This is a post sponsored by Neutrogena, a leader in skin care and protection.
Skin cancer was not on the radar of my parents when I was a kid growing up in the 1970s. The application of ‘suntan’ lotion was designed to increase the sun-browned look many people equated with healthy children. Imagine. Fast-forward to 21st century parenting, and the steps we parents take to prevent sunburn from creating not only uncomfortable moments, but a lifetime of trouble, too.
The website SkinCancer.org reports that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime, and that 90% of melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. As in, laying out, playing, or working in the great outdoors. Melanoma is most potentially-dangerous form of skin cancer, occurring when unrepaired DNA, usually due to sun exposure, triggers mutations that lead skin cells to replicate rapidly and form tumors. These tumors can metastasize and spread to other parts of the body if not detected early. People usually see dark brown or black (or sometimes red and purple) moles or spots that have uneven shapes.
Here in Alaska, where many people are fooled into thinking that our cooler temperatures mean sunscreen is “not necessary,” the state’s population actually rates higher for deaths due to melanoma as compared to other states.
While our residents may not develop melanoma as often as other people in other parts of the United States, we do have a disconnect between prevention information and action.
Neutrogena conducted a Harris Poll to investigate statistics to determine what parents think about providing regular sunscreen for their kids, and found that while 9 in 10 Americans believe sunscreen is important to protect children, 4 in 5 parents say their kids do not wear sunscreen on a daily basis. This is important, because daily sunscreen applications can reduce the chance of sunburn, even on a cloudy day, and that reduces the odds of getting skin cancer later in life.
Yes, I get it. We are busy – especially in the morning – to remember about sunscreen, so intent we are on getting out the door to enjoy whatever activity we’re up against on a summer day, or, during the school year, before we make lunches, supervise breakfast battles and sign permission slips. But it matters, and Neutrogena has a plan.
Let kids see you and your partner applying sunscreen every day, whether it’s within a make up base or straight out of the Neutrogena tube. Kids emulate us, so set a good example year-round.
Work with your children to make sure they understand the whole application process. In Alaska, we may not be “baring it all,” but the critical areas of face, arms, neck, and legs/feet need careful attention. The Holderness Family, a hilarious crew that pokes fun at themselves and the crazy journey of parenting, has an excellent video to explain how, where, and why to apply sunscreen. It’s actually quite catchy. Want to make your own video showing how your family applies sunscreen on a daily basis? Follow the directions on the Holderness Family’s video and be sure to use the hashtag #MimicMommy. A huge bonus: Neutrogena will donate $10K to the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation to further the research, outreach, and information to families.
Inspect kids’ bodies on a regular basis, looking for unusual moles, spots, or burns, along with places you missed while slapping on that sunscreen. It’s important to let your child’s pediatrician know if anything looks suspicious (here’s a good guide as recommended by the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation).
Ask if your school, neighborhood, or extended family would like to know more about the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, the only organization in the United States actively teaching children and their caretakers about the danger of melanoma.
Neutrogena is one of the only products I will use on my sensitive skin (we use the Beach Defense formula), so it made sense to use it on my children too (we also encourage our older son, now 23, to use it as well). I trust their sun protection products, and was happy to endorse the products when the company reached out to AKontheGO.