We all know that too much sun can be harmful for our skin. But why do we think that babies are immune to the harmful effects of the sun rays. Elongated exposure to the sun rays can be harmful for the young skin.
The baby and toddler skin is actually a little different than older children or adult skin. The long held notion that babies do not get sunburnt is no longer considered right, actually the baby skin starts showing UV induced pigmentation right at the time of baby’s first contact with the sun rays. What especially note worthy here is that these initial changes can lead to the development of skin cancer later in the infant’s life.
Thus the pediatricians need to explain to the parents the need to keeping the baby safe from the sun. Parents should recaliberate their thinking that we need to be vigrous with sun protection from early on. Do you know that baby skin differs from adults as regards the barrier function of the skin in the ever changing lipid-to-protein ratio and the sizes of the cells. There is change in the pigmentation on the skin on the back or outside the baby’s arm, when exposed to UV light.
You can apply sunscreen on babies of six months or older and the only precaution you need to take is that these sun screens should contain more moisturizers and should be lighter. There’s probably no harm in putting sunscreen on a younger child, after the first few weeks.
Apart from the sunscreen application it is recommended that the baby is kept out of the sun rays way during the hottest part of the day, i.e. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., especially for kids younger than six months. Also it is better to dress the child in sun protection clothing and remember to re-apply the sun screen regularly.
Selecting the right sunscreen for the kids is another marathon task. Usually sun screens are made up of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that help block the sun’s rays and remain on the surface of the skin. These are preferable over the paraben containing sun screens that have chemicals that might penetrate the skin’s layer and affect the hormonal system. It might take you a little time to find out the right ‘physical’ sun screen, often marketed as ‘natural’ sunscreen.
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