It is that time of year again when we need to consider how best to protect our little ones from the strong UV rays. Sometimes we associate sun cream and sun care with going on holidays or travelling abroad but actually it’s as important to be proactive when we are at home in Ireland too! The UV damage is just as bad in Irish weather as it is abroad – 90% of the UV rays can penetrate light cloud coverage. Did you know that getting sun burnt in your childhood increases your risk of melanoma later in life?
The most at risk for sunburn or UV damage are redheads, those with fair hair, people with pale skin, moles, freckles and people with blue, green or grey eyes…..this kinda accounts for a large proportion of Irish children!
To help you keep your babies safe this summer I’ve put together some tips and product recommendations for both babies and toddlers:
Babies and the sun
- Keep babies younger than six months of age out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
- Dress them in close woven (i.e with no holes – so that the sun cant get through) clothes – long sleeves and long shorts of trousers.
- Use a sun shade on your buggy when out and about.
- My favourite sun protection for babies under six months is the Anthelios Dermo-Baby by La Roche Posay. This product has actually been tested successfully on babies as young as three months. Its suitable for babies with sensitive skin and its non perfumed and free from parabens. Its SPF 50+ and can be used on the body and face. Its slightly white when it goes on which is actually quite helpful as you can see where you have put it and where you have missed. It absorbs well (my youngest was my guinea pig!) and really leaves the skin soft and supple. I’d recommend doing a patch test with any sun care product before using it on your babies skin – so just apply a small amount and leave it for 24 hours and then check to ensure there is no reaction. To apply this cream you can put it on the skin 30 minutes before going out and about and reapply it every couple of hours. Older children may object to this product as they may not like that it goes on a little whiter than other products so for me this is really one for the very teeny tiny of us!
Toddlers and children in the sun
- Always use a sun hat – preferably one which shades the face, neck and ears.
- Use sun cream with a minimum SPF of 30.
- Apply sun cream 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply it generously every couple of hours.
- Try to involve your children in the ‘creaming’ up process so its not seen a such a chore and they learn to be sun smart!
- Try to keep children out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm when UV rays are at their strongest.
- My favourite product for children is the Anthelios Dermo-Kids Wet Skin Gel Lotion by La Roche Posay as again it is suitable for sensitive skin. It’s SPF 50+ and is really easy to apply – even to wet skin!! It’s water, sand and perspiration proof so very suitable for fun loving toddlers! This product can be used on the body and on the face. It absorbs well and leaves the skin in good condition! I find this really easy to apply to the skin with minimum fuss! The Wet Skin Gel Lotion is amazing value in a 250ml size as at €19.95 is cheaper than the 100ml in the regular lotion!
- Speaking of the regular Anthelios – it comes in a lotion or a spray. The spray gives a continuous mist which can make application a whole lot easier! The lotion is great and is a little creamier than the Wet Skin Gel lotion so really good for those with really dry skin! The whole range can be checked out over here!
- For this age group there are some other really strong contenders in the sun care category, the Childs Farm Sun Cream is good – I feel the Anthelios rubs in easier but it is still a nice cream to use and offers good protection! The other one really worth a mention for sensitive skin is the Elave Sensitive Sun SPF – as it is actually suitable from birth according to peadiatric studies as used a blend of chemical and physical barriers – but it’s worth noting that it’s only SPF 30 so probably ok for every day sun care in Ireland but for higher risk exposure I would really recommend the Anthelios as it contains factor 50+.
- For older kids who don’t have particularly sensitive skin the Ambre Solaire range usually scores well for SPF and it doesn’t break the bank.
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page or my website contact page or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.