3 Habits Parents Should Encourage for a Lifetime of Healthier Skin
Practices that we learn early in life, such as brushing our teeth twice a day and washing our hands before eating, often become lifelong habits. To help children have a lifetime of healthier skin, dermatologist recommend that parents encourage the following habits at an early age:
1. Practice Sun Protection
Protecting a child’s skin from overexposure to the sun can significantly reduce the child’s lifetime risk of skin cancer. Some studies suggest that sun protection in children may even reduce the number of moles that develop. Fewer moles can reduce the lifetime risk of developing melanoma, a potentially deadly skin cancer.
Sun protection does not mean that your child cannot enjoy spending time outdoors. To learn how you can protect the skin while spending time outdoors, visit: Be Sun SmartSMSunscreen tips from a dermatologist:
If your child’s skin is sensitive or prone to an allergic reaction, be sure to test the sunscreen first. Applying a dab on the child’s inside upper arm offers a reliable test. If redness or a rash develops within 24 hours, another sunscreen should be used.
A sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is less likely to cause a reaction. These ingredients sit on top of the skin.
2. Avoid Tanning
The United States Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
Be a good role model by not getting a tan from the sun or artificial tanning devices such as tanning beds. Children are easily influenced by what they see their parents do.
3. Check Skin Regularly
Regular skin self-exams are important. In teenagers and adults, these exams can help detect skin cancer in its earliest stage. To encourage your child to perform regular skin self-exams later in life, dermatologists recommend:
Perform regular skin exams of your child’s skin. This can encourage regular skin exams to become a habit.
Teach your child how to perform a skin self-exam.
Check your own skin regularly, and let your child know that you perform regular skin self-exams.
Everything you need to know to perform a skin self-exam can be found on a one-page printout developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.
This printout also gives you a place to keep track of moles and other spots.
Body Mole Map
These habits are important year round. You do not to wait for a day at the beach to teach sun protection or how to perform a skin exam. You can start today.