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Skin life blog

Sun care

Holidays in the sun:
make sure your children are well protected!


Pascale MoraPascale MoraIn charge of Scientific Communication at Vichy

While we are much better informed nowadays about the risks of exposure to the sun, it is still a good idea to review the situation every year.

Keep in mind…

While we are much better informed nowadays about the risks of exposure to the sun, it is still a good idea to review the situation every year.

- At birth, we have a reserve of "sun capital" that we use up throughout our lives. The more skin is exposed, the more it is damaged.

Children's skin is more sensitive to UV rays because their pigment system remains immature up to puberty.

- UVA rays or long UV rays (95% of UV rays received) and UVB rays or medium UV rays (5% of UV rays received) have different biological effects. While the body is able toblock most UVB rays, it struggles to protect itself from UVA rays.

- Exposure to UV rays is cumulative on top of exposure during the day.

- Even when tanned, your skin needs protection. There is less risk of getting sunburn but the risks caused by long UVA rays persist.

- Children with very dark skin are not protected from the damaging effects of UV rays, which penetrate deep into the skin. They need sunscreen with high SPF.

Print out check-list

Holidays are never long enough. So, to avoid losing precious time on arrival, get organised before packing your bags… Put the following in your case:

- A wide-brimmed hat or cap with large visor, preferably light-coloured.

- Protective sunglasses (from 6 months of age) that are adapted to the child's face. Choose CE category shatter-proof lenses with a protection factor of 3 or 4.

- Loose clothing permeable to perspiration (a cotton T-shirt, light-coloured to reduce heat and encourage the child to keep it on as long as possible), anti-UV tops and swimsuits that work even when wet.

- A parasol or beach tent with UVA and UVB filter.

- Calm games, magazines to keep them occupied in the shade, an MP3 player loaded with music and stories, etc.

- A cooler bag to carry cold water and thermal spa water spray.

- And, of course, sunscreen. Don't bother with the old tubes lingering in your cupboards. Use a product that is specially formulated for children's delicate skin, that is hypoallergenic, easy to apply and reapply (i.e. a spray).

Finally – the sun!

You've finally arrived! The sun is shining and you are determined to only get the best of it. Just a few more tips for your peace of mind:

- Draw up an activity schedule for the holidays, favouring activities that are calm and in the shade between noon and 4, such as reading, colouring, cards, naps, etc.

- Get the children involved by suggesting they learn while they play on or other age-appropriate websites.

- Show a good example by protecting yourself and explaining to children in simple terms the risks of sun exposure and the best way to apply sun cream.

- Beware of medications, perfumes and deodorants that could sensitise skin.

- To establish sun risk and evaluate the UV index, plant a stick in the ground. If the shadow is longer than the stick, be careful!

- Remember to hydrate children by giving them plenty of cool water to drink and spraying with thermal spa water.

- When they're in the water, beware of glare which can increase sun exposure. In mountainous regions, the atmosphere is thinner and less effective at filtering the sun's rays.

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