Teach your children good protection habits.
While adults are very familiar with the dangers of the sun, they are not always aware of the extreme vulnerability of little ones. In fact, 50 to 80% of UV-related damage occurs during childhood and adolescence*. On holiday, one-third of children spend an average of 15 hours per week in their swimsuits. That is far too much. Especially considering that water and sand reflect 30% of UV rays. And at these ages, children are unable to assess the danger. Protecting your children means educating them first and foremost.
Why is children’s skin more vulnerable to the sun?
Children's skin, which is still developing, is immature and thus more vulnerable to the fierceness of the sun (sunburn, cellular damage and heatstroke):
- Because it is thinner, it is more vulnerable to deeper cellular damage.
- With a less developed pigmentation system, it does not have a self-defense system (which, in adults, helps protect the skin against UV rays)
Children only express their discomfort when the damage is already done:
- Sunburn and deep cellular aggressions cause irreversible damage and make skin fragile in the long term (acceleration of skin aging, increased risk of developing skin cancer later in life).
- This deep-seated damage is compounded by the risk of dehydration or heatstroke.
Good protection habits for children
It is essential to teach children, including young children, good practices with regards to sun protection:
- Avoid periods of peak sunlight (between 11 p.m. and 4 p.m.) by encouraging activities in the shade or naps.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with filtering lenses and dark clothing (a black tee-shirt protects more than a white one).
- Apply sunscreen frequently and generously (at least two layers every two hours and after each swim) on all exposed skin...without forgetting the back of the neck, ears and feet!
- Choose a SPF50+ water resistant sunscreen that is specially formulated for children.
- Drink regularly.
CAUTION! For children up to the age of three, the entire medical profession recommends total sun avoidance.
* Robinson JK et al. Summertime sun protection used by adults for their children. J Am Acad Dermatol 2000