Photoprotection For Children: What Should You Bear in Mind? - Step To Health

Photoprotection For Children: What Should You Bear in Mind?

Sunbathing properly will allow your child to enjoy all the benefits of the sun while protecting them from excess and oversights that could lead to burns. Discover what you should keep in mind here!
Photoprotection For Children: What Should You Bear in Mind?

Last update: 10 November, 2021

The sun is a source of a range of light wavelengths. Among those, we can find ultraviolet light in forms UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. The atmosphere absorbs the last form, 99% of UV-A and only a little of UV-B. Photoprotection for children aims to prevent the negative effects of solar radiation over both the short term and long term.

It’s important we know that prolonged exposure to UV-B can damage the skin, cause sunburn, or reddening. Over time, moles and marks may also appear, and in more extreme cases, you may even develop melanoma. However, we all know that the king of the stars plays an important role in the synthesis of vitamin D and other benefits.

Hence the importance of taking extreme care when exposing a child’s skin to the sun. Their skin is thinner, and they’re more likely to continuously go in and out of water. In this article, we’ll show you which steps you can take to protect them as best as possible.

Photoprotection for children

Photoprotection for children is becoming an increasingly important issue due to the problems that affect the atmosphere. A family should be conscious of this and inform themselves and learn about specialists’ recommendations so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of the sun.

The color of the child’s skin, the quality of the photoprotection, the time the child spends in the sun, and the activity they’re doing are variables that you should consider. White skin, for example, burns more often.

In any case, specialists recommend that we don’t expose children younger than 3 years old to the sun for more than a few minutes. If you have to do this, try to avoid when the sun is at its highest, and don’t forget a parasol, a hat, sunglasses, or other photoprotection products, and stay hydrated!

mother putting suncream on her son at the beach
You should limit how long you allow your little ones in the sun, and especially avoid when the sun is at its highest.

The positive effects of sun exposure

In all honesty, the energy the sun gives us is irreplaceable and vital. Good health comes with sending time in the sun under suitable conditions. A child younger than 6 months doesn’t need more than 10 minutes, ensuring you move them so that they get a uniform exposure.

As we said, vitamin D synthesis, which has antirachitic properties, is something we get through solar energy. Sunbathing early in the morning or late in the afternoon helps us to absorb phosphorus and calcium.

Also, in the first 7 days after birth, it contributes to the breakdown and transport of bilirubin, which is part of the treatment specialists recommend for jaundice.

Additionally, it stimulates circulation by dilating blood vessels. This has a thermoregulatory effect and helps to release endorphins.

The negative effects of excessive sun exposure

The more severe effects of sun exposure are burning or reddening of the skin, heatstroke, and sunstroke. You may also experience an accumulation of liquid in your body’s tissues or edema, in addition to pain, and itching.

UV-B is associated with sunburn. However, UV-A penetrates the skin more profoundly, generating what is known as solar elastosis, which can cause premature aging of the skin. Specialists have also linked UV-A with more than 60% of malignant melanoma cases.

It’s worth considering the risks over the short and long term because there are accumulative effects. On average, more than 80% of the sun we receive is before we hit 18 years old. This is because children tend to play, spend time, or practice sport outside for a lot of time without noticing the radiation.

How to protect children from sun exposure

Protecting babies or children under 6 months from the sun isn’t just applying photoprotection products or creams. You’ll need different strategies like staying in the shade, covering the child(ren), and wearing hats. If they’re a little older, they can also wear glasses.

Babies’ eyes are very sensitive to light. They have larger and more unprotected pupils and their lenses aren’t mature. This allows 90% of UV-A radiation to pass. The aggression of these rays has an accumulative and irreversible effect.

We should avoid exposing our children at any age to the sun when it’s at its highest and we should dress them in a way that avoids their bodies being directly exposed. Only starting from 6 months should they use photoprotection creams that specialists have developed especially for children.

Among the other advice we’ve given, you should consider using an SPF (sun protection factor) that’s higher than 50 and has a broad spectrum. It’s better to choose one that contains physical filters rather than chemicals. If you’re going to use it at a pool or on the beach, make sure you choose a suitable product for that.

You should reapply their sun protection every 2 hours and always after bathing, even if the product claims it’s water-resistant.

young child holding up suncream wearing a hat in a pool
Sun protection elements are essential to avoid exposing your child to radiation.

Photoprotection for children guarantees healthy skin in the future

We often read that “skin has memory,” and we know that the harmful effects of the sun are accumulative and irreversible. As such, protecting your child is fundamental for their health over the long term and for the rest of their life.

Melanoma or skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer among men and women. What’s more, it’s 20 times more common in white people than it is in people with darker skin tones, something that’s important to bear in mind for many people.

Suitable photoprotection for children is the most loving and rational response to your children’s need to enjoy many of the benefits the sun offers.

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