Ways to enjoy the sun safely and protect your child's skin from sunburn
Summer is finally here: and the time has come to go to the beach.
The sun is very good for children, because it keeps bone healthy and boosts the immune system. Moreover, sea air is a natural nebuliser that nature has given us; and salty sea air by the coast does wonders for the respiratory system.
But while your children are building sand castles and swimming with Mummy or Daddy, don't forget to protect your child's skin from one of the most common dangers of the summer: sunburn!
A child's skin is much more sensitive than the skin of an adult. Here is what you can do to prevent sunburn.
- Go to the beach at the right time of the day: avoid the hottest time of the day (between 12:00 p.m. and 04:00 p.m.), and remember to keep babies and small children out of the sun in their first year of life.
- Sunscreen: for very small children use a sunscreen with sun protection factor of at least 50+ throughout the holiday, while for older children (aged 2 years and older) we recommend a very high protection factor for the first few days, then use a sunscreen with a lower protection factor as your child's skin becomes more tanned. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears, once every hour in the first few days of exposure, and every two hours in the following days, especially when you've been in water – even if the sunscreen is "water resistant": because after swimming it does tend to become less effective
- Cover up: another way to protect your child's skin is to reduce exposure to sunlight with a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears, a long-sleeved top, trousers or long skirts in close-weave fabrics that don't allow sunlight through.
- Hydration: don't forget to get your children to drink lots of liquid when you're on the beach. Water, water-rich fruit, juices, smoothies and fruit ice lollies. Don't forget that when it's hot you must ensure that your children get the right quantity of vitamins and minerals.
- After-sun products: you should continue to protect your child's skin even when you get home. After spending the whole day on the beach playing on the sand and swimming, don't forget to use a good quality after-sun cream to moisturise your child's skin.
But if despite all these precautions, your child still gets sunburn, how do you treat it? The first thing to do is to rub a skin soothing cream on the sunburn at least every half hour. Then take a lukewarm shower, using shower oil or cream, to hydrate the skin; you can also take a bath using soothing powders, like finely ground oatmeal (sold as colloidal oatmeal in drug stores).
Sunburn dries out your skin, so it's important to keep it extra, extra hydrated with an oily cream. You should also use a sunscreen with a very high protection factor and wear cool clothing , in order to prevent new burns and the formation of dark scars.