Burning issue: Children's skin needs added protection from the sun

Burning issue: Children's skin needs added protection from the sun

Apply sunscreen throughout the day, says Helen O’Callaghan

Own your tone — the advice of Helen Forristal, Marie Keating Foundation director of nursing, to parents about being comfortable in your skin whether it’s freckled, pale or darker-hued.

And she urges passing this message on to your children. “Behavioural change happens from a young age — if children are told when young that there’s no such thing as a safe suntan, it stays with them into their teens and beyond.”

With rates of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) rising faster than any other cancer — more than 1,000 cases are diagnosed annually in Ireland — it’s vital to be SunSmart. “It’s a bit like being on a plane — parents should first look after themselves, putting on sunscreen, and then do so for their children.”

Warning that infants up to six months “shouldn’t see the sun at all” because their skin’s so delicate, Forristal says protecting your child means putting them in heavily-woven linens/SPF clothing, wide-brimmed hats that protect eyes/ears, sunglasses with UV protection and having the whole family stay in shade between 11am-3pm.

UV rays come through clouds even when the sun isn’t shining.

UVA rays penetrate into the deeper layers of skin, causing skin damage, ageing and the possibility of cancer. You might feel a tingling in your skin. UVB rays burn the skin’s surface.

Forristal recommends first applying a coat of sunscreen — factor 50 for children — then re-apply 20 minutes later, all before going out.

“It should then be applied every two hours,” she says, adding that it’s “a bit of a myth” that sunscreen’s waterproof.

“It hasn’t always proven to be true that it’s resistant in water for 40 minutes. Chlorine in pools and salt in seawater can wash away the protective lotion. You can also lose the effect of the SPF through sweating and towel-drying.”

A new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests benefits of sunscreen use can be got without compromising vitamin D levels. The study’s lead author said the study – “during a week of perfect weather in Tenerife” — showed that even when sunscreens are used optimally to prevent sunburn, they still allow “excellent” vitamin D synthesis.

“SPF 50 gives 98% coverage and SPF 30+ on adults gives 97% coverage so there’s a small percentage of exposure that would give an element of vitamin D absorption,” says Forristal.

See: www.mariekeating.ie/spotthedifference/

  • SunSmart

  • Avoid risks: just because the sun is at home in Ireland doesn’t make it any less damaging than the sun abroad.
  • Always wear sunscreen; choose with minimum SPF of 30 – SPF 50 for children.
  • Ensure you get a brand offering UVA and UVB protection and is rated five star.
  • Wear protective hat and sunglasses and avoid the sun between 11am-3pm.
  • Get into the habit of checking the UV index: https://www.met.ie/uv-index

More in this Section

Code red: Making a statement with red lipstick for the everyday lookCode red: Making a statement with red lipstick for the everyday look

Don't miss the Irish Examiner's free glossy Home magDon't miss the Irish Examiner's free glossy Home mag

MIchelle Darmody: Warm smells of cinnamonMIchelle Darmody: Warm smells of cinnamon

They’re big on beer but could the Czech Republic be raising a glass to wine tourism too?They’re big on beer but could the Czech Republic be raising a glass to wine tourism too?

Latest Showbiz

Music investor Merck Mercuriadis said the producer is ‘iconic and will be remembered forever’.UK investor snaps up catalogue from Justin Timberlake producer Timbaland

Kerry band Walking on Cars have been announced as the headline act of this year's Countdown Concert at Custom House in Dublin.Walking on Cars to headline New Year's Eve concert in Dublin

Mr O'Brien, who hails from Clonakilty, will take over from IFTA manager Deirdre Hopkins who moved to London to take up her new position as BAFTA's Head of Film.IFTA announce Cork's Gar O'Brien as new Head of Film and Television

They will be joined by their father as they venture through India.Travelling trio: Corrie's Ryan Thomas and his brothers land their own ITV series

More From The Irish Examiner