Recently, a study from UCLA came out claiming children of melanoma survivors are not receiving the best possible protection from ultraviolet radiation, despite an increased risk of developing melanoma themselves. How can this be? Often those afflicted with a melanoma diagnosis will change their lifestyle habits dramatically. Many will implement a new “sun safe” way of living, and in some cases will begin a life of advocacy, which generally speaking is reflected in the lives and sun safety habits of their children. Why, then, are claims being made that these children are not being adequately protected? Let’s take a look at this study more closely.
Researchers from University of California, Los Angeles surveyed 300 melanoma survivors with children aged 17 or younger about their sun safety attitudes and habits for 3 years. The study included Latino and non-Latino whites due to higher melanoma rates being present in these groups. Researchers asked participants what sun protection strategies they use for their children, with a majority (79%) “often or always” relying on sunscreen to keep their children safe. Following sunscreen, 30% claimed their children “often or always” wore a hat, 23% “often or always” stayed in the shade, and 8% “often or always” wore sunglasses. Even though the majority of parents surveyed claimed frequent use of sunscreen, 43% still reported their child developed a sunburn at least once over the past year. So, what do these numbers tell us? Sunscreen alone is an inadequate form of sun protection.
Even though the majority of parents surveyed claimed frequent use of sunscreen, 43% still reported their child developed a sunburn at least once over the past year.
Despite children of melanoma survivors having an increased risk of developing melanoma, EVERY child should be adequately protected from the sun at all times. Sunscreen must be combined with other forms of sun protection in order to provide sufficient and lasting protection against uv damage and sunburn. This is why we are such big advocates of sun protective clothing. It’s convenient, reliable, and does not wash off your skin or need to be reapplied. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, clothing is the single most effective form of protection against uv radiation (next to avoiding the outdoors all together). We recommend the following products to ensure maximum sun protection when enjoying the outdoors:
- UV Skinz Sun Protective Clothing
- A hat with a brim of at least 3 inches
- 100% UV protective sunglasses
- A broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30+ (like TruKid Sunny Days Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+ or MDSolarSciences Mineral Creme Sunscreen, SPF 50)
The general rule of thumb when it comes to sunscreen is to apply a generous amount 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and reapply every 2 hours, and immediately after swimming or sweating (this applies to the water resistant kind too!). We also highly recommend seeking the shade when possible, especially during peak hours when uv radiation is the strongest–generally between 11 AM and 4 PM.
Whether melanoma runs in the family or it doesn’t, no child should have to experience a sunburn. For more information, visit our Sun Safety page at uvskinz.com.