Mother-daughter activities, especially beach and boating days, should always include the SLIP, SLOP, SLAP method before heading out: SLIP on protective clothing, SLOP on sunscreen and SLAP on a broad-brim hat. My friends over at Soltrino keep my family and I fully protected for our boating and beach days (like these swimsuits we’re wearing for our boating day).
Growing up in Bermuda as a light-skinned girl my goal was to tan, not protect, and so I spent years applying Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Oil on my skin before heading to the beach to get that golden glow. I know I know…you can gasp in horror because I basically cooked myself, but I can assure you, I wasn’t the only one. The emphasis of sun-protection from an early age just wasn’t a “thing” in my childhood years, but now, there has been a huge effort to educate parents and adults period, on the importance of establishing good sun protection habits and also sharing the damaging effects (sometimes lethal) of too much sun. So what exactly is all the fuss about?
Let’s talk about UV Rays.
Ultraviolet Radiation is essentially energy that comes from the sun and there are different levels of UV rays based on how much energy they have. Each level has a degree of damaging effects to our skin and a “UV Index” has been created to help us determine the strength of UV rays on any given day. For more information on UV rays, visit here. FUN FACT – August is the hottest month of the year in Bermuda and most days are Indexed at a level 8 (cue the Soca song Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot). So how much damage can these UV Rays really do?
Let’s talk about Melanoma.
According to Cancer.org, Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown color) start to grow out of control. Melanoma is less common, but more dangerous than some other types of skin cancer. Skincancer.org reports that Melanoma in children and adolescents accounts for 1 to 4 percent of all melanomas and 3 percent of pediatric cancers. To grab your attention even further, 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of melanoma. How many sunburns have you or your children had? It’s time to take note. Those pesky UV rays change the appearance of existing moles and cause new spots on the skin. You should perform regular self-examinations and take pictures of your current moles as a benchmark to detect any changes over the years. Also, you should follow the ABCDE code when giving yourself regular examinations (graphic provided by Forefront Dermatology).
Let’s talk Melanated Mamas.
For years, I heard the misconception that Black people don’t get skin cancer. I hope that the above information will help my melanated mamas take sun protection seriously and understand that the UV rays are unbiased, but if that isn’t enough for you, check out this article from a fellow Bermudian sharing how melanoma impacted her family.