With the arrival of summer we spend more time outdoors, which means that we are more exposed to the sun. Although we must all protect ourselves from the sun’s rays, children need special protection since their skin is more delicate than that of adults.
In fact, it is recommended that babies under six months of age do not expose themselves directly to the sun, except during short walks and always protecting their skin. From that moment on, you can extend your time in the sun, but always using sunscreen and never during peak hours. The problem is that sunburn in childhood exponentially increases the risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood.
How are sun creams for children different from those for adults?
Children’s skin has a thinner top layer, and it produces less melanin, so it is more exposed to the harmful action of the sun’s rays and the chemicals in adult sunscreen.
Therefore, the sunscreen children often do not contain alcohol or have it in a very low percentage, to prevent children’s skin from getting too dry. They also do not usually have perfumes, to minimize the risk of allergies.
Children’s sun creams also tend to have more physical filters, which is why when applied they cause that whitish effect on the skin. In addition, they tend to be more creamy and are more resistant to water.
What sun protection factor to choose?
Ideally, the sun protection factor should always be 50+, although the choice will depend on the child’s phototype. In fact, children over 6 years of age who have phototype 5 and 6 can use a factor 30 cream.
In this sense, pediatricians and dermatologists explain that the key to protecting children from sunburn does not lie so much in the protection index of the cream as in the way it is applied and the number of times. That means that it is not worth applying a 50+ cream and forgetting about the child’s skin throughout the day, it is necessary to apply the sunscreen a few times, especially if the little one is in contact with water.
3 guidelines to correctly apply sunscreen for children
Apply a generous amount to clean, dry skin
To apply the sun cream you just have to rub and spread it over all areas of the skin exposed to the sun. Apply a generous amount since if you use less it is as if you were applying a cream with a lower level of protection. Instead of applying it with an open hand, the ideal is that you use only the index and middle fingers, so that you do not leave areas uncovered. It is also recommended to apply the cream on clean and dry skin.
Covers all the skin, do not forget the most sensitive areas
Pay special attention to areas where the skin is most delicate and prone to burns. On the face, do not forget the nose and ears, but you should not apply it on the eyelids because it can come into contact with the eyes and cause irritation. Remember to apply the cream also on the shoulders, on the inside of the arms, the knees and the instep of the feet. In order not to forget any area, you can start with the face, continue with the arms, the torso and finally the legs.
Apply 30 minutes before leaving home and reapply every 2 hours
Although many of the creams claim to provide immediate protection, the truth is that some of its components do not begin to act until 20 minutes after application, so the ideal is to apply the cream half an hour before the child is exposed to the sun. Then you will have to reapply it approximately every two hours, or after bathing, if you are at the beach or a pool.