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Don’t Forget Sun Safety This Summer

This week’s blog is off my usual topic of nutrition and exercise, but it’s definitely something we, as Moms, should be aware of with the summer season almost upon us–protecting yourself and your kids from the sun.  I will be the first to say that I am walking proof of how overexposure to the sun can result in skin damage.  Even though I have olive-toned skin and rarely burn, years of spending too much time in the sun with minimal protection from UVA rays when I was a teen have left me with sun spots and discolorations now that I’m older.  Likewise, a friend has had a few “suspicious” looking moles removed and now goes yearly to her dermatologist to get a full body inspection of all her freckles and moles because of overexposure to the sun and lack of adequate sun protection when she was younger.

The good thing is there are lots of great products available on the market today, which you can apply to protect your skin when you’re spending time outdoors.  The key is to make sure you apply enough of the product to cover all areas that will be exposed to the sun and I always continue to reapply throughout the day as perspiration and swimming will weaken its effect.

I speak from experience that Moms of younger children tend to have an easier time with making sure their kids are protected from the sun’s rays than those of older kids.  Years ago, I would simply grab mine when it was time to reapply and slather them up.  What I face now that mine are teens is they are at that stage where they want to look tan and I guess it’s not “cool” to use sunscreen.  I’m amazed at how many teens today are ignoring all the warnings and coating themselves with baby oil before lying in the sun for hours at a time.  Yes, my generation used to do that too, but that was before all the research and information we now have that shows us how much this puts us at risk for skin cancer (not to mention the wrinkles and skin spots!).  My teens have even told me that some of their friends frequent tanning salons, a big no-no in my book.  In any case, I really have to keep an eye out and hound them when I see them heading outdoors to make sure they’ve put sunscreen on.  Chances are if I don’t tell them to do it, they won’t and will end up fried by the end of the day.  I’d suggest paying special attention to your teen so you can try to minimize the damage.  You know teenagers, they think they’re invincible–it’s our job to remind them they’re not.

I know the experts will tell you that it’s best to avoid the sun during the peak times, which is between 10 AM and 3 PM, but let’s be honest, if I’m on vacation or heading to the pool, that’s typically when I’m there.  I simply don’t do it every day–everything in moderation and when I do go outside I use sunscreen.  By the way, umbrellas are great too!  So, have fun this summer, enjoy the sun and protect your skin!

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