Enjoying the sunshine is a great way to stay healthy and have fun, but too much exposure can be harmful and lead to long-term consequences. Taking care of skin dramatically reduces one’s risks of developing a variety of skin cancers. It also prevents permanent and short-term damage due to overexposure, including sunburns and blisters. Here are three important steps to safeguard your teen’s youthful skin.

1. Apply Sunblock

Frequent application of broad spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher is the first step to lowering your teen’s chances of skin cancer and future damage. Certain cancers such as basal cell carcinomas ordinarily show up in later years but are primarily caused by sun damage that occurred during youth. Regular use of sunscreen increases your teen’s chances of avoiding such skin problems as they get older.

So, how often should your teenager apply sunblock? Application of sunblock should be done every hour or so, especially if the sunblock is not labeled as being waterproof. The natural moisture in skin breaks down sunblock not made for water resistance, so it’s important to reapply the product throughout your child’s time in the sun even if they are using a waterproof sunblock.

young girl on a boat

2. Reduce Exposure

Staying out of the sun is the best way to prevent sun damage from happening. If your teenager is going to be outside, however, taking breaks from prolonged exposure helps. Have them go inside or find a shaded place to relax every hour or so for 30 minutes to limit the amount of direct sunlight they are exposed to.

3. Avoid Indoor Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are dangerous and not a safe alternative to spending time in the sun. Tanning beds use UVA rays, which can increase the risk of melanoma. Skin damage builds over time, starting with the first tan or sunburn. It’s better for your teen’s skin to stay away from tanning beds and try to avoid tanning altogether. There are many sunless tanning products on the market that can be used as a safe substitute.

Having fun in the sun this summer is okay as long as your teen takes good care of their skin and remains mindful of how much time they spend in direct sunlight. Encourage them to embrace their natural skin and use proper sun safety when outside!

Do you have more questions about keeping your teen healthy in Salem Oregon?  Contact our staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!

This post was originally published on wfmchealth.org