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Sun safety advice for parents

Sun safety advice for parents

If your children are going to be spending time outdoors this summer, remember their skin is more delicate than adults.

What are the risks of sun exposure for children?

When children are outdoors, it's important to protect their skin from too much exposure from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Skin damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight in childhood could lead to skin cancer developing in later life. Read our guide to sun safety advice with information from The British Skin Foundation.

Before you go out in the sun

Following some simple steps can help your children enjoy spending time in the sun this year. Be sure to remember the following before heading outdoors:

1. Generously apply sunscreen (5 teaspoons to cover the whole body) 15 to 20 minutes before going out

2. Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 50 and at least 4 stars for UVA protection

3. Wear UV400 sunglasses, ideally with wrap around lenses or wide arms, which carry CE and British Standard marks

Applying sunscreen correctly

Skin isn’t protected to the level it mentions on the bottle if the sunscreen isn’t applied properly. Check you’re following the tips below when applying sunscreen to children:

  • Check the expiry date of your sunscreen. Out of date sunscreen will not be as effective and you will be at risk of burning
  • Rub sunscreen in gently and make sure you cover all exposed body parts such as face, ears, backs of hands and feet
  • Don’t forget about protecting lips by using a SPF30+ lip balm
  • Be sure to reapply every two hours, or after swimming or exercise, even if your sunscreen is ‘water resistant’
  • Sunscreen still needs to be applied when it is cloudy. UV rays penetrate clouds and reflect off sand, water, snow, and even concrete.

No sunscreen offers 100% protection so cover up with loose close-weave clothing (such as cotton) and a wide brimmed hat to protect the neck, ears and face.

Seek shade between 11am – 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. Always keep babies and toddlers in the shade if you can.

Looking after your own skin health

While it’s vital to take care of your children’s skin health, don’t forget to protect yourself when venturing outside and stay on top of any changes with your skin.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause damage to the skin and lead to skin cancer. Learn how to protect yourself and stay safe in the sun this summer.

Any changes to your skin can be a concern, but look out for changes in the size, shape or colour of a mark or bleeding, pain, crusting, itching or redness around the edges. Read our guide to skin cancer - the facts and what to look for.

If in doubt, check it out!

Moles, skin lesions, acne and other skin conditions can be worrying, it’s important to seek advice from a Dermatologist; specialist doctors who manage diseases related to skin, hair and nails. Find out more about our private dermatology service.

Get in touch to book an appointment via our enquiry form or contact our Private Patient Team via Livechat or on 01580 363 158.

Published on 19 July 2022