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Sun protection

Individuals affected by Ectodermal Dysplasia and lack temperature control must be kept cool in summer. In addition to this, it is important they be protected from the sun’s radiation, especially children.

lady pouring sun cream

All of us need sun protection all year round. A tan, whether it’s from the sun or a tanning salon, represents sun damage to the skin. Up to 80% of sun exposure occurs during the first 18 years of life. Studies have shown that the regular use of a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 reduces the risk of
some types of skin cancer by 78%.

It is important all children are taught to use sun protection from an early age, preferably in the beginning of infancy. Sun creams can be applied from 4 months of age.

But what is the right sun cream?

Different brands of sun cream bottle

It should have a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 20 and needs to contain both UVB and UVA.

Recently the advice has been to only use very high factor sun cream such as 50+, particularly on children and should be water-resistant for at least 2 hours.

It is best to test the sun cream on a small patch of your child’s skin before using it all over the body. Some are made especially for very young children and do not burn or sting when applied or if accidentally rubbed in the eyes.

Sun cream needs to be applied in a thick layer, at least 1/2 hour before going out in the sun. This gives it a chance to penetrate the skin, which it must do in order to be effective. Don’t forget to protect the lips – several lip balms also contain sun cream.

Heavy creams are not helpful so a spray form or stick may be easier to apply, but that would be individual preference.

Reapplying sun cream every two hours will insure that the child does not get burned. (Apply more often if swimming).

In addition to using a sunscreen, it is essential to be aware and learn risk-reducing behaviours. The sun is most harmful between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and outdoor exposure without shade should be minimised during that time.

Children on the beach wearing UV clothing

Being prepared and wearing UV protective clothing is also helpful.

Did you know The Met Office now issues a daily UV index that predicts the midday intensity of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which offers a useful guideline so you can plan your outdoor activities. See www.metoffice.gov.uk

Points to remember:

1 Avoid tanning deliberately.
2 Seek shade whenever possible.
3 Minimise sun exposure between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
4 Always wear a sun cream with an SPF of at least 20, and 50+ on children.
5 Apply at least half an hour before going outside.
6 Add UV protective clothing and hats whenever possible as an extra precaution.