Your top ten sun protection excuses debunked!
Our sun protection habit has to change and it starts here… with you. Don’t put it off and think that it is the responsibility of someone else; children need good role models and you’re that person. To inspire action, here is a list of the most common excuses you can no longer use!
“I’m OK because I don’t actually sunbathe”
In a 2013 survey more than a third of people admitted the last time they were sunburnt was in the UK. Sunburn occurs most typically when people are out and about, distracted, watching, coaching or playing sport and not actually ‘sunbathing’.
“It’s cloudy this morning, I won’t bother!”
If cloud cover is light or only partial, UV penetration can remain very high, so if half the sky is covered in clouds, 80% of UV rays still shine through. Also remember, in the UK it can be typically cloudy in the morning but blistering hot in the afternoon!
“I look good with a tan!”
Although a tan is seen by many as being attractive, tanning via the sun vs fake tanning is a bit like smoking vs vaping! Apart from the danger of melanoma and skin cancer, sun tanning invariably leads to leathery skin, age spots and wrinkles… not so attractive!
“We need sunshine on our skins to make vitamin D”
Whilst vitamin D is needed to build and maintain strong bones, you should not have to ‘redden’ or ‘burn’ your skin to make enough. On days when UV levels are moderate to high, most people get enough vitamin D through normal activity even with sun protection. In summer a few minutes of sun exposure outside peak UV periods provides adequate vitamin D.
“People with darker skin do not need sun protection”
Whatever your skin type, if you spend your childhood in the sun without adequate protection you are at higher risk of developing melanoma than someone who grew up with good sun protection. People who tan easily or are naturally dark skinned may have a lower risk than people with lighter skin, but they are still at risk.
“A tan is healthy and it protects you from sunburn”
There is no such thing as a healthy tan – the change in colour is an indication of sun damage. A tan over white skin acts only as about an SPF 4 sunscreen.
“I am not supposed to touch kids – how do I apply their sunscreen?”
You don’t need to. The OK Guidelines in the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code recommend that you ‘lead by example’ and apply it yourself, instructing kids how to do it and where not to miss. This also shows that sun protection is implemented by someone they look up to. Visit www.oksunsafetycode.com to read more.
“It’s not sunburn – it’s a healthy glow!”
Sunburn is when the skin looks pink or red after being in the sun. It doesn’t have to be blistered or raw or peeling – in fact any amount of sunburn is a clear sign that ultraviolet (UV) radiation has damaged the DNA in your skin cells. This type of damage can build up over time and can lead to melanoma.
“Kids cannot wear sunglasses or hats when playing sport”
Maybe so for some sports however ensure they use SPF30 sunscreen. Although it should be the second line in defence (clothing the first), is important in sport, especially as children wear fewer clothes during vigorous activity and are outdoors for prolonged periods of time. To be at all effective it needs to be generously applied and reapplied during the day.
“I don’t know where to start with a sun protection programme?”
Start here! Get OK accredited at www.oksunsafetycode.com It’s easy, quick and ultimately, what you’re saying is that you’re being responsible. Whether you’re an individual or a group that works outdoors with kids, becoming ‘OK accredited’ means that you’ve developed a tailored sun policy, and you’re using it daily throughout summer.
Posted in News July 2015