Soccer can involve a lot of sun exposure. Teaching sun-safe behavior, especially to children, is an important step in the fight against skin cancer.
The sun emits both UVB and UVA rays. The SPF in sunscreen products stands for sun protective factor that measures protection against UVB rays (the reddening rays) that are notorious for causing superficial skin cancers. Unfortunately, the UVA rays that are known for their tanning power also do much of the dermal damage. The rays are longer and reach down into the inner skin layer, damaging deep fibers. Even though UVA rays are the rays that give you the “healthy” glow, that tan is actually a response to dermal damage. Sunscreen products that only protect against UVB rays will deflect a burn and still result in a tan, but these are not the better products health-wise because they do not offer full protection from both types of rays. The best protective products are those that are broad spectrum- meaning they protect against both types of rays but also meaning they don’t allow the skin to tan.
• Before the Game: Sunscreen Before Shinguards
Sunscreen is the best on-field defense against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. In order to be effective, sunscreen must be applied 15 minutes before vigorous activity- even when it’s cold/cloudy.
• During & After the Game: Cool Off and Cover Up
Spend time in the shade and avoid sun exposure when possible. Use Sun-protective clothing, such as long sleeves and sunglasses, to protect the skin from the sun and keep body temperature cooler.
Not sure where to start with selecting the proper sunscreen? This article breaks down some viable options: https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/g20114917/best-sunscreens-for-kids/
Here are a couple quick videos we found may be helpful. We encourage everyone to do their own research to know what’s going to work best for you and your kids!