Less Screen Time and More Sunscreen

As a primary care physician, I see skin cancer on a weekly basis during routine physicals and skin checks. I have extracted skin cancer in patients as young as 30. By the time they reach their late 60s, their back becomes heavily scarred due to the extraction process. This article is not aimed at diagnosing skin cancer, but rather at preventing it. So how do we prevent skin cancer from occurring? Like any disease, its about protection at a very young age.

When I see babies in my office I always remind parents to place sunscreen on their little ones. The brand is just a preference, it’s the SPF that matters. Make sure to use an SPF>50 to protect your child. It’s safer to use creams on babies, this way you know exactly what areas of the body it covers. A rash guard on top of a swim suit and a hat are also suitable for toddlers. Sunscreen sprays are more suitable for ages 5 and up, when children are always on the go. Most parents tell me “I always forget to put it on my kids before we leave the house”. My advice for this is to keep the sunscreen in an easily accessible location, such as on a shelf in the kitchen, that way you can apply sunscreen on the kids as soon as they finish a meal before heading outdoors. Another place is to keep cream sunblock in your car, next to your hand sanitizer in the glove or middle compartment. To prolong its protective properties, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, especially on areas that get wet more often.

Dousing your child with baby oil to protect against the effects of sunburn is no longer a viable option. How do you prevent skin cancer, prevent the burns…? Sunblock. Being proactive is important, and consistency goes hand in hand with that. To help avoid bad burns and a visit to your primary care physician, always use sunblock whether at the pool, playground, park or any outdoor area where exposure to sun is imminent. Remember, the good habits children pick up at a young age will stay with them along their journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Sula Safar, MD
Pomona Valley Health Center
3110 Chino Avenue, Suite 150
Chino Hills, CA 91709

For information on Physician Referrals, please call 909.865.9858.

Categories

Our

Locations