Family Health Lifestyle

Why children of all races should be wearing sunscreen

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Find out why sunscreen is not just for the fairer skinned or those who easily burn…

At a routine visit to the beauty salon, the technician asked what sunscreen I used. I quickly replied, “I don’t wear sunscreen, because I don’t burn.” The look on her face immediately made me want to change my answer.

The sun is essential for Vitamin D. However, along with that come UV rays that can trigger different skin disorders, sunburns and even skin cancer. These harmful rays can penetrate skin of any race, not just those with fairer skin. Applying sunscreen can significantly lower the chances of being subject to any of these conditions.

Our skin is full of essential skin proteins such as keratin, collagen, and elastin. These proteins work together to keep our skin healthy, radiant and smooth. Without any type of protection, especially on the sunniest of days, these proteins are quite literally being zapped away. Which in turn leaves our skin vulnerable.

Not your stereotypical burns

An obvious reason to apply sunscreen is to protect your children and yourself from sunburns. Now, if you’re a darker complexion such as myself, you probably don’t get sunburns in the stereotypical way you’d see on the telly – big red blotches on your skin that’s painful to touch and then peels away slowly. But just because you cannot see a visible burn on your skin, it doesn’t mean it’s not burnt or that you have superhuman skin that can fight off harmful ultraviolet sun rays.

Do your children and yourself a favour, then, and apply sunscreen when outside this summer. Even on the days that don’t look so sunny, you are still vulnerable to the UV rays.

How and when to apply

There are several different types of sunscreen methods to choose from. For example, spray lotions are great for children as they quick to apply and set. Or if you prefer, some lotions come as a cream to rub into the skin. There are even organic and naturally derived sunscreen if you’re looking for a more chemical free approach.

The general rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen before you go out each day. Make sure to re-apply every two hours on particularly sunny days. Additionally, be sure to re-apply after working out or swimming.

Some sunscreen brands offer all-day coverage and some are waterproof, which are both great if you don’t want to worry about constantly reapplying. For more information on choosing the best sunscreen for your little ones, read here.