I remember those days. Sixteen and not a care in the world. Sitting there baking my skin to the point of it turning purple. I also remember my mother’s voice in the back of my head saying “Wear your sunscreen”!
I didn’t listen to my mom. I was a sun worshiper and it didn’t help that I worked at the beach every summer after the age of fourteen and until I graduated high school.
I frequented tanning beds when they became popular and I didn’t worry about it at all. I loved the summer and loved having a tan. That was pretty much all that mattered to me. I just never thought about how it truly could cause me any issues, even though I was told about them. I guess I wasn’t the only one that didn’t listen, as the Green and Clean Mom describes here.
And then I had a scare.
A Phone Call
I was driving home with my husband from a visit with his parents. It was summer and I had a pretty great tan. I was looking over at my shoulder and noticed a strange spot that looked unique in color and shape. I got nervous. I knew it looked funny and I knew that I had to get in to see a doctor as soon as possible.
I went to the dermatologist who also thought that there was something wrong with it and it had to come off. I was told that I would only get a call if there was something wrong. A week went by and I didn’t hear from them, so I figured nothing was wrong.
Then about two weeks later my phone rang and it was the dermatologist’s office. I was sort of shocked but answered the phone call. Turned out it was a precancerous mole. Thankfully, just taking it off took care of the issue, but this scare changed my thoughts on tanning forever.
Effects of Tanning
I have some pretty fabulous pictures of me in my teens with a great tan, but now I have some pretty awful ones of skin that has been greatly damaged by that same sun that I worshiped at one time.
It wasn’t worth it and I figured with all of the new information constantly coming out about the effects of getting sunburned and sitting out in the sun without sunscreen, that the youth of today would finally be listening.
Turned out that I was wrong.
In this article by Fox News it reports that getting sunburn is on the rise again. The article points out that in a 2005 study done by the CDC there was a decrease in the amount of young people, ages 18-29, that got sunburned. However, the study done in 2010 showed an increase. The article also points out the harmful effects of tanning beds and that even though the public is much more educated on protecting themselves from the sun there is still a long way to go.
Now That I Am A Mom
So what are Mom’s to do?
By now most of us have heard about the Mom that allegedly took her daughter tanning, as reported here by the Today Show, which she later denied.
However, as parents it is important that we educate our children about proper sun exposure. Tanning can cause long lasting health problems and those lazy days at the beach without sunscreen can change your life forever.
Living in the South, I am very aware that the sun beats down on us all year long, even when we are driving in the car. Therefore, I wear SPF 15 every day and a higher SPF if I am going to be in the sun an extended period of time I wear a higher SPF rating.
My girls always wear a very high SPF rating when out in the sun,
as well as bathing suits and hats that protects their skin.
It scares me that something I did when I was a teenager could cause myself and my family a lot of heart ache in the future. This is something I think that many young adults and teenagers don’t understand yet. They don’t realize the impact that such decisions can cause.
Protecting Our Children From the Sun
My girls are young right now but I hope that I can educate them on the harmful effects of the sun in the future and that they will listen. I try to tell my younger siblings about it and show them my wrinkles and spots that the sun has caused. I just don’t understand why they just keep on doing what they always did, wanting that great tan.
Another problem that parents run into is that we are concerned about how the sunscreen that we are putting on our children’s skin and whether it is safe or not. Thankfully, the sunscreen industry has come a long way and there are many products out there that can protect our children without causing other harms. Blogger, Doreen from Mom Goes Green, has some very important points on how to pick the best skin protection in her post entitled Picking Safe and Effective, Chemical Free Sunscreens.
The Sun Isn’t All Bad
The sun is a beautiful thing and yes it can make you feel better and yes it puts a smile on all of our faces, but we just have to take precautions when we are enjoying a day at the beach or the pool.
How do you plan on educating your children about the harmful effects of the sun? How do you protect them from the sun now?