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Sun-savvy tips



Published: Sun, May 20, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Sun-savvy tips

For children

k A blistering sunburn or two in childhood years can significantly increase a child's risk for developing skin cancer later in life. Follow these precautions:

k Limit outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are strongest. There is reflective light even in the shade.

k Babies under 6 months old should spend very little time in the sun. If they are out in the sun, they should wear protective clothing, including a hat with a brim that shades their face and sunglasses that filter harmful UV rays.

k Children should always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before children go outside and reapplied every two to three hours when they are in the sun or water, even if the label says the product is waterproof. Don't forget the nose, lips, ears and backs of hands and feet. Stick sunscreen products with paraffin are good for those areas, since they don't drip and sting the eyes.

k Children should wear photoprotective clothing and hats. Just wearing a white T-shirt isn't good enough. A wet, light-colored shirt transmits almost as much light to a child as his or her bare skin. So wear dark colors with long sleeves and pants whenever possible. Some companies specialize in designing photoprotective clothing. A dermatologist can recommend an appropriate brand.

For adults

k Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

k Reapply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors, even on cloudy days.

k Wear protective, tightly woven clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt and pants.

k Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when outdoors.

k Stay in the shade whenever possible.

k Avoid reflective surfaces, which can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun's damaging rays.

k Protect children. Minimize sun exposure and apply sunscreen regularly.

k No shadow? Seek the shade. If your shadow is shorter than you are, you're likely to sunburn.

k Avoid tanning beds.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology




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