Do Kids Need to Wear Sun Protection?

Is it Important for Kids to Wear Sunscreen or Sun Protection?

Yes! As summer arrives, the season of outdoor adventures arrives, too! It’s the perfect time of year for some fun in the sun. The sun makes for bright and warm days, but it also comes with a risk of sun damage. Making sure that your children are using appropriate UV protection this season can help prevent sunburns and all the long-term effects of sun damage. Whether you’re planning park outings and camping trips, beach visits and cruises, or even just good old-fashioned playtime in the backyard, sun protection is important for children of every skin tone.

Melanin is the pigment responsible for the color of our hair, skin, and eyes. It can also provide some small level of UV protection, but that protection is not complete. On average, darker complexions have a risk of about 1 in 1,000 (0.1%) to develop skin cancer while paler complexions have about a 1 in 33 (3%) chance to develop skin cancer.  Nobody is immune from sun damage!

 

Quick Tips for Applying Sunscreen to Children

To ensure effective protection, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously to all exposed skin areas about 15 minutes before your child goes outside. Remember to cover commonly missed spots like the ears, back of the neck, and tops of the feet. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if your child is swimming or sweating. Using sunscreen sprays or sticks can make the application process easier and more fun for children.

What if My Kid Can’t Wear Regular Sunscreen?

If your child has a sensitivity to sunscreen, there are still options available so they can safely enjoy the sunshine!

  • Mineral sunscreens: mineral sunscreens, such as zinc-based creams, are known to be more allergy-friendly for individuals who have a skin sensitivity to common spray-on sunscreens or liquid sunscreens.
  • Patch testing: If your child has experienced an allergic reaction to sunscreen before, you can “patch test” new formulas on small areas of the skin. Just remember to patch test well in advance of your outdoor adventures so you aren’t scrambling for a last-minute solution!
  • Alternative UV protection: For children with severe allergies or for children for whom sunscreen isn’t an option, there are still options! Clothing with SPF is specially made to be lightweight and breathable while still blocking harmful UV rays. Look into SPF and UV blocking clothing if your child has a severe sensitivity to traditional sunscreens.

 

How Sunscreen Keeps Kids Safe

Protecting Delicate Skin

Children’s skin is more delicate and sensitive than adults skin is. This makes children’s skin more susceptible to sunburn and long-term damage from UV radiation. Their skin has less melanin, the pigment that provides some protection against UV rays. Therefore, applying sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) creates a protective barrier, shielding the skin from the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays.

Preventing Painful Sunburn

Sunburn is not only uncomfortable and painful for children, but it also indicates underlying skin damage. Even a single severe sunburn during childhood can significantly increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. By ensuring your children wear sunscreen, you can prevent these painful burns and protect their skin from immediate harm.

Reducing the Risk of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer, including melanoma, is a serious concern that can be mitigated by early preventive measures. Children who experience frequent sunburns are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer as they grow older. Regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays, can significantly reduce this risk, offering long-term health benefits.

Avoiding Hyperpigmentation

Prolonged sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation, leading to uneven skin tone and dark spots. Children’s skin is particularly prone to these changes due to its sensitivity. Applying sunscreen regularly can help prevent these issues, ensuring that your child’s skin remains even-toned and healthy.

Teaching Healthy Habits

Incorporating sunscreen into your child’s daily routine instills healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Educating children about the importance of sun protection helps them understand the need to take care of their skin, encouraging them to make sunscreen application a regular part of their outdoor activities.

 

Enjoy Fun in the Sun This Summer!

This summer, as your children enjoy the sunny outdoors, make sure they are protected from the harmful effects of UV radiation. By applying sunscreen regularly, you can prevent painful sunburns, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and protect their delicate skin from long-term damage. Prioritizing sunscreen for your children ensures they can safely enjoy the joys of summer while safeguarding their health now and in the future.