August 26, 2022 3 min read
How to raise a SunSmart kid! Tips for keeping safe while having fun in the sun
Young skin is particularly vulnerable to UV damage, says Selene Daly, Registered Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Dermatology
Medical experts predict that children born in Ireland after the millennium will, on average, live until they are 100 years old! Given that 7 out of 10 of those children will have fair, sensitive and easily damaged Type I and Type II skin, it is important that they learn to look after their skin early.
Nine out of 10 skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays which come from the sun. You can’t see, feel or smell UV rays, but they penetrate the skin and over the years cause cumulative deep dermal damage which leads to fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots and cancer.
Children are especially vulnerable to harmful rays because it takes several years for the skin – the body’s largest organ – to develop fully. Babies should never be in the sun and young children need to be fully protected when outdoors to avoid incidents of sunburn which can cause problems in later life.
Sunscreen should be used year-round, but the potential for damage is at its highest in Ireland between March and September, peaking in the summer months of June, July and August. The sun is at its highest, hottest and most dangerous between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
At these times – and at all times when holidaying abroad in hot countries – children need to use a high SPF sunscreen and wear a hat, sunglasses and light, loose clothing. These habits are informed by messages that will teach them how to be SunSmart for life.
It is always a good idea to take the lead from local people when you are in a hot country. It can, of course, be difficult to keep kids out of the pool or off the beach when it is sweltering, but time indoors with a video, plenty to drink and a lunchtime siesta will help to protect them at peak times.
If you choose a sunscreen like Elave Sun Paediatric SPF50+ you will be giving your child 98% protection against UVA and UVB rays. This light, non-sticky, formulation is great for sensitive young, eczema-prone skin, as it is guaranteed free of harsh ingredients and paediatrician-approved as safe to use from newborn.
Elave Sun formulations contain no sulfates, SLS, soap, perfume, MI, alcohol or colouring to cause irritation or rashes. The ingredients are oil-free, to prevent the clogging of pores, and are enriched with skin-nourishing botanicals and vitamins B5, C and E to protect against environmental damage.
People sometimes complain that sunscreens do not work the way they should – but that is nearly always because people do not use them correctly. Apply 20 minutes before going into the sun, to give it time to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, and don’t forget pesky areas like ears, knees, elbows and tops of feet.
Elave Sun Paediatric SPF50+ is water-resistant – but NO sunscreen is completely waterproof. Reapply every 2 hours, and more often if your child has been swimming and has towelled off. Don’t scrimp - two to three shot glasses should be enough.
The good news is that the big 250ml tube is great value and can be used by the whole family!
Elave Skincare and Ovelle ranges of dermatologically-approved free-from natural products are available at gardinerfamilyapothecary.com, Boots, Dunnes Beauty and local pharmacies.
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