Protecting your children from the sun is not negotiable and we explain why

Applying sunscreen to your children is a real pain, but it is the minimum you can do to protect them from the dangers of the sun.

According to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), 80,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in France, and despite increasingly aggressive prevention campaigns, this number has been steadily rising for 50 years. Although melanoma mainly affects adults, childhood period is crucial to acquire good practice for protection against the dangers of the sun as well as for securing “solar capital”. We take stock with Dr. Isabelle Gallay, Dijon Dermatologist and Vice President of the National Syndicate of Venereologist Dermatologists (SNDV).

What is the risk to children?

Sunburn in childhood is one of the main causes of melanoma in adulthood.

Dr. Isabelle Gallay

Every human being is born with what is called a ” solar capital »Or« solar capital », which depends on its phototype and, important information, can not be renewed. Dr. Gallay explains to Madmoizelle:

This capital corresponds to all means of protecting the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. It is specific to each person and depends on their skin tone: dark phototypes are naturally better protected than light-skinned ones, and the latter will have to protect themselves for the rest of their lives to avoid damaging their sunscreen.

The period of childhood is crucial for the preservation of the solar capital. Young children have a thin and fragile skin that allows solar radiation to pass through more easily. ” When you damage your cells at a young age, there is an increased risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood », Warns the dermatologist. Therefore, it is important not to minimize the need for sun protection from the cradle.

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How do you protect your children from the sun?

To protect children’s skin from the harmful effects of the sun, we need to keep in mind certain “good practices”, which consist of implementing effective measures to combat sunburn and cell damage.

As a reminder, a baby of less than a year should never stay in the sunbecause ” in addition to solar rhythm, there is a risk of heat stroke which can lead to crying, fever and vomiting due to dehydration “, Explains Isabelle Gallay.

Control children’s sun exposure

To limit the risks, it is advisable to avoid exposing children (but also adults) to the sun between 12:00 and 16:00, the period when the rays are most aggressive. As a general rule, and regardless of the time, shady areas should be preferred for outdoor activities.

The Health Insurance website also advises to be on the lookout for circumstances involving additional risk or false security, such as fresh wind, low cloud cover, reflective soil (snow, sand, water, etc.) or altitude.

Clothes to protect children from the sun

Dry clothing, even light, filters UV rays and is a first defense against sunburn. For effective protection, it is advisable to choose opaque models, in dark colors and made of polyester fibers (natural materials such as cotton and silk would be less effective at blocking the rays).

For days by the sea or afternoons by the pool, there are UV protective clothing designed to go in the water. According to the dermatologist, these are interesting options for children: the clothes are light, comfortable and allow you to swim without risk to the skin, because the very tight knits prevent UV rays from penetrating. “.

And do not forget the wide-brimmed hat to protect the neck and neck, as well as CE standard sunglasses (preferably CE3 or CE4) for real protection.

© Kindel Media

Sunscreens to prevent sunburn

While there is nothing more annoying than running after a child covered in sand and chocolate ice cream to coat it with sunscreen, do not avoid it even if the child is already wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt and a hat.

The sunscreen should be applied in a thick layer on areas of the skin that are not protected by clothing, and it should be reapplied every two hours and after every swim or intense physical activity. ” For children, I recommend choosing creams that contain mineral sunscreens that reflect UV rays like a mirror and prevent them from penetrating the skin. Depending on the references, they can be pasty and whitish, but they are very effective “, Concludes Deputy Chairman of SNDV.

Shopping for children with good UV protection


Find Acorelle PSF 50 sunscreen spray for children, € 29.95 for 150 ml


Find Alga Maris SPF 50+ sunscreen for baby and children from Laboratoires de Biarritz, € 26.30 for 100 ml


Find Uriages SPF 50+ baby mineral cream, € 10.90 for 50 ml


Find the mineral cream with aloe vera SPF 50 from Nivea, 14 € for 150 ml


Find Cattier SPF 50+ sunscreen for baby, € 17.50 for 100 ml

Photo credit on the front page: Julia Kuzenkov

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