Man versus sun
© 2013 Roy Benaroch, MD
There’s eeeeevil afoot, and it’s right there, right above your head! It’s…. The Sun!
At least that’s what many people seem to believe. Dermatologists and advice-givers are suggesting that parents bathe their children, in sunscreen, every single day. New York dermatologist Doris Day (presumably her real name) was quoted at Time.com: “If you don’t need a flashlight to see outside, you need protection.”
Presumably, she knows we’re not vampires.
Yes, the sun’s rays cause skin damage, and can increase skin cancer risk, and can cause painful sunburns, too. And those lovely lines in our skin we all acquire as we age? Less sun = fewer wrinkles.
But sunlight allows our bodies to make vitamin D. And discouraging kids from playing outside isn’t such a good idea. Believe me, a required 10-minute rubdown from mom is going to convince many 9 year old boys they’d rather just stay inside with their X-Box.
A modest proposal: if your kids are going to the pool or beach, or sunning outside in the middle of the day, or they’re going be to outside for a long time, apply sunscreen. If they’ve got fair or freckly skin, be extra careful. Consider using a rashguard, too. But for ordinary summer play, I don’t think most kids need head-to-toe sunscreen every single day.
Now I’d better go hide under the couch. From the dermatologists and vampires.