by Ginny Dent Brant
With the rise in skin cancers, protecting your skin and eyes from the sun has become more important than when I was a child. I’ve earned the right to develop melanoma from my overexposure days of lifeguarding and sunbathing. Who remember the days of using baby oil and iodine to attract more sun rays to our skin? I’m fortunate I’ve not had a skin cancer yet. Today, one must have a plan that includes using safe sunscreen as well as other forms of protection from the sun.
It’s important to use safe sunscreens whenever possible. Safe means the sunscreening ingredients include non-nano particle zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and other safe ingredients such as coconut oil, pomegranate seed oil, etc. which both contribute SPF and are natural.
It’s best to avoid chemical sunscreens which use ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate for sun protection. These chemicals are known to cause many health concerns and oxybenzone is a potentially hormone-disrupting chemical that is readily absorbed by the body. Research shows that some of these are a major concern when used on children.
Safe sunscreens are not the only way to protect your skin from UV radiation rays. The best defense is a combination of sunscreen, clothing and hats, timing and shade, and protective eyewear. Tightly woven clothing with dark colors is a great way to protect your skin and is the newest trend in bathing suits for children. Yes, it’s time to cover-up. I mean use a real cover-up garment to shield yourself and loved ones from the sun. Wide brim or safari hats that cover the back of your neck and face are also helpful tools.
Large beach umbrellas are a must for a day on the beach. Pools are beginning to add partly shaded coverings so people can swim without the sun beating down on them. It’s good common sense to avoid the hot sun during midday from 12 – 4 pm. And of course, a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 15 SPF should be applied every few hours according to instructions.
And don’t forget your eyes! Sunglasses with UV protection are a must even for children. Wearing sunglasses protect your eyes against UVA and UVB rays. Sunrays can damage your eyes and contribute to vision loss and cataracts as you age. Ask me, the gal who never wore sunglasses until about ten years ago. This same gal who used to have perfect vision and is currently moving towards cataracts and vision loss.
This is exactly what my father did after he was diagnosed with melanoma. You could see him floating in the beach inlet late afternoons with his hat, long sleeve top and long bathing trunks. Although melanoma can be found on parts of the body which are not exposed to the sun, my father never had another incident. He learned the basics of shading, shielding with clothing and hats, avoiding the midday sun, applying sunscreen, and using protective eyewear. These tips enabled him to have safe fun in the summer time.
What tips can you share for protecting your family while enjoying your fun in the sun?
Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released recently after her journey with cancer. More info at www.ginnybrant.com