Kids love being outdoors in the summer and sipping in the blazing sun between the bathing lake and the lawn or the sea and the beach. For parents, this means work – and often an acid test for nerves. The start of the day at sea is just not easy and can be delayed for hours at a time when the offspring refuse cream.
Despite all the difficulties with toddlers, parents need to remember one thing: pushing sunscreen into the hands of children of a certain age is not an alternative. "We know from studios with smear students that everyone is getting too little sunblock. Whether they use sprays, creams or roll-ons, "Viennese dermatologist Alice Pinc tells ORF.at.
The crowd does that
Even adults often make the mistake of sunbathing too little, Pinc says. "You actually have to lubricate to see a white film on your skin." Two milligrams of sunscreen come per square inch of skin. An adult 1.80 meters tall needs about three tablespoons of sunscreen for optimal skin protection.
A 200 ml pack of sunscreen should actually be consumed after five days of rest. Most Austrians, on the other hand, often have two seasons with one pack – an indication of insufficient cream for Pink dermatologist.
Proper clothing as an alternative
Unlike adults, physical sun protection in children is poor. Baby skin is not yet able to form pigments fast enough and in sufficient numbers, even regeneration after UV damage takes longer. Severe sunburn in children and adolescents has been shown to increase the risk of developing black skin cancer later in life and developing melanoma, says dermatologist Harald Meier of MedUni Vienna – read more in Help.ORF.at
Therefore, babies should not be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunscreen and protective clothing are recommended for children aged 1 or 18 months. Products with mineral filters such as titanium oxide or zinc oxide are used. They reflect sunlight on the surface of the skin. Their disadvantage is that they do not spread so easily to the skin and can be wiped again – which does not increase the willingness to participate in children.
In the case, it is easier to wear protective clothing. A well-woven cotton scarf can provide kids up to SPF 30. Meanwhile, many fashion houses have sunglasses on hand. "Proper tanning is equivalent to a 50ccm lubrication factor. For some kids who are really struggling, it's easier. But some don't want these shirts. You just have to look at how it's better," Pinc says. The head and face are especially sensitive. Parents should therefore be careful to provide their children outdoors with a cap and sunglasses.
Protection against UVA and UVB rays
The skin must be protected from UVA and UVB radiation. Short-wave, high-energy UVB rays cause sunbathing. In contrast, long-acting UVA radiation penetrates deeper into the tissue, promotes skin aging and increases the risk of melanoma. In addition, it can trigger polymorphic photodermatosis, the most common form of sun allergy.
The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) indicates how long the skin self-care time lengthens. Applies only to UVB protection. Parents should resort to creams and lotions with the highest possible SPF. Pinc advises that when choosing a product, pay attention to the standardized UVA logo. To obtain this approval mark, UVA product protection must be at least one-third of the SPF specified.
If a baby sunblock is labeled "extra waterproof", 50 percent of the sunblock must remain after two swimming sessions; It's been tested and standardized, Pinc says. Dermatologists recommend lubricating children after re-spraying. The fear that toddlers may suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to overuse of sunscreens is not justified. Studies refute the connection, according to the dermatologist.
To cover the UV spectrum as closely as possible, it contains most commercially available sunscreens with several chemical filters. They convert UV rays on the skin into heat. Some reusable substances cause uncertainty. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported in May that four common organic filters (Avobenzone, Mexoryl SX, oxybenzone, octocrylene) were detected in human blood after just one day.
The central question is whether substances affect the human hormone system. Negative health effects were not revealed by researchers involved in the FDA investigation. The results should not deprive anyone of sunscreen, the study commented. Further research on this topic is needed.
Some substances contained in sunscreens are suspected to accelerate coral dying in the oceans. The island state of Palau in the southern Pacific Ocean, therefore, wants to be the first country in the world to ban certain sunscreens to protect its coral reefs. The US state of Hawaii and the Netherlands belonging to the Caribbean island of Bonaire are looking to follow in 2021.
Many manufacturers already operate without controversial ingredients. Especially in pharmacies, Pinc products are marketed as octocrylene. Sunscreens from the field of natural cosmetics that do not contain chemical filters are also available. Those products are not bad in themselves, Pinc says. But parents should be aware that these preparations simply do not reach SPF 50.