Summer and skin care for youth

Summer is right around the corner and that means youth and adults will be outside doing activities. Sun protection is very important at all ages and this article will explore ways adults can help teach youth about sun safety behaviors.

The sun gives out many kinds of radiation, which can be seen as light or felt as heat.  Ultraviolet (UV) light is invisible to humans and has very strong effect on the body. Exposure to UV light can cause serious problems early such as wrinkling of the skin, skin cancer and other skin disorders, cataracts and breaking down of the immune system.

UV exposure builds over a lifetime, it is important to protect and educate children at an early age. According to Michigan State University Extension, while some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable and healthy, too much can be dangerous.

Key ideas that adults should teach youth about sun protection include:

  • UV light form the sun has a strong effect on the body.
  • During the sun’s peak hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., people can protect their skin by:
    • Playing in the shaded area
    • Wearing sunglasses, wide brim hats and covering up with clothing
    • Using sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or more.

Protecting young people from UV exposure and teaching them how to practice lifelong sun safety behaviors is critical to reducing the rates of skin cancer. We can still have fun in the sun, we just need to be protected!

The information for this article was taken from a 4-H curriculum called “Healthy Habits”. This resource has more information about his topic as well as hands on activities to do with youth sun protection.

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