Children are the most vulnerable population in all respects. Unfortunately, sun exposure is no exception. Each health-related entity has raised its voices to make sun protection a subject covered in any educational field. We also want to join this initiative by sharing the following information.
Why is it essential to wear a child sunscreen?
- Like any other organ in the body, infants and young children’s skin is not fully developed. The test manifests itself in the following characteristics: The skin is more sensitive than that of adults.
- Skin regeneration still doesn’t work properly.
- The thickness of babies’ skin is five times thinner than that of an adult.
- A baby’s body doesn’t produce enough melanin (in charge of pigmentation) to protect against burns.
Conclusion: the use of child sunscreen is totally indispensable. And if your child is under 3 years old, it is recommended that concise periods pass under the sun’s rays (1).
Dr Lee Jong-wookWHO Director-General at headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland
“As the ozone layer becomes more depleted, and the habit of sunbathing increases, the risk of developing health complications from overexposure to UV radiation is becoming a major public health problem.”
What should I consider child sunscreen?
- As it is a product that should be applied to the little ones’ skin, we should always read the fine print of any label. To help you, see the following statements. Pre-exposure protection: Remember that if you plan to expose your children to the sun, you should apply child sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before.
- Expiration date: This is essential to confirm that the product is still effective. Besides, expired sunscreen may cause damage to children’s skin.
- Not only when they go to the beach: Your children should always wear sunscreen, regardless of fate. Every time you go outdoors, this product should be your faithful companion.
- Allbody parts matter:: Many people forget about some areas that will inevitably be exposed to the sun. Ensure your child has sunscreen on his or her ears, neck, knees, ankles, upper feet and head.
- Generous application: Do not skimp on product quantity. It’s always better than over and not missing because the latter could cause burns on your child.
- Beware of children under 6 months old!: Babies should not have any sunscreen applied. Instead, it would help if you avoid sun exposure throughout the day.
- Lips need their protection: There are sunscreen lipsticks. Look for one that has FPS 30 or higher (2).
What filter should child sunscreen have?
It is necessary to explain that there are two types of filters: chemicals and physicists. Because the former’s composition (octisalate, avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, among others) can cause irritations, younger children should use so-called physiques. Physical filters are composed of natural minerals, such as titanium oxide, zinc and iron. Precisely because their ingredients do not produce any allergic reaction, they are ideal for babies under one year old. If you don’t know how to identify them, try their texture, and you’ll see that it’s totally dense, leaving a white layer on the skin (6).
What are the tips for protecting children from the sun?
- Of course, child sunscreen is indispensable for an outdoor day. But as dermatologists say, none of these products is 100% effective. So to add precautions, here’s what you can do with your child: Do not expose them to the sun during central hours: It is known that all doctors recommend not sitting in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 a.m. This advice is not capricious; during that time, the path travelled by UVA and UVB rays are shorter. That is, the intensity increases considerably.
- The shadow is not sacred: While it’s best to be under an umbrella or tree, it’s important to know that these items won’t fully protect your child.
- Clothing is essential: Wear a hat, sunglasses with 99 or 100% sunscreen, and loose clothing covering most of your body. Even clothing made in Australia and New Zealand has the peculiarity of protecting you against UV rays (3).
- Don’t forget the shoes: Covering the instep and heels is much needed.
Is it true that if my child has dark skin, he doesn’t need child sunscreen?
- This is a totally wrong belief. While it is true that dark skin is at less risk of consequences for sun exposure, the use of child sunscreen cannot be overlooked in any way. Here are the types of skins with the greatest problems with ultraviolet rays: Children with very light skin, such as blondes or redheads.
- Small with lots of moles or freckles.
- Minors with a family history of skin cancer.
Does the child sunscreen app allow my child to spend more time in the sun?
It’s wrong to think that if you use sunscreen, you’ll be able to stay exposed to the sun longer. This happens with children and adults without distinction. And be very careful to think that if your child isn’t hot, it’s because the sun’s rays aren’t really that strong. Ultraviolet radiation reaches the skin’s non-surface layers, even if you don’t feel it (6).
How long should my child wear child sunscreen?
According to the Official College of Pharmacists of the Balearic Islands, children’s sunscreens should be used until the skin is fully developed. This process is completed between the age of 12 and 18 when the teen undergoes his hormonal changes. However, it is important to clarify that girls develop some time before (4).
In addition to the following aspects of child sunscreens, it’s important to know when our children are at increased sunburn risk. Snow, for example, reflects up to 80% of UV radiation, while sand does so by 15% and seafoam by 25% (7).
Brands exhibit the sun protection factor in large numbers. It is always recommended that it be a 50+ factor. However, Tomás Muret Ramón, term pharmacy member of the Official College of Pharmacists of the Balearic Islands, says: “It will also depend on the phototype. Children over the age of six with phototypes five and six may use factor 30” (4).
You’ll probably wonder what phototypes are. This name measures how much skin can be tanned and the ability to react to sun exposure. While the numbers five and six refer to dark and black skins, the numbers one and two represent very light skins, and three and four represent a tanned and browner tone.
There are two types of sun rays: UVA and UVB. And child sunscreens should use ingredients to meet both needs. However, it is not always fulfilled. It would help if you were very attentive to each product’s description because some offer insufficient protection. This results in an increased risk of long-term skin cancer.
All child sunscreens should be formulated to provide the same protection against both UVA and UVB rays. To make sure that this condition is included in the product you are about to purchase, you usually have to say “broad-spectrum sunscreen” (5).
If you are not going to use it to go to the beach, this criterion will not be essential. But if your kids love to dive into the water, you’ll need to find a child sunscreen that lasts 40 to 80 minutes. However, even if the label has the legend of water resistance, don’t forget to reapply the protector when your little one comes out of the water.
Why is it so important for a child to be protected in the water? Because precisely, this substance reflects the sun’s rays and also intensifies them. Resistant sunscreens can last up to 40 minutes in the water, and powerful calls cover up to 80 minutes. You’ll also find some products that protect your child from sweat.
Dr Esther Martinez GarciaPediatric Specialist
“Total zinc screens can be used to block radiation penetration. They also block sweating and perspiration of the skin. For this reason, its usual use is reserved for small sensitive areas (such as the nose or upper ears). They are not recommended in children under six months because they are very irritating to contact with mucous membranes.”
While para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is a natural substance added to many sunscreens, it is not recommended for sensitive skin. And, as we said, children’s skin is totally vulnerable to various components. Then, children’s sunscreens with PABA, perfumes or dyes are not recommended.
When we think of adults, we don’t take into account the consistency of sunscreens. But when we refer to children, this choice becomes essential. Before you conclude, discuss whether your child is very restless, if he or she sweats a lot, or what type of skin he or she has. In the following table, you will see the different presentations (2).
Ideal for dry skin. Better to apply on the scalp. Easy to apply to the smallest, but be careful not to spray the face. Good for putting the protector in the eye area. Light and low fat.
It’s time to avoid the little ones being exposed to the possible consequences of UV radiation. With child sunscreen, you not only prevent possible short-term burns but also save your child from skin aging, loss of elasticity, dryness and possible pigmentations and freckles in the body.
And even more so if we think that child sunscreen is protecting our children from skin cancer or cataracts. WHO explains that between 12 and 15 million people have blindness as a product of the disease. And it is estimated that 20% may have been aggravated by sun exposure. So, let’s not waste time and protect our children (7).
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