May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month! Here at The Derm, we’re passionate about skin protection and skin cancer awareness.
So much so, in fact, that our very own Dr. Amy Brodsky created the Sun Hero program dedicated to ensuring children are educated early on how to achieve adequate sun protection.
Why is protecting children’s skin from the sun so crucial? Dr. Brodsky answers some of your most common questions about skin cancer prevention.
What impact does sun damage have on children?
Many parents think kids are durable. Their skin tans so quickly that it hardly even seems like it’s being damaged at all. But that way of thinking can prove detrimental.
Dr. Brodsky says, “The majority of sun damage you get is in childhood but it doesn’t show up until later in life.”
Meaning, the more we allow our children’s skin to become damaged by the sun, the more we’re risking their health later in life.
What are some of the biggest myths you have to combat when it comes to sun protection?
Unfortunately, misinformation allows for myths to run rampant—myths that can hurt us when it comes to incorrect information about sun protection.
Dr. Brodsky explains, “People think you need sun exposure to get vitamin D. But you can get vitamin D from a pill or food.”
She advises people to eat their Vitamin D, and protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays.
One other myth that Dr. Brodsky highlights is that the spf on the bottle is often misunderstood. The higher number doesn’t always mean better protection, especially in chemical sunscreens. She prefers mineral based sunscreens which are physical blockers.
What is your best advice for kids when it comes to sun protection?
“Use sunscreen every day and reapply before you go outside in the sun,” Dr. Brodsky says. “Wear sunglasses and a hat, and try to seek shade.”
Ultimately, it comes down to arming your kids with the right tools to protect themselves from the sun. And secondly, educating them on why it’s important to seek shade and apply sunscreen before spending so much time in direct sunlight.
What about for parents, teachers, and other adult caretakers?
It’s great when we’re present with our kids and able to help them protect against sun exposure, but what happens when we’re at work and they’re at school or with a caregiver?
“I lobbied and passed ‘Sunucate,’ which allows caregivers at school and camp the ability to put sunscreen on children before recess,” Dr. Brodsky says.
This will help empower more caregivers and teachers to protect children from the sun when in their care, leading to less childhood sun damage and ultimately, more skin cancer prevention.
How does your Sun Hero program work?
Sun Hero is a 5-step system that’s not only easy, but extremely important as we continue to protect kids from sun damage.
First, health care professionals (especially dermatologists!) can sign up to become a sun hero here. From there, you’ll contact a school or program in your area and get permission. Step three involves requesting your kits that will be delivered to you. Then, you’ll be a sun hero and educate kids!
Of course, additional kits are also available upon request to continue the fight against skin cancer.
Dr. Brodsky herself can often be found in local schools presenting the Sun Hero Program.
Do you know of a school or organization that would benefit from a Sun Hero presentation? Text us to let us know about it at 779-273-4290!
Over the past two decades, Dr. Amy Brodsky has earned a reputation as one of the country’s foremost rising stars in the dermatological field. Dr. Brodsky is widely recognized as an artist when it comes to understanding facial anatomy and the nuances of treating aging faces. Her cosmetic acumen and early adoption of skincare innovations quickly gained the attention of top media outlets in Chicago, which resulted in ongoing guest appearances on television networks like ABC, NBC, WGN, Fox and The U.
Dr. Brodsky has dedicated her career to the research and practice of innovative dermatologic treatments and the clinical implications of cosmetics. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in bioengineering, Dr. Brodsky attended medical school at The University of Chicago. She distinguished herself early on by winning the Women’s Dermatologic Society Fellowship to study clinical trials on Cosmeceuticals before graduating at the top of her class with the highest honors.
Dr. Brodsky earned her certification from the American Board of Dermatology in 2002 and opened her own practice in 2007. She is currently affiliated with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Thanks to her widely recognized expertise, she has been invited onto several pharmaceutical advisory boards. In 2012, Dr. Brodsky founded Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation, Inc. (PSPF), a philanthropic endeavor born out of her passion for skin cancer prevention and desire to educate others about effective sun protection for children.
Most recently, Dr. Brodsky founded The Sun Hero Program, and has partnered with Cerave and LaRoche Posay with a mission to raise awareness of the importance of sun safety in childhood, increase adoption of sun safety habits, and to motivate change that will reduce the amount of skin cancer. You can learn more at https://beasunhero.com/
Dr. Brodsky, a mother of two, is based in Chicago.