Are you off on a family sunshine holiday this half-term? Then make sure you know how to protect kids from sunburn or they could pay the price in the future.
Cancer Research says that a history of burning as a child or teenager increases the risk of skin cancer in later life. And even if you are not heading abroad, the rays in the UK can still burn children’s skin.
Teenage Cancer Trust research last year revealed that over a third of young people, between the ages of 13 to 24, don’t use sun protection in the UK because they don’t believe the sun is strong enough to cause damage.
Here Abi Cleeve, MD of Ultrasun UK, gives her tips for keeping kids safe in the sun at home and away:
How and when you apply sun protection matters: Always apply sun protection to cool, clean, dry skin in the shade (ideally indoors) 15-30 minutes before you or your children go into the sun.
It’s important that this step is followed regardless of what sun cream brand you choose as if applied in direct sunlight, sun cream applied to skin can evaporate before it has a chance to bond with the skin and therefore becomes less effective. Apply liberally to all exposed, or potentially exposed, parts of the body.
The official guidelines given by Colipa (Association of European Cosmetic Industry) are 2mg/cm2, which approximately corresponds to one teaspoon for the face. As a rule of thumb, use a teaspoon of sunscreen for each arm, leg, front, back and face (including neck and ears).
Keep babies covered: Babies under six months old should not be exposed to the sun, but for total peace of mind apply Ultrasun Extreme ultra sensitive formula 50+SPF (£20: 100ml). Cover their skin and feet with protective clothes and to protect their head and face, choose a wide-brimmed hat or bonnet, and use a stroller with a canopy or hood.
Understand shade: To avoid the peak potency of the sun, take shade breaks between 11-3pm. Over 90% of UV can penetrate light cloud cover, and this remains a common mistake and reason for sunburn – both in the UK and abroad.
Shade given by trees and parasols only gives protection from around 70% of UV rays. Out of the shade, remember a simple shadow rule: The shorter your own shadow, the higher the sun and the greater the risk.
Make sun protection part of the family daily routine at home and away – add it to the morning ritual before going to school or out to play. Sensitivity to UV damage increases as children get hot and sweaty making sunburn more likely. Sun safe habits should begin from birth.
Know your labels: Please do check that your product has an adequate SPF and strong UVA protection. Babies and children need high level protection. Know their sun account and that there is a difference between an SPF of 50 or 50+.
An SPF 50 is tested to be exactly that but a 50+ must achieve at least an SPF 58 to get that all important “+” sign.
UVA rays penetrate deeply, right down to the subcutaneous layers of the skin and doing long term damage.
Look for the new UVA in a circle sign on the bottle or better still check with the manufacturer the % of UVA protection in your product. The EU standard is 33% of the SPF rating but products from Ultrasun all have a UVA of over 90%.
Click here to see the Ultrasun range