So we are officially having a heatwave with record breaking temperatures expected over the next few days. But whether you are enjoying sunny days here or abroad on holiday, it’s extremely important to stay safe in the sun as when the mercury rises so does the risk of skin damage from its rays.
We all know the dangers of sun burn and the importance of sunscreen, but choosing the best one to suit your child’s sensitive skin can be a bit confusing. What exactly are all these chemicals and which ones are the most effective? And once you’ve chosen your cream or spray how much of it do you need to use and how often?
We asked Dr Jennifer Crawley the expert dermatologist for Childs Farm, one of the UK’s leading baby and child toiletries brand, to give us the lowdown on how to keep kids (and adults) safe in the sun.
What are the most common mistakes when applying sun cream
“It’s important to use sun cream not just during the summer months, but all year round to avoid long term sun damage and the risk of developing skin cancer. Getting sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. That’s why it’s so important to be applying sun cream all year round, not just when it’s hot as UVA and UVB rays can still be damaging on cooler days. We all need a re-education when it comes to sun protection and we need to get out of the mindset that suncream is just for holidays abroad or during heatwaves at home.”
How much to apply and and how often?
“One of the main problems we find is that parents don’t apply an adequate amount of suncream on their children. We recommend at least two teaspoons for the head and neck area and two tablespoons for the body. But you can’t apply too much, so use it liberally.”
Top tips for staying safe in the sun
On hot days and when you’re abroad keep little ones in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest
Cover any exposed skin with suncream even on cloudy days
Use a high factor SPF 30+ sun cream, with broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.
Reapply suncream numerous times throughout the day, especially after swimming
Pay particular attention to often forgotten areas such as the shoulders, back of the neck and behind the ears when applying sun cream
Where possible, cover up childrens’ skin with a hat, loose fitting clothing and sunglasses
Always keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight
For those who have particularly sensitive or eczema-prone skin, make sure you are using a product that has been clinically tested as suitable for this skin type / use a product that is dermatologist and paediatrician approved
Here are some great sunscreens for your little ones
Childs Farm new formulation 50+spf sun cream for very high protection, is water resistant and protects young and sensitive skin from UVA and UVB rays, whilst keeping skin moisturised and hydrated. So you can relax while your children enjoy the sun safely.
Suitable for babies and upwards. Dermatologist and paediatrician approved as suitable for sensitive skin and safe for people who may be prone to eczema, it’s unfragranced 125ml is registered with The Vegan Society. One of their best products is the roll on sun cream which makes it easy for kids to apply it themselves.
The ideal thing to pop in their bag if they are off to a tennis or cricket camp this summer and might need a top up when you aren’t there to help.
If you ever sit next to a French family on the beach you are pretty much guaranteed to see them slathering La Roche-Posay all over the kids. This brand has cult status in France and is increasingly popular with us Brits too – you can even buy it in Boots.
For kids we love La Roch-Posay Anthelios Dermo-Kids Multi-Positional Spray SPF 50, which doesn’t leave little ones looking like they’ve been dipped in white paint or leave those annoying yellow stains on pale clothing. It’s super easy to rub in, is absorbed almost instantly and is water resistant. We still pop another layer on after a pool or sea session, but it certainly doesn’t wash off easily.
The Factor 50 face mist is great too and particularly useful when you just want to do a quick top up. Simply spray over their faces (eyes closed obviously) and there is no need to rub in. Perfect for when you are in a rush to get back in the pool – which kids always seem to be!
Commonly used in lots of sunscreens, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are the UV filters that protect our skin, but research shows they have the opposite effect on the environment.
Once you’ve slathered on your sun lotion, just a 20 minute dip will result in 25% of the ingredients being released into the sea and even tiny amounts of these chemicals can have a detrimental effect on marine life, damaging the DNA of coral and causing dramatic hormonal changes and deformities in fish.
But the good news is there are marine-friendly alternatives. Green People chooses to use Titanium dioxide, which acts as a reflective barrier predominantly to UVB radiation, and Isoamyl P-methoxycinnamate, which is derived from Cinnamic acid found in the leaves of the cinnamon tree, providing natural protection against UVB radiation. For protection against UVA radiation, they use Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate. Although synthetically produced, this ingredient has an excellent safety profile, biodegrades readily and has no adverse effects on the environment. This blend of filters guarantees broad-range protection against both UVA and UVB radiation, whilst being environmentally safe. For kids opt for the Organic Children Sun Lotion SPF 30.
Definitely something worth considering when choosing your sunscreen.
Bioderma’s Photoderm range offers maximum protection for children’s delicate skin. According to the brand the exclusive combination of UVA/UVB dermatological filters and the Cellular Bioprotection™ patent provides children optimal protection against the harmful effects of UV rays as well as internal biological protection.
We like the Factor 50 mouse which is super easy to apply and it smells really good too.
This range is a great option if your kids are playing sport or jumping in an out of water as it’s extremely sweat and water resistant. We’ve heard it said that you can apply in just once a day but personally we would reapply regularly just to be on the safe side.
Ultrasun Extreme SPF 50+ is fast-absorbing, non-greasy, non-sticky with UVA and UVB (SPF50+) protection, plus vitamin E and pro vitamin B5. It’s ideal for extreme sun conditions and extremely sensitive skin, especially children’s’.