Keeping kids safe in the sun is a top priority for parents today. We all know how much children love splashing around in swimming pools, building sandcastles on the beach, or even just running around in the back garden. But how do we allow them to do as much playing in the sunshine as they want, while still protecting their delicate skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays?
Understanding UVA and UVB rays
UV is radiation transmitted from the sun. UVA rays deeply penetrate the skin and are responsible for the tanning of skin, and are a major cause of skin ageing and long term skin damage. UVB is responsible for more obvious skin damage — sunburn and skin reddening. Both have strong links to skin cancer. A sunscreen with a high SPF will help block UVA and UVB rays, to prevent the skin from burning and the damage that can cause skin cancer.
Different sunscreens and how they work
Chemical sunscreens absorb harmful UV radiation. Natural sunscreens, which contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, reflect UV radiation away from the skin therefore preventing it from penetrating the skin.
It can be helpful to think of chemical sunscreens as sponges which mop up UV radiation, and natural sunscreens as mirrors which bounce the UV straight back off the skin.
What is SPF?
SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPFs are rated on a scale of 2 to 50+, with the British Association of Dermatologists recommending an SPF of at least 30 for satisfactory protection, in addition to protective shade and clothing. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Theoretically, if you use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, you can stay in the sun 15 times longer before your skin is damaged by UVB rays. However, no sunscreen, regardless of SPF strength, should be expected to stay effective for longer than two hours without reapplication. A SPF of 50+ will block over 98% of all harmful UV rays.
UVA star system
When you buy sunscreen containing UVA protection, you may notice a star rating on the packaging. They indicate the percentage of UVA radiation absorbed by the sunscreen in comparison UVB.
According to the EU Recommendation, the UVA protection for each sunscreen should be at least one third of the labelled SPF. A product that achieves this requirement will be labelled with a UVA logo — the letters ‘UVA’ printed inside a circle.
Top tips for staying safe in the sun:
1) Keep newborns in the shade. Babies under the age of six months should be kept out of the sun completely! Keep newborns in shady areas or under a big umbrella, and make sure they’re wearing long trousers, long sleeves and a hat. Any exposed skin on hands or feet should be protected with a broad spectrum sunblock. If they’re not wearing UVA clothes, apply sunblock under their clothing too.
2) Cover older children with a broad spectrum sun cream. Sun creams for children should be natural rather than chemical, and have a high SPF. Cover all exposed areas with as much sun cream as can fit in your child’s palm.
3) Don’t forget the little places. Remember to apply sun screen to areas that are often overlooked, such as ears, lips, hands, the back of necks and tops of feet.
4) Wear appropriate clothing. There are great UV clothes available for little ones to wear in the sunshine. Cover any exposed areas with sun screen, and also apply it under clothes which have no UV protection. Make sure your children always wear a hat and quality sunglasses.
5) Apply, apply and reapply. Reapply sun cream everywhere, every two hours. Do this more often if your children are swimming or sweating.
6) Make sure your children drink. To keep them hydrated, give your little ones a big gulp of water every 20 minutes.
7) Stay out of the sun during risky hours. The sun is strongest between 10am and 2pm. So during these hours, STAY OUT OF IT COMPLETELY!
Childs Farm can help
Childs Farm’s 50+ spf sun cream for sun sea & sand is suitable for babies and children from 6 months upwards. It is a natural sunscreen with an actual SFP of 66.8 (which allows us to say its SPF is 50+). It contains titanium dioxide — a naturally occurring mineral, listed as safe by the World Health Organisation. Titanium dioxide blocks harmful UV rays, causes less irritation to skin than the UV absorbing chemicals used in many sun creams, and is water resistant so it keeps young and sensitive skin fully protected. Our sun cream is also packed full of natural ingredients — such as sunflower wax and meadowfoam seed oil — to soothe, soften and hydrate.
Our star rating is Boots’ own system. They have rated our sun cream as ‘Good’. In order to gain 5 stars, we would have had to use a chemical which is a known allergen, and so the product would not have been suitable for sensitive or eczema-prone skin. According to the EU’s rating system, our sun cream is rated as ‘Superior’, and the UVA logo is allowed to be printed on our sun cream tubes.
Our luxurious after sun for cool skin soothes and rehydrates skin following sun, wind or outdoor exposure. It contains aloe vera, cocoa butter and shea butter—first used thousands of years ago in Ancient Egypt to protect skin from fierce sun and hot, dry winds. It’s suitable for newborns and upwards.
Both products have been rigorously clinically tested, and are dermatologist approved for use on sensitive and eczema-prone skin.
Childs Farm provides this information as a general guide. Further information is available from the NHS, and essential guidance should come from your GP or other medical professionals familiar with the details of your child’s case. Copyright Childs Farm Limited 2016.