Stay Safe in the Sun
We all know how important it is not to let our children burn, but did you know Skin cancer kills approximately 2000 people every year in the UK.
I wrote the following article for a local newspaper and thought that our customers might find it interesting. To the best of my knowledge it is accurate and to this end I have included press releases at the end which are kept up to date.
THE SUN AND YOUR CHILDREN - Liz Gearing
Over the last few years the dangers of letting our children play out in the sun have been getting increasing press coverage, and rightly so. I spent several years living Australia where they have learnt that treating the sun without respect in childhood can lead to appalling consequences in later life. When I came home from my 5 years aboard with my two young children, I was surprised to find that mothers over here didnt share my worries about the sun. Their children would be playing out in their paddling pools with a bit of sunscreen and their swimming trunks on, whilst mine were completely covered in a UV protective sunsuit with a hat on their heads!
Britain now has more deaths per annum from Malignant Melanoma than Australia and over 69,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. Many of the people who contract skin cancer have never been abroad. People are unaware of the very real risk posed by the sun in the UK and the damage it can cause to the skin's DNA; they will use high factor sun cream on foreign holidays, they do not use the same protection at home.
Cancer Research UK said that the rises were "worrying", especially as the disease was "almost entirely preventable".
There is more than one type of skin cancer but melanoma, while not the most common, is certainly the most dangerous as it has the capacity to spread beyond the initial tumour. This makes it much harder to treat if not caught soon enough, and survival rates are much lower than other forms of skin cancer. Professor Robert Souhami, from Cancer Research UK, said: "We need to persuade young people especially to change their attitudes towards tanning and their behaviour relating to the sun and sunbeds."
Although many of the sun's worst effects do not appear until later in life, recent medical research has shown that it is very important to protect children and teenagers from overexposure to UV radiation. The majority of most people's sun exposure occurs before age 20, and studies increasingly suggest a link between early exposure and skin cancer as an adult. It is important to recognise that you do not need to get sunburnt to develop skin cancer and that the sun does not need to feel hot to damage your skin.
Sun and Children
Most children feel better and happier in the sun and a sun tan is often seen as a sign of good health. Strong sunshine, however, will damage and weaken a childrens delicate skin rather than protect and strengthen it, and a sun-tanned skin is in fact a damaged skin. Many cases of malignant melanoma link back to sunburn in early childhood. Even if exposure does not cause obvious sunburn, damage still occurs and accumlulates over the years. 50 per cent of total lifetime sunlight exposure occurs in childhood.
What do SPF numbers mean?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and is a laboratory measure which grades the ability of a sunscreen to filter out UV rays. All sunscreens with an SPF number will filter out some UV rays, but those labelled broad spectrum will filter out both UVA and UVB rays. It has been known for some time that UVB rays cause skin cancer, but recent evidence suggests that UVA rays also contribute. Cancer Research recommends the use of broad spectrum, SPF15+ products for everyone adults aswell as children.
Can sunscreens be used on babies and young children?
There is no evidence to suggest that sunscreens are harmful to young children when used in small quantities on the face and hands. Their skin, however, is more likely that adults to absorb the ingredients in the sunscreens and the rest of their body is best protected with clothing rather than sunscreens. It is better not to put suncream on infants under 6 months, but simply to keep them out of the sun altogether.
HELPING YOUR CHILDREN BE SUNWISE
The following precautions can help ensure that the children around you avoid UV-related health problems, both now and later in life. Started early and followed consistently, each of these steps will become an easy, accepted habit, no more bothersome than fastening seatbelts every time you drive the car.
Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV radiation
Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage. Check the label when buying sunglasses.
Wear a Hat
A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
Protect Other Areas with Clothing during Prolonged Periods in the Sun
Tightly-woven clothes are best, preferably with a UV protection rating to ensure total block out. Bear in mind that a wet, light coloured t-shirt will offer less protection from UV rays to the skin below than a high factor suncream. UV rays pass straight through lightly woven fabric.
Always Use Sunscreen When Outside on a Sunny Day
Apply sunscreen liberally before your child goes out, and reapply every 2 hours if your child has been perspiring or swimming. Even waterproof sunscreens can come off when your child towels off sweat or water. Do not assume that your child wont need sunscreen on a warm but cloudy day UV rays pass easily through cloud.
Avoid the Midday Sun as Much as Possible
The sun's UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To the extent you can, limit your child's exposure to the sun during these hours
TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERSWHO HAVE TAKEN THE TROUBLE TO READ THIS ARTICLE Obviously we would like you to buy one of our KoolSun suits, but if you choose not to buy one of ours then please do buy one from somewhere these garments are a necessity and no longer a fashion accessory. Childrens skin is precious and it is our responsibility as parents to protect it.
Recent Press Releases
Skin Cancer Cases on the Rise: BBC 10/05/2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/4533669.stm
Widow Starts Skin Cancer Campaign: BBC 09/05/2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lincolnshire/4528481.stm
I didn't know it was skin cancer: BBC 23/03/2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4373011.stm
Deadly skin cancer set to treble: Cancer Research 23/03/2005 http://http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/pressoffice/pressreleases/2005/march/70331
Under 18's shouldn't use sunbeds: BBC 17/03/2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4357689.stm
For more information please visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/sunsmart