin and infants under 6 months of age can have sunscreen applied to very exposed area such as the hands and face in just the amount needed to cover those areas.

By the way, sun protection isn't just for our weekend warrior moments. Think of it as part of your every day skin care. If your kids walk to and from school, they need sun protection. If you walk outside during your work day, you need sun protection. Many daily moisturizers now include SPF 15 and are great for that daily purpose where you need a bit of protection but not the intense protection as you do on weekends when outdoors more.

So, go ahead and get outside and get some sun...just do it safely and take the few extra minutes to apply sun protection. It's fine to get a tan but no tan is worth dying for and that's the point we all have to remember.

For more tips on sun safety for infants and kids, click here and here.