26 Jun Protecting your children’s skin
We’ve had some really glorious days over the past few weeks, along with some horrendous rain. With this unpredictable weather it’s no wonder more and more families are travelling abroad for their holiday to guarantee some sunshine to relax in and enjoy.
Swimming costumes, floats, arm bands and lots and lots of spare clothes… just in case and of course sun cream! We all want to come home with beautifully bronzed skin, although more than likely it will be just off white, but wearing a high factor sun cream not only protects our skin from getting burnt and peeling, it also helps reduce the risk of skin cancer.1
There are a few things that you can do to protect your children from harmful UV radiation. These include: ensuring that they wear protective clothing, avoiding the sun during times when it is strongest (between 12pm and 3pm) and spending plenty of time in the shade.
Sprays, lotions, creams? White or coloured? SPF 10, 15, 30 or 50? There is so much variety to choose from but which one is best for your children? Truth is there’s no one answer for all, it depends on your child’s skin and how it reacts to the sun. So, what should you look for…
When buying sun cream for your family, make sure you go for something that is going to give all of you enough protection. Some children colour nicely in the sun (still talking about suntans and not the talents of the would-be Picassos), even if they are blonde-haired and blue-eyed, whilst others don’t! So…use an appropriate SPF, this will be dependent on how long the children are out for and the amount of exposure. For intense or prolonged exposure, i.e. more than a couple of minutes, use SPF 30 and above, making sure that you apply it regularly, whether you are in the UK or abroad. Make sure that the sun cream is water resistant, so that your children still have protection whilst in the water, and protects against both UVA and UVB.
Apparently, people don’t apply enough sun cream, so make sure that you are liberal when applying it on your little ones and remember to reapply regularly, every couple of hours as well as after swimming. Getting children to sit still even for one minute so that you can apply their sun cream is a mammoth task. But if the thought of making them do it again and again, to ensure that they are adequately protected, gives you sleepless nights, UV protective clothing maybe an option for you. However, you still do need to apply sun cream on areas that are not covered by the clothing, in fact it should be applied at least an inch under the end of the clothing as well as all over the exposed skin.
Sun creams are recommended for all children over 6 months old. Anyone younger should wear protective clothing including hats and be kept out of the sun. Sun creams contain different chemicals, some of which can irritate sensitive skin. Those containing metal oxides such as Titanium or Zinc are better tolerated and are the safest but can also be the most expensive. They will usually leave a slight white residue on the skin when applied.
Avoid creams containing Oxybenzone (a hormone disruptor) and retinol palmitate (which can increase skin damage caused by the sun). As with all skin products it is always best to test a product out before buying enough for a holiday. Once you have found a product that suits your child’s skin then buy enough to last the duration of the holiday. Remember, the key to good sun protection is to apply sun cream enough and often.
Spray, Lotion or Cream?
It’s really a matter of choice and convenience. Sprays are easier to use however, again, you should ensure sufficient amounts are applied each time. Another thing to be aware of is that sprays can be inhaled by the child, so ensure their face is protected when applying. Sprays should not be applied directly to the face and eyes, instead they should be sprayed onto your hands and then applied to your child’s face. Creams and lotions are better absorbed than sprays and provide a more even coverage.
After sun and Moisturiser
As well as a good sun cream, a good after sun moisturiser is important too. These moisturisers soothe the skin and help maintain your tan for that little bit longer. AproDerm® Colloidal Oat Cream and AproDerm® Emollient Cream are great both in the shower and after a day out in the sun. Just remember not to go out in the sun with any after sun on as it doesn’t protect you from the sun.
Practising safe skincare in the sun means that you and your children will be able to enjoy sunny days whether it’s in the garden, the park or abroad!
1 Melanoma Research Foundation. (2018). The Facts About Sunscreen. [online] Available at: https://www.melanoma.org/understand-melanoma/preventing-melanoma/facts-about-sunscreen [Accessed 2 July 2019].