Dear Harriette:

My daughter has very fair skin, so I always caution her to stay out of the sun. This summer, she went away for the weekend with some of her high school friends, and when she returned, she had a severe sunburn. Her skin continues to peel, and she is uncomfortable.

I am worried about my daughter. Skin cancer has been an issue in our family, and I am scared that this could happen to her, probably not now but in the future. How can I get her to take this seriously? I know she wants to have fun with her friends, but lying out in the sun is like poison for her.

— Protect My Daughter

Dear Protect My Daughter: Take your daughter to a dermatologist and have her skin examined carefully to learn what she should do to heal it and what damage has already occurred. Talk to the dermatologist about your family history so that all the details that you know are on the table. Ask the doctor to explain to your daughter how to care for her skin. This should include specific details on how she can be in the sun.

Chances are, your daughter will go back into the sun again, so she should practice whatever precautions the dermatologist gives her. I have an Irish friend, for example, who loves the beach but whose skin is far too sensitive to soak up the rays. She has head-to-toe caftans and big floppy hats that she wears — along with sunscreen with high levels of zinc — to make it possible for her to enjoy the beach. Help your daughter create a safe way of being out in the sun so that she doesn’t have to miss out on fun with her friends.