Time to Get Sun Smart for Summer

Let’s face the sun safety facts: The sun is strong, the summer days are long and the damage of exposure to our skin and eyes is well-documented. What can we do about it now? Our families get sun exposure every day through their play and outdoor explorations here in South Florida and the damage accumulated […]
Let’s face the sun safety facts: The sun is strong, the summer days are long and the damage of exposure to our skin and eyes is well-documented. What can we do about it now?
Our families get sun exposure every day through their play and outdoor explorations here in South Florida and the damage accumulated in childhood creates life-long, negative effects. The CDC states that it only takes 15 minutes for UV rays to wreck havoc upon unprotected skin and that judging exposure by the visible color of one’s skin is not an accurate indicator. It can take up to 12 hours after being in the sun to show the effects of exposure to the naked eye, which raises the risk on sunburn. It only takes a few burns in childhood to increase your child’s risk for skin cancer.

As summer ramps up and the sun exposure hits peak conditions for families, we are sharing some tips and rules to follow to keep the whole family Sun Smart in South Florida. Thank you to our skin care expert, Ms. Velia of PURE Skin + Beauty Clinic of Aesthetic Medicine, for taking the time to interview with us and remind us of life-saving, skin-loving advice.

1. Never Too Young to Learn Safety in the Sun

“Children are never too young to learn sun safety and it’s never too late to begin.” – Ms. Velia

Preparing for outdoor activities properly is part of a healthy self-care routine and also helps them to transition into the outdoors and prepare for the activities to come. Getting toddlers and children of all ages to participate is easy when sun safety is a natural part of preparation. Just as you would prepare by checking diapers and going potty or getting appropriate footwear for the occasion, your child’s sun protection is as important and something they can participate in just as they would be choosing a toy to bring or tying their shoes.
Ask your child questions to build Sun Smart critical thinking: “Is it sunny outside? Where is your hat and sunglasses?” “We’re going to the splash pad today! What should we be putting on along with our bathing suit?”
Encourage children to open the caps, squeeze the bottle and apply sunscreen themselves. Apply generously! By bringing your child into the process, it is much easier to fulfill the recommendation of application 20-30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Not only will you be fostering their independence and challenging their abilities, you are giving your child command and control over their bodies, health and teaching them responsibility. Be careful – they might be the ones keeping you in check in adopting a sun smart routine!
Remember to reapply sunscreen often. You can let your child be part of the conversation and use tools such as setting a timer and including friends or other families in the discussion about reapplication which can only benefit everyone. Recommendations are to reapply at most every 3 hours and sooner if water play is included in your outdoor activities or they are perspiring heavily.

2. Sun Protection, Burn Prevention

“Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun Please shine down on me.”
Protecting Our Skin’s Health is a lifelong journey. Sun exposure is one of the easiest causes you can control to prevent skin cancer. Statistics show that 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, each year, more new skin cancer cases are diagnosed in the U.S. than prostate, breast, lung, and colon cancer combined. One in five Americans will suffer from skin cancer over his lifetime. Sun exposure is the most easily preventable cause of skin cancer.
Plan your day around the sun, keeping in mind that UV radiation peaks mid-day and that the danger zone is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Don’t let the label of a high SPF fog your common sense! Monitor and limit your length of time in the sun – even when wearing SPF 50. Keep it with you at all times, packing sunblock in your bags and children’s bags. If it is easier, order travel sizes available directly from the manufacturer or through sites such as Amazon. Remember if it has been stored in your car, open with caution and apply only after testing the tube’s temperature to avoid a painful application.
Sunscreens are generally not advised for use in infants 6 months or younger! Check your labels prior to purchase or use. Instead, recommendations are to keep baby safe by seeking out and remaining in shade and avoiding direct sun exposure – especially through mid-day peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). That’s how dangerous exposure is, especially to brand, new skin. Protective infant UV clothing is an additional layer of safety to consider when spending time outdoors with your infant.
For children, an SPF of at least 30 is recommended. Toddler and young children’s skin is often more sensitive and should be tested in a small patch prior to use. We see and hear mothers favor such brands as Badger, California Baby and Neutrogena, all which are included on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) article, “19 Best-Scoring Sunscreens for Babies and Kids.”
When selecting your sunscreen, look for those that are broad-spectrum, offering protection for UVA and UVB rays. While sprays are easy and less messy to use, they tend to fill the air with chemicals that are not safe to breath. That being said, it is most important to choose a product that your child will use regularly and consistently.
” Men are more likely to die of melanoma than women. This is true at any age. White adolescent males and young adult men are about twice as likely to die of melanoma as are white females of the same age. By age 50, men are also more likely than women to develop melanoma. This number jumps by age 65, making men 2 times as likely as women of the same age to get melanoma. By age 80, men are 3 times more likely than women in that age group to develop melanoma.”

3. Develop a Sun Smart Routine for the Whole Family

Healthy routines begin at home and sun protection begins before you leave the house.
We know that we should be applying sunblock, but are we doing it regularly? Are we doing it correctly? What else can we be doing to protect ourselves from the sun? Getting our families regulated to a sun smart routine can begin today and have beneficial effects that last their lifetime as part of their lifestyle. What we need to stay protected:
Hats & Sunglasses
Protecting sensitive eyes and faces from the sun includes accessories the whole family can have fun with and pair with their fashion and personality. The wider the brim of the hat, the more protective shade it provides, which is more ideal! Solar radiation is a major factor to vision and eye health. When selecting sunglasses, wrap-around frames are most effective and the color of the frame is not relevant to protection, instead pick lenses that block 100% of harmful UV rays while absorbing HEV rays.
Broad-Spectrum SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
Select a minimum of 15 for adults and 30 for children and opt for a broad-spectrum cream to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Shade & Sun Avoidance
The best and most effective protective measure is avoidance of direct sunlight. As a rule of thumb, practice this during those peak hours we’ve mentioned, 10 a.m. through 4 p.m..
UV Clothing
Cover up! Clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor is optimal, but dry clothing (as opposed to wet) and darker clothing (as opposed to light colors) offer protection.
What to Avoid
Avoid sunscreen of lip product listing vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol as topical use has been linked to tumors and lesion development.
Avoid oxybenzone (a synthetic estrogen) which has been found to be a hormone-disruptor. Instead, opt for for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
Ms. Velia points out some important tips for each of our family members to include in their routine to help in their success and overall health:
Mothers & Women
Please, ladies, don’t forget the decolletage! Skin ages so much faster when UV damage is breaking down the collagen and elastin in the skin. Don’t forget that your sunblock should be applied under your makeup or include a foundation cream that includes SPF.
Fathers & Men
“Remember to put sunblock on the ears – especially for your males as ear cancer is a threat,” advises Ms. Velia. Men, statistically, do not practice sun safety
Don’t forget your husband. Men ignore sun safety at their peril. In 2015, more than twice as many American men died from melanoma as women. Surveys show that 48 percent of men report routine sun avoidance, compared to 68 percent of women.
tops of feet Don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet. Make sure to cover your ears, lips, face and back of your hands. Women should apply under their makeup.
Children & Teens
Be a role models – especially for your teens! Children mimick their parents like the old adage says, “Like father, like son.” Model and lead your family through daily sun protection rules and routines and let them see their family actively taking measures to protect from the sun. Find a way to convey the message that while a tan tends to be desirable, having a tan is not an indicator of good health! Help them successfully protect themselves by including products into their health and beauty spaces in the bathroom and fitness bags or purses so it becomes easy, fun and natural.

PURE skin + beauty

717 S.E. 2nd Street, Suite 202
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

Ms. Velia is the master aesthetician of PURE Skin + Beauty, where she partners with Dr. Harry K. Moon, leading South Florida surgeon and upcoming VP and COO of Nova Southeastern University. Located just off Las Olas, PURE is an aesthetic clinic specializing in clinical skin care and therapeutic body treatments personalized to each patient’s skin profile and needs. By combining a truly relaxing experience with clinical results, we offer our patients the luxury of high end skin care in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Information + Bookings: (954) 467-9733


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