At least 80% of sun-induced skin damage happens before the age of 18, which is why it’s so crucial to protect your children’s skin. We show you how to block the sun, but still have fun!
Getting Sun Smart
South Africa’s glorious sunshine has a dark side. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in South Africa, with about 20 000 cases and 700 deaths reported annually. In fact, the country has the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, after Australia.
“Stop worshipping the sun and start respecting life” is the message from CANSA.
Here’s what they recommend
What to know about SPF
Know your risk profile
It’s important to mention that anyone can develop skin cancer. There is a misconception that people with dark skins, such as Indians and Black South Africans, can’t develop skin cancer. This is not true.
Your skin’s pigment is your natural protection against the sun. People with a fair skin are at a higher risk, but this does not mean that dark-skinned people are at no risk at all. It’s important to understand your skin type as this will indicate your risk profile.
Protecting your children
It’s particularly important to protect the sensitive skin of children, not only because they are unable to take responsibility for their own safety in the sun, but because two blistering burns before the age of 18 can dramatically increase their risk of getting cancer later in life.
Paediatricians recommend babies under the age of six months aren’t exposed to any direct sunlight, because their skin has not yet developed sun protection defences. Not only can they suffer the short and long-term damage of sunburn, but also heat stroke, which can be life threatening.
Toddlers and young children can spend hours outdoors and often the devastating effects of the sun are noticed too late. The golden rule when it comes to protecting toddlers is sunscreen. The Cancer Association of South Africa recommends the generous application of sunscreen 30 minutes before your child goes out in the sun. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF rating and apply everywhere including the nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and on the neck.
Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours and don’t be fooled by labels that state the sunscreen is water-resistant or waterproof. You still need to reapply after your toddler or young child gets wet.
25th January, 2017
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)