Young children who are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light can suffer
from significant genetic damage to their skin, the Israel Cancer Association
reported on the basis of new research conducted at the University of Colorado in
The research was published last month in the Journal of the
American Dermatology Academy.
The US researchers examined the skin of 585
12-year-olds using the “standard visible” technique of direct observation and the
“cross-polarized” technique in which skin is photographed using light from the UV
spectrum, making it possible to view skin damage at a high
Children with red or blonde hair, blue eyes and many freckles
were found to be at highest risk for skin damage from the sun’s rays that
accumulate during the child’s lifetime and may even be irreversible. The most
dangerous skin cancer is melanoma.
The ICA, which noted that the
country’s swimming season opened a week ago, said that children – especially
those in high-risk groups – must be protected from sun exposure by light,
tightly woven clothing, repeated use of sunscreen and keeping out of the sun
Children with light skin; those with many sunspots on
their skin; adults and youths who work and pursue hobbies outdoors; swimmers,
surfers and divers who are exposed to the sun when their skin is wet, causing
the sun’s rays to be magnified; people with a personal or family history of skin
cancer; patients taking drugs that increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s
rays; and organ transplant recipients who regularly take mediations that
suppress the immune system must take special precautions.
not remove their shirts while swimming, and any exposed skin should regularly be
covered with sunscreen by parents, kindergarten teachers or caregivers. Seek
shade whenever possible, and a wide-brimmed hat should be worn in the sun that
covers the face, eyes and neck. Sunglasses that filter out UV rays should be
worn outdoors and sunbathing should be avoided between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when
UV radiation is the strongest.
Children (and adults) should also drink
plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
More information about skin cancer
can be obtained at www.cancer.org.il or by calling 1-800-599-995.