Skin Cancer Prevention – Is Your Child Sun-Protected?

Skin Cancer Prevention – Is Your Child Sun-Protected?

The depleting ozone layer seems to be contributing to the increase of skin cancer. An estimated 1.3 million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed within the United States each year, outnumbering all other cancers combined.

As with most children, they tend to spend time outdoors from 10:00am to 4:00pm when UV rays are at their highest. One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.”¹ “A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.”². Is your child sun protected?

Skin cancer can be prevented and it is never too late to start taking better care of your skin! Clothing appears to provide one of the most convenient forms of protection against ultraviolet radiation (UV). However, not all clothing is sufficiently protective against UV radiation. The average T-shirt only provides an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) equivalent to a SPF 7 sunscreen.

Sun protective clothes are specially engineered clothing, swimming suits or hats that have been specially developed to include chemical UV absorbers that prevent penetration of UVA and UVB rays. UVA, the “Ageing Ray” which makes up 95% of UV light energy, has the power to penetrate deep into our skin where it can do permanent harm to the skin cells. UVB, the “Burning Ray” which makes up 4-5% of the UV light energy, is one of the foremost causes of skin cancer.

UPF is like the sun protective factor SPF used on sunscreen lotion bottles and fabrics today, in that both UPF and SPF measure sunburn protection. A lot of companies will kind of bounce back and forth between SPF and UPF so let’s take a moment to clarify what exactly each of these acronyms means.

UPF is the measurement of how much UV light it blocks. The amount of protection fabric provides depends on the type of fabric and the weave or knit of the fabric. Generally these fabrics have a tighter weave or knit and are usually darker in color. A 1 over the UPF number demonstrates the maximum amount of UV rays coming through the fabric. A UPF 15 rating allows 1/15 of UV rays through the fabric.

SPF on the other hand measures how long you can stay in the sun without burning. If you normally burn in 10 minutes, a sunscreen with a 15 SPF would protect you 15 times as long, or 150 minutes, assuming you don’t sweat or get wet. If a fair-skinned, blond headed person burns in five minutes under the noon day sun, an SPF 10 would enable her to remain outside for fifty minutes before burning — ten times longer than without sunscreen. A darker-skinned individual who might burn in 20 minutes without sunscreen could stay out for 200 minutes.

Skin Cancer Prevention – Is Your Child Sun-Protected?

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