4 Habits To Cultivate In Your Child That Will Protect Them From Developing Skin Cancer Later In Life

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Skin cancer is not that common in children; however, the habits that children develop in relation to the sun can have a direct impact on if they get skin cancer when they are older. If your family has a history of skin cancer, it is particularly important that you teach your child how to keep their skin healthy.  

Always Put On Sunscreen

Sunscreen is not just for hot summer days; ideally, your child should wear sunscreen throughout the year. Purchase sunscreen or lotion with sunscreen in it for your child. Help your child put on sunscreen every morning, starting when your child is a baby. Make it part of your morning routine so that your child feels that it is as natural, normal and necessary to put on sunscreen before leaving the house as it is to brush their teeth.

You should also put some sunscreen in your child's backpack, so they can apply it when they need to when they are away from the house. Teach your child how to rub the sunscreen into their skin. You should also teach your child to reapply their sunscreen if they get in the water or are sweating a lot.  

Make Hats A Required Part Of Their Wardrobe

Next, make hats a required part of your child's wardrobe. Starting when your child is a baby, always put a hat on them before they go outside to play. As your child grows up, have them help you pick out the hats that they want to wear. 

Wearing a hat outside is a great way to protect your child's most delicate skin, on their face, from getting sunburned. Explain to your child how wearing a hat protects their skin and keeps them safe. When your child understands why they need to wear a hat, they will be more likely to do so. 

Teach Your Child To Embrace Their Natural Skin Tone

At certain stages in your child's life, they may feel pressure to be tan. This could cause them to want to go to a tanning booth, or just skip out on wearing sunblock. Emphasize to your child that their natural skin color is beautiful, and that they don't need to do anything to change your skin color. Never make fun of your child's skin; help them feel confident about how they look. 

Cultivate Healthy Eating Habits

Finally, if your family has a history of developing skin cancer ,such as melanoma, it is important for your child to have a healthy diet as well. The right diet can help your child fight against their predisposition for developing skin cancer. 

Help your child develop a love for fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables will provide your child with the nutrients they need to fight against skin cancer. For example, eating fruits and vegetables is a great way to eat carotenoids that help protect your skin against burning. Keep sugar and processed foods to a minimum in your child's diet. You should also limit your child's protein and animal fat intake to one meal a day; too much protein and animal fat can inhibit your body's ability to fight off cancer.    

Help your child develop the habits they need now to be free of skin cancer for the rest of your life. Teach your child the importance of wearing sunscreen, covering up, embracing their natural skin and eating healthy at a young age to that these habits follow them into adulthood and protect their skin in the long-term.  

For further assistance, contact a local professional, such as Henry E. Wiley, III, M.D.