Why should you keep your children's skin out of the sun?
Exposure to UV in childhood, is a major predisposing factor to skin cancer later in life.
In Australia, 100% of children will have moles on the skin by the age of 2, compared to spain where only 26% of children will have moles by age 10. (American Academy Dermatology Meeting New York July 2017) Just goes to how hot our sun in Australia is!
The mechanism by which a babies skin is more sensitive are not entirely known. There have been studies showing that skin becomes thicker with age, and that the thinner skin of babies may confer less potent protection against damaging UV rays, meaning it can burn more easily. It is also possible that early sun exposure and sun bed kicks of a mutagenic pathway that is exacerbated with every subsequent sun exposure.
Although we don’t know all the mechanism involved, it is well known that repeated and cumulative sun exposure increases risk, so realistically in Australia children should be protected from sun exposure from birth. It is recommend that children under 12 months be protected from exposure to UV levels of 3 or greater. This should be done by seeking shade, wearing sunscreen, and it is recommended that your baby be protected in loose clothing (pref UV retardant)
It difficult to say how much of adult sun damage occurs as a results of childhood exposure but it has been reported that Exposure to high levels of sunlight in childhood is a strong determinant of melanoma risk.
Ideally, babies skin before the age of 6 months should be kept out of the sun. Children great than 6 months old should apply sunscreens that use the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Even better, special sunscreens made for infants or toddlers may cause less irritation to their sensitive little skins.
Keep the littlies safe in the sun this summer xxx