The extra attention for newborns
The skin of babies is thinner than that of adults, has few defenses and produces less melanin. This is why babies should always be kept under an umbrella and must be protected with sunscreen because they are exposed to the sun’s reflection. Pediatricians generally recommend products based on physical filters, such as zinc oxide because they almost completely block UV rays and reduce the risk of allergies.
From the year of life onwards, sunscreens should have a protection factor of never less than 30, even for children with dark skin. Furthermore, the cream must contain filters both against UVB rays that cause sunburn and erythema and against UVA, which are less violent but penetrating.
It is good to protect the area around the eyes, eyelids, ears, nose, and lips, preferably with a very high screen stick.
Hands up who really leave the beach during the hottest hours, between 11 am and 3 pm. Many come to the sea at that time…
“Yet shelter is essential because the fragile skin of children requires specific attention to the sun. And in this band 50% of the ultraviolet rays of the whole day is transmitted – says Umberto Giaroli, dermatologist -. From this point of view, we doctors are particularly strict: children up to five, even six, should not stay in the sun. Avoidance of burning is essential “.
It has now been established that sunburn suffered during childhood greatly increases the risk of developing skin cancer decades later, in adulthood. “It was also demonstrated by recent research by the American Academy of Pediatrics: about 80% of sun damage is concentrated within the first 18 years of age. We must, therefore, be very careful, especially in the first years of life, when the risk is greater “.
The scientific studies of the last decades have indeed shown a rapid increase in skin cancers, and in particular, of the most serious melanoma in white-skinned populations, not only in the United States and Australia, where the greatest high incidence in the world, but also in Europe. And the fact that the increase in the disease can partly be related to the refinement of diagnostic techniques (in practice before there were also fewer tumors because they were not discovered) does not console either.
But doesn’t the sun also bring so many benefits? “Yes, but a minimum exposure is enough to get them. In summer you are in the open air, even in the shade, it is inevitable to absorb radiation ”.
Especially at the beginning of the holiday, it is a good idea to cover the children with a cotton shirt and a cap, with a large visor so that it can repair the baby’s face well since the eyes, nose, and lips are very delicate parts. “Consider, however, that the t-shirt, especially if acrylic, with a large weft and a light color, does not completely block the sun’s rays.
According to some English researchers, it can possess the same protective power as low-factor sun cream, between five and ten ”. It is, therefore, better to choose tightly woven cotton t-shirts, possibly in dark colors and still apply a protective cream under the clothing.
A fundamental role to protect children’s skin is played by sun creams. “In Australia today they are considered medical devices. With children, it’s better to choose medium-high protection, with a protective factor between 25 and 50, but you must also use these products correctly. In fact, hardly anyone remembers to put the protective cream after the baths and anyway every two hours. In this period of time, even in the best products, chemical filters that act by absorbing radiation lose their effectiveness ”.
Don’t forget that:
- In water: it penetrates 40 to 90% of ultraviolet rays. If the baby is a little fish, use water-resistant creams.
- In the shade: about 50% of the UV rays penetrate under the umbrella. On cloudy days up to 80%.
- Eyes should be protected: the sun’s rays penetrate up to the retina and can cause damage in the future. Children need to get used to wearing sunglasses. In the high mountains: the rarefaction of the air makes the sun’s rays even more dangerous.
- Some medications: associated with the sun can have side effects.